Alconbury vs Buckden – Saturday 26 May
Another tempestuous game against Buckden with a good showing by the boys not resulting in the result we were hoping for to end the season and their games as team through several years at Alconbury. A strong showing and some good football but we were unable to match some of the strength and speed of the Buckden team in key areas and unlucky bounces and missed tackles presented Buckden with several chances in the first half that the took very well. In general play we were strong and the goals came against the run of play in most instances. Ruben did get one back from a good corner and Nico managed to head over the bar from on the opposition goal line. Jack G had a good game and George and him put together some good passing moves towards the end that Jack and Ethan couldn't quite find the finish. Despite provocation, the boys kept their cool to the end and Dan W marked another good performance with a penalty save.
A lot of the boys in contention for Star Man , Elliot, George, Dan W all had solid games, Reece and Sam were in control most of the time at the back and Max and Ruben were really working hard tackling and distributing. Nico was behind a lot of the good passing through midfield. Dan B was very close for his outstanding defending but for not giving up and a number of shots on goal at the end Star Man, after further discussion with the coaches, is Nico for an outstanding Captain's performance.
Alconbury vs Staploe & Duloe – Wednesday 16 May
Probably not the best timing to play a match, with revision and exams underway, so both clubs did well to field teams for this midweek game. Helpfully, the beautiful sunny evening of the previous day was replaced by very windy and cool conditions, which made each half very one sided, as the teams playing into the wind struggled to play out of their own half.
Staploe took full advantage and scored four in the first half without reply. In possession and into the wind, Alconbury created chances, but failed to score.
Alconbury had the wind behind them in the second half, but conceded two early goals as Staploe played a front-three to good effect. To their credit Alconbury continued to play and had the greater share of possession and chances. Elliot got a very well deserved goal, with a well-taken strike from outside the area. Staploe were always looking to counter and scored a further goal to win 7-1.
One or two players weren’t quite on their A-game tonight, but a stand-out choice for Star-Man was Elliot for an excellent performance, capped with a great goal.
Alconbury Colts vs Potton – Saturday 5 May
You could almost use the same match report from last week, but updated for the different scoreline and the different weather…
Today’s game was played in beautiful conditions, with blue skies and brilliant sunshine, almost the complete opposite of last week.
With Reece unable to take part, Fin started at right back. Potton’s game plan was unchanged, but still effective, as the front three were continually looking to run onto the goal keeper’s kicks and right on the edge of the offside line.
To their credit the boys continued to play some superb football and were unfortunate when Jack W thought he had scored, only for it to be ruled out for offside. At this point the score would have been 3-1, however Potton scored again, to lead 4-0 at half-time.
The second-half saw another change, with Ruben moving to left back and Sam playing in front of the back three. Alconbury were the next score, but unfortunately at the wrong end via an own goal.
Potton scored a further three goals and even Dan W coming up for a final corner wasn’t enough as Potton finished 8-0 winners and league winners and keeping their unbeaten league record.
Like last week, the boys could not be faulted in terms of the style of football that was played, how they dealt with the last minute change of personnel, changing formation mid-way through the second half and for chasing that elusive goal throughout the game in very warm conditions
To single out individual players is really difficult, however several deserve a mention. Riley led by example as captain and chased everything; Ruben was again very unlucky not to be Star Man, with another excellent performance, working hard in midfield and then switching to left back. However this week it goes to Alfie, playing in central midfield, he was composed and was always looking to combine with those around him.
Potton vs Alconbury Colts – 28 April 2018
Last week’s sunshine and blue skies were replaced by cool, grey, damp skies for our visit to Potton, who were unbeaten in the HYL and the league leaders.
Potton’s game plan involved a very direct, but effective style to three very quick strikers which led to the first goal, but it felt like it was against the run of play, as Alconbury started brightly.
This was a theme for the match as Alconbury continued to play football, creating chances, but not being able to find the net.
Potton on the other hand proved very clinical in front of goal, scoring five without answer in the first half and a further four in the second half, including a penalty and a goal direct from a corner.
George nearly spoilt Potton’s day with a superb strike from outside the penalty area, that the Potton keeper just managed to touch onto the bar and keep a clean sheet.
Despite the scoreline, the team continued to play some excellent football, passing through midfield and looking to create chances for Jack G, who played as the lone striker. To his credit he chased everything against a strong back four and a keeper who was very quick to come of his line.
Choosing a Star Man with so many great performances was incredibly difficult. A very close second choice this week was Ruben, playing just in front of the defence, but this week it goes to Jack G, who should be nominated for the patron saint of lost causes!
Alconbury Colts Under 16s versus Buckden Saturday 21 Apr 2018
Another close fought match against Buckden. The first half was the best that Alconbury have played all season, they were on top from the first minute and barely gave Buckden a shot at goal.The midfield/wing backs of Elliot, Riley, Ruben, Alfie, George, Ethan, Max, Greg, Liam and Nico, were firing on all cylinders and were winning nearly all of the 50 50 challenges. They were also supplying plenty of through balls to Jack G, Jack W and despite some very very close offside calls Alconbury created 5 or 6 clear cut chances with Ruben going close and free kicks and corners creating more chaos. It was inevitable that Alconbury should score and it was an excellent individual effort from Elliot, who wriggled his way in the penalty area and struck a clean shot past the impressive Buckden Keeper. The expectation was that we would build on this as we were so much on top, but it remained 1-0 at half time. There was some discussion between the officials at half time and this seemed to unsettle Alconbury more than Buckden who had a breakaway almost immediately. Alconbury then started to exert control against the 10 men of Buckden and there were several more opportunities and some more offsides. However, completely out of the blue a long clearance from the goalkeeper resulted in a rote on goal as the bounce evaded Sam and Reece and left Dan W with no chance in a one on one. The boys took this really badly and all of a sudden the impetus was with Buckden and although Dan B remained completely unflappable and was a tower of strength on the left there were more opportunities for Buckden and another route one ball gave them a second chance which they took well. This then led to a final 20 minutes of constant Alconbury pressure without really creating any clear cut goal scoring opportunities.
There were some outstanding performances, Reece and Sam played very well although not as much needed as in past weeks, the whole midfield but especially, Ruben, Max, Riley Alfie and Nico who were tenacious in the tackle and were passing well to feet in the first half, less so in the second. George had a great last 20 minutes and with Jack W and Jack G put everything into trying to get the equaliser. Dan W had little to do but did it well as usual. Star Man was a close call, Elliot, who was really strong and skilful, controlling much of the build up play and he scored the only goal as well as being involved in much of the good build up play, was in contention whilst he was on the field, but Star man this week was Dan B who was outstanding, he not only curtailed the attacking threat but was showing skill, composure and thoughtful distribution of the ball throughout the match.
Alconbury Colts Under 16s versus Staploe and Duloe Saturday 14 Apr 2018
Once again quite a physical encounter against a strong, aggressive and quick Staploe side. The game again started well for Alconbury, who had most of the midfield control, but once again the strength and speed of the Staploe front players was causing our normally rock solid defence some problems. After some early chances for Alconbury, Staploe broke and Jack G, having a good game as stand in keeper, came out but a late challenge gave them a penalty which they took easily. Reece, Sam, Dan and Greg were now under the cosh and valiant efforts to clear and jockey were not keeping Staploe and Duloe out. However, almost immediately a good long ball found Jack W on the edge of their box and he turned the ball past the keeper and after an agonising wait it found the net. Another few attacks by Staploe and Alconbury were unable to clear the ball, a good finish saw Alconbury 2-1 down and it looked like it would be a long day as they then went 3-1 ahead. It was only a piece of individual brilliance from Nico that kept Alconbury in the game. The second half was a completely different story with everyone in the squad really starting to get to grips with the physical side of the game. Max, Finn, Paul, Riley and Alfie were especially strong and Staploe were no longer able to shrug off tackles. Ethan, Ruben, Elliot and Nico were creating the through balls for George and Jack W and we had a host of close chances and one coolly taken goal from Jack W but only after Staploe had added a 4th from a break away . Alconbury were really on top now and Greg was having a good game in support of George on the left, George was getting into dangerous positions and we had a couple of free kicks in scoring positions. Meanwhile Dan B, Sam and especially Reece, were mopping up most of the through balls from Staploe. Just as it looked inevitable that Alconbury would get an equaliser another break on the left saw the defence exposed and messy finish saw Staploe go 5-3 up. It still didn't stop Alconbury going forward and George had a tremendous long range effort palmed over the bar. Stand out performances were from Finn who made a real physical presence when he came on, Paul and Max who were like terriers and didn't let Staploe settle especially in the second half, Riley, Dan B and Sam who recovered from first half jitters to get to their usual high standards in the second half. Jack G for his goal keeping as stand in and his through ball in the second half for Jack W. Jack W for 2 goals and his work rate, Ethan, Ruben and Elliot for some skill and good through balls in the second half. Nico whose brilliant goal and all round play was a pleasure to watch and put him right up as a contender for Starman. Max was also up there but after some consideration Reece was given Star man for his positioning, covering and strength throughout the match.
Alconbury Colts Under 16s versus Staploe and Duloe Saturday 24 Mar 2018
Quite a physical encounter against a strong, aggressive and quick Staploe side. The game started well for Alconbury Staploe only had 10 players and we were immediately n the offensive with a shot on goal inside the first 2 minutes. Further pressure forced a penalty when Jack W shirt was pulled as he went to shoot. This also meant a red card for one of the Staploe and Duloe defenders taking them down to 9 men and after Elliot rifled the penalty into the bottom left it seemed like we were in for an easy game. Nothing could have bee further from the truth. With the lead and superior numbers Alconbury seemed to switch off and forget the basics, very little movement, no passing to feet, missed tackles and generally losing out in most one on one encounters. When the Staploe and Duloe quick attackers were on the ball there was also a feeling of foreboding and only a series of excellent saves from Dan W kept them out until another breakaway left an attacker with only Dan W to beat and they scored to even it up. At this point the organisation and effort was not what we are used to seeing. Elliot, Riley and Nico were working hard and trying to get something going but it seemed like an unlikely hope. Half time came with the score at 1-1 and Dan W was by far the outstanding player in the first half. By contrast in the second half he had hardly anything to do as the players really stepped up and the organisation and effort was on a different level. Greg, Finn, Paul, Alfie, Ethan and Ruben were interchanging as substitutes and all were pulling their weight when on the pitch. Reece made some outstanding interceptions and tackles to nullify the Staploe attack, Sam, Ethan, Nico and Riley were having more success combining defence and midfield to add some ammunition to Elliot and Jack W up front. Elliot was the real stand out, after the efforts of the first half he really started to shine in the second with good tackling, distribution and some outstanding right wing play he was causing their defence a lot of concern. Eventually the interplay in midfield started to pay dividends and a neat piece of play by Alfie and a poor tackle outside their box led to a free kick which Riley drove towards the goal and, after a slight deflection, it went in to even the match at 2-2. At this point it was all Alconbury and it looked inevitable that we would get a winning third goal but after a yellow card for one of the Staploe players we switched off and allowed a 2 on 1 attack with only Reece back and they scored to make it 3-2 to Staploe. A close fought and physical encounter where no quarter was given and we were often second best in the tackles but an excellent revival in the second half, inspired by Reece, Nico, Sam, Riley and with Dan W not having as much to do in the second half the star man who was Elliot.
Alconbury Colts Under 16s versus Longstanton Saturday 17 Feb 2018
Today’s kick-off was delayed by an hour to allow a frozen pitch time to thaw. By the time the game started, we were treated to almost spring-like conditions, with some very welcome sunshine.
Like the weather, Longstanton were much brighter and Alconbury were again slow to start. When out of possession, Alconbury were pinned into their own half as Longstanton pressed high up the pitch.
Dan W made a good save after 20 minutes, but Longstanton pressure told as they scored from a corner that wasn’t cleared. They doubled their lead after Sam, in an effort to clear the ball, diverted the ball passed Dan W.
Slowly, Alconbury started to get into the game and Dan B was unlucky to see a well taken free-kick with bend, clear the wall but not come down in time, clear the Longstanton crossbar.
Alconbury scored from a goal-mouth scramble and Elliot was on-hand to get the final touch. A second Alconbury goal followed as Riley played a superb pass over the Longstanton defence that was perfectly weighted for George to run onto and score.
The two-all scoreline at halftime, was not to last long as Longstanton, regained a two-goal lead. However, as the team have shown all season, they keep going and an excellent cross from the right from Jack G again fell right into George’s path. Another superb strike, which this time hit the crossbar and agonisingly dropped down, but not over the line.
The final drama came as Dan W came up for a corner and duly scored! Alconbury were unable to find another equaliser in the remaining minutes and the game ended 4-3 to Longstanton.
This was another great game, against a team who are second in the League. Both teams played some excellent football and you could tell the effort the boys had put into the game.
Choosing one star man was almost impossible given so many good performances and contributions, but this week the coaches have chosen Elliot for both his goal and the man-marking job he performed.
Alconbury Colts Under 16s versus Offord Saturday 3 Feb 2018
Another tremendously close game with Alconbury arguably playing their best of the season without getting the win they deserved. It started very positively with shots on goal very early on, Ethan, back in his customary left midfield position, had three shots in the first 5 minutes. Jack G and Elliot were also putting pressure on the Offord back four and for the first 30 minutes it was virtually all Alconbury, every player was getting to the ball first, winning tackles, distributing well and it seemed inevitable that we would get something. As is so often the case the next thing that happened was a breakway goal for the opposition which was well taken by the Offord attacker and his powerful shot left Dan W with little chance. Other than this Reece and Sam had been in complete control at the back and Dan W was largely redundant as he only had to pick up long range through balls and the occasional scuffed shot. Dan B and Riley were having a tremendous influence in front of the central defenders, first to the ball,strong in the tackle but more importantly they were both distributing the ball well and this was allowing Alfie, Ethan, Elliot and Jack G time on the ball and some sophisticated passing moves were putting pressure on Offord. After another good move the ball found its way to Ethan on the left side of their penalty area and he tackled to get control and then beat a couple of defenders before shooting into the far side of the net to make it 1-1. This had the opposite effect than expected and the elation seemed to break Alconbury's concentration and despite valiant efforts by Reece, Offord broke and they were left one on one with Dan W and tucked the ball neatly inside the post to go back ahead. Even George's impact when he came on couldn't quite get us back level by half time. The second half saw further Alconbury dominance and there were several excellent passing moves between the midfield and front players which resulted in some half chances. Max and Alfie were really putting in lots of effort in midfield and this was giving space to Jack G, Ethan and Jack W and after another tremendous move on the left Dan B played a perfectly weighted pass to Jack W who took it across the goal and from well outside the penalty area slammed a tremendous right foot shot into the top corner to make it 2-2. It then became very even as Offord's No 7, Omar, started to have more influence and he hit the bar twice with a free kick and a speculative shot and we were finding it hard to dispossess him, apart from Paul that is, who was brilliant in the last 15 minutes, tackling harrying and clearing and making Omar's life much more difficult. Alconbury had several further chances with Alfie on target from well out, George and Jack W having more long range efforts and both Jack G and Ethan getting into the box but just sending the ball wide. The game ended 2-2 but could easily have been 4 or 5 for either side. Star man continues to be tricky Jack G was outstanding in tackling and creativity without finding the net, Jack W was all over the pitch and scored a brilliant goal, Riley, Sam, Reece, Dan W were as consistent and strong as ever. Dan B was in amongst most of the good moves and broke down many of the attacks. Alfie, George, Max and Paul all showed tenacity as usual but on top of that added skill and controlled passing out of defence. Elliot was an influence throughout the match strong in the tackle and dribbling into space he was also involved in much of the good build up work. However, for his goal and also movement both on and off the ball, first touch, good passing to feet and creating the best of the chances in both halves the Star Man was Ethan.
Alconbury Colts Under 16s versus Needingworth Saturday 27 Jan 2018
As has become the custom with matches against Needingworth this was a very close and well contested game with the scoreline in Alconbury's favour 3-2. For a change we managed to keep a cushion between ourselves and Needingworth which kept the parents pulse rates down. The game started brightly with Alconbury definitely on top and Jack G was on sparkling form and really taking the game to the visitors. All of the boys seemed to relish the challenge and but for a couple of breakaways it was mainly Alconbury pressure without actually having a threat on goal, too many passes over the top went straight to the goalkeeper. However, George was also back to his best and was terrier like in midfield and he made an opportunity for himself and running across goal left to right he turned and struck an excellent curling shot inside the left post to open the scoring. There were a couple of scares as Needingworth broke well but Ethan, in an unfamiliar right back role, and Reece, Sam and Riley kept the defence solid, marked up well and cleared as necessary. More pressure from Alconbury saw a corner on the left and it led to a second goal for George as Needingworth could not clear the cross. At 2-0 Alconbury were in control and as half time came all of the boys had had a good half with Riley, Dan B, Jack W, Elliot and Nico strong and skilled while Max had a couple of mazy dribbles on the left wing and Greg continues to improve every week in both strength and vision. The second half started well although Alconbury were starting to defend deep and invite pressure which they were failing to clear. Paul was getting more involved as was Liam but the outstanding efforts of the half were all coming from Jack G who was through on several occasions and was unlucky that none of his efforts found the goal. Needingworth were having spells of pressure as we deserted midfield and it was in one of these spells that they got a goal back with a shot across Dan W into the far post. Dan W was again having an outstanding match and following 2 great full length saves in the first half pulled off 3 more goal saving efforts in the second half. With 20 minutes to go it looked like we were going to have a nailbiting finish as Needingworth were still having odd spells camped on the Alconbury penalty area. good defending was keeping them out but clearances seemed to be coming straight back. It was now Alconbury with the breakaway chances and we had several with Nico, Elliot Jack G, George and Jack W all going close before a lovely through ball after good short passing in midfield found Riley in the penalty area and as cool as can be he passed the ball into the net passed the goalkeeper and an agonising few seconds later it hit the net. Max also had a run on goal that only just went past for a corner, even the volume from the supporters couldn't push it over the line! The 3-1 scoreline seemed enough to see us through but more pressure from Needingworth and they forced a scrappy goal late on to leave a nailbiting last few minutes. A cracking performance with every one of the boys playing well - Dan B was assured as ever and with Nico and Elliot gave an elegance to some of the midfield build up play. Ethan found himself as last man frequently and made some good clearances with head and feet, Paul was harrying as usual but also played some neat passes to feet, Sam, Fin, Liam and Reece were solid at the back and also pushed forward when they could. Dan W had some spectacular saves and Riley was his consistent self, strong, controlled, good in the challenge and scored a classy goal. But, for all round tenacity, strength, skill combined with vision and with 2 goals the Star Man is George.
Alconbury Colts Under 16s versus Offord away Saturday 20 Jan 2018
A very physical and bruising encounter against a big and strong Offord side who we drew with earlier in the season. Played in appalling conditions with constant rain chilling to the bone the parents were struggling even with several layers and umbrellas, how the boys managed with frozen toes and fingers is beyond me. The first half suggested that it would be another very evenly contested match with both defences cancelling out the attacking skill on display. Alconbury had more of the early play with some neat short passing in midfield involving Nico, Jack W, Greg, Riley and Dan B really opening up Offord but occasionally the passes were too short letting Offord break from midfield. An excellent ball over the top from Nico allowed Jack G a sight of goal but the underfoot conditions got in the way of his usual clinical finishing and he was caught and dispossessed. Similar balls through from Dan B, Riley Sam and latterly Ethan started to give hope that we may break their defence open. For the majority of the half our defence coped well with an aggressive and robust Offord attack but in the last few minutes a failed clearance allowed them to take a lead in to half time. The second half was much like the first but Offord were spending more time in our half and their was an inevitability about their second goal even though it only just crept past Dan W at the near post. Dan W had another outstanding match in goal collecting well and also a couple of finger tip saves keeping Offord at bay. Reece and Sam were playing exceptionally in the centre of defence and covering for each other. Greg is definitely getting to grips with the physicality of the game and had some good tackles and skill on the ball. Dan B was very confident in a defensive midfield role and had a really good game in this position, he looked strong in the tackle and assured on the ball. Ethan managed a couple of breaks down the wing, winning several free kicks in the process and also scoring a disallowed goal following a marginal offside decision and good play from George and Jack G.Midway through the half we were awarded a penalty after George was tripped in the box and he stepped up to take a good kick into the bottom right, unfortunately their keeper pulled of an astonishing save by tipping onto the post and getting to the ball before the following forwards were on to it. Elliot was having another outstanding match and his skill and vision were much in evidence. Max, Ruben and Alfie all had some good tackles and distribution when on the pitch and were creating as well as marking. Later in the half we did get one goal back with an excellent strike from distance by Finn after the ball broke loose to him outside the area but too late to get an equaliser. Star man continues to be a choice between about 12 players! This week due to his none stop involvement, calmness on the ball, delivery, strength in the tackle and the fact that he has consistently been playing to this standard in the previous 5 matches Star Man is Riley.
Alconbury Colts Under 16s versus Needingworth, Saturday 13 Jan 2018
The boys shrugged off the disappointment of last weeks cup match and came back fighting with a spectacular start and good interplay between Jack W and Jack G leading to a shot from Ethan that hit the post inside 1 minute. The boys capitalised and were well on top at the start of the match. This resulted in a cross from the right being headed on by Riley and went in at the far post, not sure whether Reece got the final touch as Needingworth tried to scramble it clear. At this point we were well on top and it seemed only a matter of time before we added to the lead. However, it may have been some complacency but Needingworth had a breakaway and left Dan W with no chance as the equalised. This gave them some heart and in a much scrappier but very even end to the half the managed to win a penalty when we weren't able to clear our lines and an opponent was tripped inside the penalty box. Elliot especially had an excellent 20 minutes playing short passes and dominating midfield, he was missed when he went off. The second half started brilliantly with Sam hitting a tremendous long range shot which brought us level. Elliot was again playing a major role and Dan B, Riley, Ethan and Jack G were causing some problems down the left especially. Reece, Sam and Finn were doing a good job of mopping up the loose ball but the Needingworth attack were starting to build pressure and it did feel like they would go ahead until an inch perfect ball forward from Nico allowed Jack G to lob over the keeper without breaking stride a very good goal to take us to 3-2 ahead. With 15 minutes to go it then became a bit of a nail biter with some parents unable to watch as the pressure mounted and the attacks from Needingworth began to increase. In the end it was a superb piece of individual play by the Needingworth right wing who beat the defence for pace and then shot hard an low into the near post giving Dan W no chance after he had again pulled off a string of good saves during the match. The last 5 minutes were a more scrappy affair with the ball being cleared in any way possible and no clear passing moves from either side. A really fair result of 3-3 ensured neither side could be disappointed with a close and well contested match. There were a number of excellent performances worthy of note: Max was all over the midfield and harried the opposition into mistakes, Nico was elegant and skilled and had a tremendous run beating 3 players on the left, Elliot was the midfield maestro and had he had more time on the pitch may well have been star man, Finn was competitive and had one of his best games. Greg is getting to grips with the physicality of matches and had some good touches, clearances and tackles and it was also his best game so far, Riley was dependable as ever and Dan B and Reece had really good solid games making few mistakes and getting forward when they could, Dan W wasn't called on as much as last week but when he was he was excellent. The two Jacks are really starting to work together and with Jack W's work rate and pace and Jack G's eye for goal and a superb finish today they were both playing well. Ruben again had a good game and was covering and tackling back as well as using his strength and guile to play good through balls. With a tremendous goal and all round effort before going off with cramp the Star Man was Sam.
Alconbury Colts Under 16s versus Godmanchester Rovers, County Cup Semi-Final, Saturday 6 Jan 2018
The end of the cup run after some remarkable matches came with a big defeat against a strong higher league side with strength, speed and depth to their squad that the boys could only match for parts of the game. The game started very evenly and even at half time with the score at 3-0, thanks to some powerful long range shooting, it looked like the second half playing downhill on a steeply sloping pitch might allow us to get back into it. The telling point was that they were usually first to the ball and their tackling and skill on the ball started to show as they racked up another 7 goals in the second half. Despite this the boys showed spirit and fought right to the end with the last 10 minutes being their best spell with Nico having several shots and George having an attempt hit the post. All of the team should be proud of the way they have played to get this far and only a lack of marking and missed tackles in and around the box made the difference. Star man was again difficult with all of the team trying their best; Riley once again was involved a lot and produced some of the best through balls, Elliot was again skillful in midfield, Ruben was tackling and laying the ball off in midfield, Nico was using his skills and creating the odd chance especially late second half, George was strong as an ox and really came into the game in the last 10 minutes. Sam and Reece were tested throughout but never gave up. Jack W and Jack G tried hard up front but were usually outnumbered. Alfie and Ethan both tracked back and both had shots on goal. For the sheer number of repelled attacks and the way he kept on giving everything, including 3 saves in the space of a minute, the Star Man was Dan W .
Alconbury Colts Under 16s versus Buckden, Cup match, Saturday 2 Dec 2017
A remarkable game and almost a carbon copy of the league match from a few weeks ago. I was tempted to cut and paste the match report! Another tremendously entertaining game although some parents are concerned that their hearts may not last the season with these nail biting finishes every week. The match started strongly for Alconbury and there were a couple of early breakaways where George was very close to getting us an early lead, good saves and shots just past the post prevented this. More pressure from Alconbury and a high ball was taken down on his chest by Ethan in the penalty area but after showing composure to control the ball his shot went high. Buckden then started to get more organisation and were attacking in numbers. Mostly the defence was its usual tight and organised self with Sam, Reece, Riley and Greg/Ethan marking well and clearing without any problem but a couple of missed tackles late in the half gave Buckden a 2-0 lead at the end of the half. The second half saw more purpose and spirit from the boys, very early they had hit the crossbar twice and it was very even for the early part of the half until a piece of brilliance for Nico sent a high shot, from outside the area, over the keeper's head to get us back into the match. The momentum suddenly shifted and when Nico got a second with great composure on the ball, Buckden really seemed to drop their heads and later a lovely bit of individual skill from Jack W on the left wing saw him jink past 2 defenders and fire low past the keeper at the near post. The boys more than hung on to the win and despite going well into 'Fergie time' in each half they nearly had a couple more. A great 3-2 win sees then in uncharted water as they reach the semi-final of the cup.
There were some excellent individual performances across the park and it is getting ridiculously difficult to pick out individuals when the entire team is playing so well. Elliot was again involved in play throughout the match and was linking well with the forwards, Jack G was using the ball intelligently and a couple of reverse passes nearly let George and Jack W in on goal. George is still not 100% recovered from his injury but his tenacity and speed create chances for himself and others. Max was harrying the Buckden team in midfield but also added some close control to get out of tricky situations and pass well to team mates. The back 4 of Ethan/Greg, Reece, Sam and Riley get better week by week and worked hard all of the game, Riley and Sam again in consideration for Star Man. Dan W who made some acrobatic saves and collected the ball well to stop oncoming forwards several times and this against a background of feeling a bit under the weather. Alfie was chasing down players and using his close skills to make space and pass to the forwards. Jack W for his constant running and a very well taken individual goal for the winner. Nico, who scored two and combined with the rest of the midfield to carve out other chances and not let Buckden have any time on the ball was another suggested Star man and with no real consensus from the parents I took some advice from the boys and from Richard and Mark to make Ruben the Star Man. This was by far his best game with his tackling back and covering added to his usual strength and skill on the ball and also his vision when passing, he was a worthy winner. A special mention for the referee who handled the game exceptionally well and was fair but firm in this previously controversial fixture.
Alconbury Colts Under 16s versus Longstanton, Saturday 18 Nov 2017
Another tremendous team performance against a top team in the division. The 4-2 scoreline flattered Longstanton and for large periods of the second half Alconbury were the better team and pushing to score.
The first half started badly with the defence seeming much more nervy than usual and finding it difficult to clear and/or find an Alconbury player when they did. Constant Longstanton pressure resulted in a free kick in a dangerous area which was played in by their goalkeeper and one of their forwards got to it before Dan W and knocked it into the net. This precipitated a rearguard action with Greg, Dan B, Sam, Reece, Riley, Elliot and Finn all spending time dropping back to defend without getting much joy in attack. Another spell of pressure and a scramble in the box let Longstanton have a cross goal shot that went in off the post. At this point it looked like it might be a rout but that seemed to be the turning point, George came on and, although not as influential as he has been due to injury, he still started to get better ball in midfield and Alfie, Elliot, Ethan and Nico were beginning to use some skill and determination to get more of the ball and distribute it more dangerously to Jack G. Sam was also pushing forward and winning the ball in front of the back four which took some of the pressure away. It was a slick passing move on the right with George and Elliot involved and a cross from Elliot which ended with Jack G who, with his back to goal, managed to control the ball, turn, and send a high swerving shot into the top left, well out of the goalkeepers reach (my apologies for an earlier draft which robbed Elliot of his assist:-)). That was the end of the first half and the boys were definitely back in the game. The second half started tremendously with Alconbury having much of the possession and pressuring the Longstanton goal without getting too many clear cut chances. This went on for sometime before a breakaway saw a controversial further goal from Longstanton where the boys believed that the ball had been kicked out of Dan W's hands by the attacker. That made it 3-1 and it seemed as though we were out of it once again but real determination chasing what seemed a lost ball by Ethan forced a corner and he took it with a good deep high cross that Reece headed home with real conviction. Once again the game was on and there was further pressure although injuries to Sam and the ongoing fitness worries of George meant that we had to soak up more pressure and the very strong, quick and talented Longstanton number nine managed to wriggle through 3 tackles on the left and rifle home a fourth which was a little undeserved. Another difficult call for Star man - this is getting ridiculously difficult! Elliot worked tirelessly and with some skill but lacked the final ball, Ethan put in some good work especially defensively in the second half, Greg had his best game so far and Alfie played a really spirited game, challenging and using some good skill on occasion, again probably his best game of the season. The defensive team of Sam, Reece, Dan W (with some outstanding saves) were again good once the early jitters were gone with Dan B the outstanding performer both defensively but also his distribution and strength on the ball. Liam and George had some good cameo moments. Jack G was often left unsupported and worked hard often against 3 defenders and scored an excellent goal and Riley was so dependable and steady with skill, strength and intelligence in his play (a very near call for Star Man again). However for his all round play and consistency this season Nico was Star man this week.
Probably the best team performance of the season which resulted in a 0-0 draw which, considering the efforts from both sides, was the fair result. A memorable game which was often end to end with both sides having times of pressure and times to defend. The discipline and shape of Alconbury throughout the game was excellent and although there were few chances - with the notable exceptions of Nico's shot that hit the post in the first half, the goalmouth scramble from a corner in the second half from which Alfie fired over the bar, a shot from Jack G and runs on goal by Jack W and Elliot - it was still an gripping encounter. The main thing that was noticed from Alconbury was the team spirit. They were working for each other both on and off the ball. Some of the slick short passing on the wings between Nico, Riley, Paul, Dan B, Finn, Sam and Elliot was pleasing to see as was the way the midfield of Ethan, Finn, Alfie, Paul, Elliot, Jack G and Nico worked as a unit to block and harry the Offord midfield and defence, often regaining possession or forcing them into mistakes. Jack W, Jack G, Paul and Ethan also worked hard to get up towards goal and keep their defenders honest with both skill and strength at times. The real stars of the show, however, were the combined defensive talents of Sam, Dan B, Liam, Greg, and Riley in defence, not forgetting the confident goalkeeping of Dan W. They were exceptional today and limited Offord to a couple of breakaways and a couple of long range shots. The defence were all in the running for Star man alongside Nico for some penetrating runs, skill on the ball and the shot that hit the post; Jack G and Jack W for chasing everything and everyone and still getting the odd breakaway and shot; Ethan and Paul for their defensive displays and workrate and Elliot for bravely coming back on and nearly helping to get a late winner. The Star man, for the way he completely dominated the Offord leading goalscorer and was seemingly everywhere at the back covering, clearing, blocking and chasing was Reece.
Alconbury Colts Under 16s versus Buckden, Saturday 4 Nov 2017
Another really competitive and thoroughly entertaining game with the boys eventually coming out on top after having to recover from an early set back. The final score of 3-2 to Alconbury was probably fair but it could easily have gone the other way and it was a very physical game with more than the usual number of fouls and free kicks. After our previous matches there may have been a little bit of optimism that we just had to turn up to win but this was quickly dispelled when an early corner was volleyed home to give Buckden an early lead. The boys rallied and produced some good football in patches and began to dominate the possession. Sam, Reece, Riley and Dan B were working as a unit and with Dan W back to his best they were rarely troubled except for the odd break on the left where Buckden had some skill and speed in attack. The midfield was working hard with Paul making some good tackles and interceptions and Ruben getting more possession on the right, Alfie was also keeping right on top of the Buckden players and they were finding it hard to string passes together. George wasn't having his usual influence but his composure in front of goal is quite something and he grabbed a a half chance through ball and neatly passed it into the right of the net past the goalkeeper to draw level. After this Buckden started to come back into it but the substitutes including Nico, Elliot and Max were taking the midfield play to Buckden and it was against the run of play that a breakaway and a slight defensive mix up let Buckden back in front. Again the boys did not give up and there were several more chances for Jack W before the half time whistle blew. The second half started with Buckden getting more possession in midfield and getting the better of the play as our back four lay deep to counteract Buckden's pace up front, unfortunately this allowed the Buckden team to push on and give us more problems than we expected. In a contrast to the first half this time it was against the run of play that George took the ball down the left and with little assistance outpaced the right back to shoot across goal and find the net, to the delight of the travelling supporters. A special mention for the numbers of family and friends who made the trip, it was good to see such overwhelming support for the boys. The game was finely poised and there were starting to be some niggly tackles from both sides and one of these was on Ruben in the penalty box resulting in a penalty to Alconbury, there was probably a lot of discussion over the penalty taker but with George on a hat trick it was only right that he was given the opportunity and he didn't disappoint with a cool finish into the bottom right. It now became a bit of a rearguard action as the Buckden team rallied to try and get an equaliser. Alconbury were unlucky not to have had more goals as Nico twice struck the woodwork with long range efforts. Ethan, Finn, Dan B, Sam, Jack W, Nico, Reece, Max, Ruben and Riley were working their socks off to block, harry and clear from several corners and free kicks. Sam especially was involved in goal line clearances and last gasp tackles to keep Buckden at bay. The final whistle blew to the relief of team and spectators and a thoroughly deserved, if not pretty, win gave us some valuable league points. Star man is getting more difficult week by week as the team as a whole put so much effort in and all are in contention. Dan W for some fine saves and alertness on through balls, Sam, Reece, Riley and Dan B for resilient defence but also for some intelligent clearances and through balls. George for another brilliant goal scoring effort. Nico, Jack G, Jack W and Elliot for some fine skills and attempts on goal. Ethan, Finn, Max, Alfie, Ruben and Paul for terrier like harrying and never giving up. A very difficult final decision as it is hard to vote against a match winning hat trick from George but Star man is Sam for the last ten minutes especially where he worked as hard as anyone on the pitch to keep the lead.
Alconbury Colts Under 16s versus Potton, Saturday 21 Oct 2017
Well if that is the best team in the league then Alconbury are going to do very well this year! With both recognised goalkeepers absent and some of the new players playing out of position, it looked ominous against a free-scoring Potton side at the top of the table. This feeling of foreboding wasn't helped by an early defensive misunderstanding and a wind assisted own goal gave Potton the lead. The boys could have been forgiven for dropping their heads but actually the opposite happened and they pushed on, with threats on both wings leading to a headed goal from George after good build up on the right and a dangerous cross from Ethan. Further good work on the left and a neat interchange between George and Nico led to an excellently worked and well taken goal from Nico to take Alconbury ahead. This was not against the run of play and Sam and Dan B were organising the defence well with Finn, Liam, George, Alfie and Paul all dropping back to assist and cover. It was in midfield that we really showed an impressive improvement from last year and through out the match Paul was terrier like and made several telling interceptions while George, Elliot, Ethan, Riley and Jack W worked tirelessly to close down and out strength their opponents. It was against this backdrop that the equalising goal was such a shock and owed as much to the wind as anything else as a high corner ended up on the back post with 3 Potton attackers waiting to knock it in. A further break away by Potton was only stopped by a superb one handed save from Jack G.
The second half saw the wind assisting Alconbury more and for quite some portion of the match Potton found it hard to get out of their half. The rolling substitutions worked particularly well and allowed players to work hard and then have a breather. Greg,Finn, Liam, Alfie and Riley all benefited from this and grafted hard from start to finish. Alfie and Finn were showing real skill and strength on the ball and some of the short passing exchanges from George, Paul, Nico, Jack W, Riley and Ethan were really outstanding pieces of football and created more chances on goal with shots from Sam, Ethan, Jack W, George and others all testing the keeper without a result. Potton did have their moments and it was after a spell of pressure that they gained a corner and, very similar to the second of their goals, they capitalised on outnumbering us in the box and a clean strike gave Jack G no chance. Alconbury were really playing well and it was something of a surprise that despite their superiority they weren't able to equalize or indeed take the lead but a brilliant performance against the top of the league resulted in a very narrow 3-2 defeat. The game was played in an excellent spirit with hard but fair tackling from both sides, at least we have two more chances this season to get revenge!
For the parents, please feel free to give me your views on Star Man at games, I was the one with the Dalmatian.
After much debate over Star man, and with 4 or 5 in contention, the coaches were given the casting vote went with Ethan for his work rate throughout the match.
Alconbury Colts Under 16s versus Needingworth, Cup match, Saturday 14 Oct 2017
Building on their recent form the team were again involved in a very competitive and closely fought match and came out winners by 6-4. There were some of the newer squad members getting really involved in this match, with Greg opening the scoring with a tap in after good approach play. Alconbury were the better side in the early exchanges and some good close short passing was getting them territorial advantage with George very much the key player in midfield and attack. Elliot was also much in evidence and some strength and skill created a number of chances in the first half. The back four were very strong and Finn, Sam, Reece, Greg were really keeping Needingworth forwards at long range. Riley, Elliot and Paul were chasing and tackling with some dribbling skills from George, Elliot and Ethan getting the ball into the Needingworth area on several occasions. There was a disallowed goal from a Sam freekick that caused a little touchline ill feeling for some parents but we need to be aware of the Respect programme and not challenge decisions from officials, by all means discuss with Richard afterwards and he can add comments to the referee's report.
Both Jacks were playing and Jack W as usual was chasing down everything and making runs on goal from all directions. It lead to Alconbury going scoring 4 with minimal reply from Needingworth and it looked like we were completely in control. However a couple of second half misunderstandings let them back in and when it got to 4-4 it seemed that the tide had turned in Needingworth's favour. It was not to be though as George and Jack combined on the left and a cross shot was saved by the keeper but only into the path of Ethan who was following up and volleyed in from close range for his first of the season.
Not to be outdone and to cap a brilliant individual performance George got onto a Jack G knockdown to put the tie to bed with his 4th goal of the game.
Notable performances from Sam and Reece in the centre back positions who cleared their lines well for most of the match. Elliot, Liam, Riley Paul, Alfie and Finn for tireless closing down and harrying in midfield and defence. Tremendous work rate and penetration from Jack W and good skills and interplay with team mates from Ethan, Greg and Jack G (not to mention goals from Ethan and Greg) whilst Dan W was back to his confident best in goal . Star man for an outstanding performance in midfield and a match winning set of 4 goals it has to be George.
Alconbury Colts Under 16s versus Longstanton, Saturday 30 Sep 2017
A thoroughly entertaining and competitive opening to the season against a side that have been playing very well and getting good results. The new players in the squad (Elliot, Sam and Nico) have integrated very well in the pre-season friendlies and their levels of skill, pace, control and strength were evident as the opening 20 minutes was a hardfought midfield battle with Alconbury mostly on top. Jack W was left on his own up front a lot but still was a threat when good balls through from Riley, Ethan and Alfie breached the defence. It was noticeable that on a number of occasions the team were confident enough in each other to play a short passing game and Nico and Elliot especially were linking up well to gain territory. Some skill on display with Ethan doing a rabona up the line in the first half balanced by his second half kicking the ball with the wrong foot and falling over! Midway through the half there was a switch of players and it looked like this had unbalanced the team but Ruben got into his stride and Max was a terrier in the centre midfield and Alconbury finished the half on top having had most of the chances. The second half started brightly and Dan B was having an exceptional game, not only closing down their main striker but passing and distributing well. Unfortunately, his injury meant that the solid back four was disrupted and in one of the few breakaways Longstanton got through on goal and scored the only goal. Special mentions for Paul and Max in central midfield who never stopped harassing and tackling all game, Alfie for being involved much of the game, Sam who was inspirational in defence and a real leader on the pitch, Reece who was a pillar of strength snuffing out most chances, Riley for his all round play and some excellent corners, Nico and Elliot who ran the show for most of the game with strong tackling, skillful runs and unselfish passing, Jack W for his many shots and runs on goal and unselfish tackling back in midfield, Ruben for probably his best game of his for the team, he was strong and dependable and added work rate to his locker with a number of tackles and covering runs. Ethan for work rate and some clever turns and through balls. In a back four that played brilliantly all match, the player that just stood out for all round vision and edges Star Man its Dan B. If this is the standard the team will play at this year it will be a joy to watch, well done.
All photos copyright of Alan Hewitt (contributor name Alphotographic on iStock and Getty images), please contact to use elsewhere.
Watching the ball
Goal mouth scramble.jpg
Goalkeeper blocking attacker
Goalkeeper gathering the ball
Challenged on the wing
Throw in with subs looking on