Trafalgar Victory FC played Traralgon City Black in the opening round LVSL Under 14 final series on the weekend. It was an amazing contest with both teams very evenly matched. Trafalgar had learnt from their previous encounter and structured their defensive line much better to cope with the speed of the Traralgon opponents. Whilst Traralgon performed much better in the middle of the park, where Trafalgar had dominated in their past encounters. In fact it was a genuine contest all over the park.
This was most definitely not a “bruise free” match with a great deal of physicality being displayed throughout the game. Both sides had scoring opportunities in the opening half with TVF Keeper Luke Ibbotson making some spectacular saves, whilst Trafalgar strikers Nic Tammes and Haylea Porter combined superbly to set up numerous genuine opportunities.
There have been many matches throughout the season where the kids in red and white have dominated a half or scored a bag of goals. However, in every way possible this was the most impressive game of the season. The back four of Drew O’Brien, Jackson Clerks, Hardy Kenny and Flynn George combined superbly to deny the City strikers barely even a look at the goals during the first half. Everyone played their role and for the first time this season, when it mattered, the boys were all on the same page. The assistance of Connor Ibbotson as a central defensive midfielder cannot be overstated. He denied the City forwards a direct avenue to goal and created numerous attacking counter attacks himself. As coach of the team, the performance of the defensive team was one of the real highlights of the match. After a captivating half of football the score line read Trafalgar 0 – Traralgon 0.
The second half was a repeat of the first with both teams having to work extremely hard to generate forward attacks. Midfielder Jacob Holmes continued to win his battle on the left wing and provided great service to Trafalgar’s “golden boot” Nic Tammes. Nic had a tough day up front and worked exceptionally hard to generate scoring opportunities. He did have three of four genuine chances one on one with the keeper however failed to find the back of the net. He was denied by the post on at least one opportunity. Fellow striker Haylea Porter also found the upright post with a one on one with the keeper.
Soccer, like many football codes, presents a team with only a finite number of scoring opportunities. No matter who you play in soccer each team generally has a chance to score and following Trafalgar’s numerous misses it was Traralgon City opportunity to score. With the TVFC backline providing no avenue into goal, Traralgon City eventually bypassed the Trafalgar defensive line via two lovely kicks over the top of the defensive unit and past Luke in goals. Both goals were well struck and were just too good for Luke to stop. It was to City’s credit that they found a way into goal and a valuable lesson for the Trafalgar midfielders to push back and defend in support of the backline.
To the credit of the Trafalgar players they played the match out right to the final whistle. Haylea Porter played like a young woman possessed. She chased, harassed, tackled and “worked her butt off” for the entire match. A simply inspirational performance. Even in the last minute Haylea made some superb runs into the box in an attempt the salvage the match. Likewise, Micheal Judd and Darcy Lewis worked exceptionally hard in the midfield. There was one piece of play in the second half where Michael, Darcy and Drew combined three triangle passes in succession and effectively played keepings off from the Traralgon team. With skills like these, it is a joy to watch the team play.
The performance of our two youngest players on the field in Hardy Kenny and Drew O’Brien have to be mentioned in this report. Both boys defended grandly. Hardy is one competitive and desperate sportsman. He saved the day on numerous occasions and won every one on one contest he made. Drew, has become an elite defender. His reading of the play and ability to make the right choice under extreme pressure is amazing. His calm and skill execution during this game was unbelievable. Flynn also defended grandly and made one awesome on the line clearance when a City goal looked a certainty. Jackson Clerks was a “rock” at centre back. He certainly played a reliable match and won his position on the day.
By the games end Trafalgar had gone down 2-0, but have delivered its most outstanding performance of the season against a genuine opposition. Best of luck to Traralgon City as they progress to next week’s semi-final.
To my team. It has been a delight to coach this excellent group of lads this season. I have witnessed growth and development in each and every member of the playing group. The boys are well mannered and great fun. They each have a genuine love for the sport and a solid friendship with one another.
Whilst I am admittedly a demanding coach, I admire this team greatly for the way in which they play the game. The ball is the first and only objective for this group of players. There is not a bone of malice or underhanded physicality within the team. This was most evident on the weekend. With Trafalgar players being dragged to the ground, chopped from behind, pushed over and literally scrapped by their opposition, the boys for 99% of the day kept their cool, and as instructed, focussed on the ball. I am all for “strength on the ball”, but it was somewhat ridiculous at times on the weekend.
Having said this, I encourage all the Trafalgar team to continue to focus upon skill and strength development. The game becomes ever more physically demanding the higher the level of competition and as time and space becomes a valuable commodity, it is your skill and strength that will win future contests.
To all members of the TVFC Under 14 team: Congratulations upon an outstanding 2106 season. Please be sure to attend the TVF Junior Presentation on Sunday the 18th of September, 10:00am – 2:00pm. I trust you will consider playing next season at TVFC and see you back in 2017.
A final thanks to all the parents who supported their son(s) and daughter (and myself as coach) throughout the season. A special thanks to Den Ibbotson our much appreciated team manager, to Danny who ran the lines for a large portion of the season and to Johann Rothmeier for making me laugh, even when I am a crusty game day coach.
Report by Caoch Mark Judd