The Trafalgar Under 14 Boys took on Traralgon Olympians in Traralgon for their Round 13 match. This week’s match placed 6th placed Trafalgar against 3rd placed Traralgon and there was much expectation leading into the important clash.
As with just about all matches in this division, there was very little separating the two teams throughout the entire match. This age group has been fascinating with all teams from 3rd to 12th having competitive matches, with numerous upset wins throughout the season. Trafalgar needed a win to push for a top four sport, whilst for Olympian’s a win would secure a top four place.
So on a wet and water logged Olympian’s pitch all was set for a cracking match. The game was an even battle from the get go with both backlines holding firm. The only main difference in the two teams was Olympians superior passing to advantage. Having said this, the Trafalgar boys worked extremely hard to keep in the match with only one player on the bench.
The game was kept scoreless well into the first half until Olympians broke through the Trafalgar back four to shoot on goal. Goal keeper Luke Ibbotson made one of many great saves to deny the initial shot on goal. However, the Olympian strikers were well positioned to capitalise upon Luke’s parry save to hit the front 1-0.
Soccer can be a cruel sport some times. Trafalgar’s backline held strong all day and were only seriously threatened a few times in the entire match. Yet a quick break and some good positioning from Olympians and a goal is conceded. Both centre halves, Stuart Beckley and Toby Budd, were two of the best for Trafalgar on the day. Both boys foiled countless attacking runs and set up considerable opportunities for their mid fielders.
The Trafalgar mid field were without play makers Nic Tammes and Jacob Holmes. Adding to the mid field concerns was an ill Michael Judd, who battled hard but lacked his usual drive. Hamish Brace and Jackson Clerks worked extremely hard all match running along the extremely wet wings and Josh Porter, again one of the best players on the ground, played yet another excellent game in the middle of the park. Josh is very strong on the ball and always provides a genuine contest. He is a most reliable and dependable player, week in week out.
By the half time break the score line was 1-0. Coach Mark instructed his players to pass the ball quicker in the second half and to come and meet the ball. So the boys refuelled on the much appreciated oranges and got back on with the job.
The second half proved to be yet another arm wrestle. Striker Logan Winter worked his “butt off” up front. The skilful forward, who had earlier in the first half only be denied a goal by the cross bar, was doing everything in his power to get his team a goal. He generated several shots on goal and came close on many occasions. It was only some fine keeping by the Olympians keeper that denied Logan yet another goal. In fact, Logan later explained that this was the only week that he hadn’t scored a goal for the season. An impressive stat indeed.
With a little more composure in front of goal and Trafalgar could easily have drawn or indeed won the match. This wasn’t directly the fault of the strikers who worked tirelessly all day. However sharp passing in the box would have resulted in easier shots on goal at a closer range. At the other end of the ground keeper Luke made yet another brilliant save in the second half. Possibly the best save seen this season in this competition. Luke initially lunged at the ball with an outstretched foot and miraculously dived on the rebounding ball, whilst onlooking opponent strikers attempted to score. A great save indeed.
At the end of the game the score was 1-0 in favour of Olympians. Coach Mark was extremely impressed with the efforts off all the boys. However, he did explain that the next step to challenge the top bracket teams is to win more in the midfield, to pass the ball better, to be stronger on the ball and to be smarter in front of goal. This feedback was given in the knowledge that an unbalanced draw has TVFC as the only team to play the top four team twice this season.
The final equation now is that TVFC need to win two of the next three games to guarantee a place in the finals or alternatively win one of the final three matches and rely upon others losing to make the finals.
It’s been an amazing season to date. All associated with this team very much look forward to watching them challenge the top two teams in the next couple of weeks. Finally, congratulations to all the boys on the weekend for their perseverance and determination.
This week’s Traf Boys and Menswear team player award was given to Toby Budd for his brilliant and reliable defending.