U13s - Late Agony For Understrength Bears
By Simon Timperley
Unfortunately Bears were dropping like flies before this one and on the morning of the match we only had 10. So Thomas from the Buffalos was drafted in last minute to go in goal (having already played!). So the omens weren't good, especially given we were away to a Reading team that had won all their league games in their first season in East Berks after moving from the BYDL Div 1.
However, I needn't have been worried, the boys were excellent from the first whistle. Reading had good players but we matched them in every department. Playing uphill into the wind in the first half we frustrated them, closing down quickly and tackling hard. We defended well and Thomas did well with a couple of saves. We were a threat on the break with the pace of Dylan and Sean worrying their defence. 0-0 at half time.
In the second half we continued to go toe to toe with Reading and with the wind at our backs spent more time in their half. They had to rely several times on their very impressive centre-back (who could have been 16!), without him I think it would have been a different result. It looked like we were heading for a nil nil until their other huge player, who looked a very decent midfielder, broke free and got some luck when his shot was blocked by Thomas but took a couple of rebounds back into his path for him to slot home with less than 5 minutes left. It was really harsh on the Bears who didn't deserve to be behind. We moved Ed into midfield which almost paid off instantly when his pace took him clear down the right, his cross was met by Roshan whose shot was somehow deflected onto the bar by their keeper. We pushed everyone forward in search of an equaliser which didn't come and we were caught out on the break with them scoring with the last kick of the game. Very harsh on the boys.
Great performances all over the park today. Sean and Dylan were a handful up front showing real desire. Roshan and Ben C ran tirelessly, James and Harry did monumental jobs in the middle, bossing the midfield and covering loads of ground on what was a massive pitch. Both full backs did well, Ed and especially Jacob in the second half getting further forward. After Thomas had saved a penalty in the earlier Buffalos game, his good day continued with a great performance for the Bears. Special shout though to our two stand in centre backs, Jake and Connor worked really well together, making crucial tackles, dominating in the air and both vocal. Jake just shaded it for MOTM, a great effort in a position he'd never played before. Performance is always as important as the result and this was one of our best, well done Bears.