Today the U16’s KYL team welcomed Glebe FC to the fortress known as Greatness Park. It was a gloomy afternoon with a strong wind, which would cause both defences a problem. Glebe FC have a reputation of playing good football and have had some excellent results, although their current position in the Central Division isn’t a true reflection of the style of football that they play.
The game started at a very high tempo, with our opponents always being first to the ball and putting us under pressure. Our defence stood strong, whilst our midfield looked to adapt to the conditions and to the extra man that Glebe had in the central area.
However on the sixth minute, Watkins intercepted a pass which saw Cooper drive into the penalty area. He delicately pulled the ball back to the perfectly placed Strachan, who calmly placed the ball beyond the outstretched goalkeeper. 1-0
This did not deter Glebe FC, who immediately went on the attack. On the 22nd minute, our opponents hit a speculative shot from distance, which Earls saved and pushed away to his left. Our opponent’s striker was the first to react and Earls made a second instinctive save to deny the striker who had thought that he had scored the equaliser. This then followed a succession of corners, which were ably assisted by a strong wind. This caused us problems, due to the speed that they were being whipped in at. However, the Oaks defence stood strong and refused to be beaten.
On the 30th minute, Toby made some changes and brought on Matt Hathway for his debut and gave him the task of settling the midfield. Matt instantly gave a demonstration of his close skills and distribution as well as his calming influence on the team.
The first half was an even contest, with Glebe FC giving us a lesson in getting to the ball first and never letting our players settle on the ball. However, we played with poise and a directness that they struggled to cope with.
On the 60th minute, Oaks conceded a free kick just outside of our penalty area. The Glebe midfielder hit a curling shot that had Earls at full stretch to push away. Unfortunately, the ball fell at the feet of one of our opponents, who poked the ball into our goal for the equaliser. 1-1
This was the first goal that the Oaks had conceded in open play at Greatness Park and it hurt. The boys played with a new togetherness and challenged for every ball as Toby had wanted . Almost immediately, the iceman Wolfe played a long ball forward and Della Valle sprung the offside trap to go one-on-one with the huge Glebe goalkeeper. The wizard Della Valle chipped the goalkeeper from outside of the penalty area to regain the lead. 2-1
This was a real game changer, as almost immediately from the kick off, Hathway intercepted a Glebe attack and put Cooper away down the left wing. Cooper's cross was met with some indecisive defending before the goal machine McCarthy opened his account for the day to make it 3-1.
There was still time for something special and when the ball fell to Della Valle some 25 yards out from goal, he dispatched a shot so furious and accurate, that the goalkeeper could only watch the ball as it passed him. This would also be a contender for goal of the season, from a striker that battles hard every week and is now reaping the rewards.
In conclusion, our three strikers all scored and the midfield and defence stood defiant and refused to be beaten by a hard working Glebe team. The Oaks defence were not really troubled throughout the game, but the circling wind always made it difficult. Our opponents will certainly take some scalps during the season and we wish then well.