Updated: Oct 10
This weekend saw ESFA National competitions for both U11's and U14's Boys teams. The two sides had mixed fortunes, with the U11's hosting Gloucester and the U14's travelling to Manchester.
Wolverhampton U11's 8-2 Gloucester U11's
Team: Zak, Caleb, Ronnie, Reuben, Temugen, Seb, Esandju, Nathan, Lloyd, Isaac, Henoc, Arjan
We welcomed Gloucester in the first round of the ESFA National Cup, a competition which provided thrills and spills last season, all the way to the final. Having played in the competition last year, we knew what it was all about and the boys were ready to begin.
We started strongly, using the full width of the pitch to our advantage. Some great work down the right side from Nathan allowed him to find Seb unmarked in the box to make it 1-0. It was quickly 2-0 when Lloyd scored a quite brilliant solo goal, nutmegging the defender in the process. We continued to attack and stifle any Gloucester breaks. Another use of the wide areas when Seb played the ball to Nathan, to cross to Tem who finished to make it 3-0. Very soon after, we made it four when great work by Esandju meant the ball fell to Tem and his scored with his left foot this time to make it 4-0. Gloucester worked their way back into the game and made it difficult for us to break them down for a while in the first half. We did work another opportunity when Lloyd scored again with another great strike. 5-0. It was six just before half time when Tem drove into the Gloucester half and played in Esandju (who was unlucky not to score). The keeper parried it straight into the path of Seb to make it 6-0 at half time.
We rotated a lot in the second half, meaning that Gloucester managed to find their way back into it. A foul given away on the edge of the box allowed a free kick to beat the unsighted Zak to make it 6-1. We worked hard to regain the dominance of the game and Henoc, winning the ball in midfield, drove right through the heart of the Gloucester defence to calmly finish and make it 7-1. It was 8-1 when Esandju again produced a fantastic save from the goalkeeper and Lloyd finished the rebound from a tight angle. Gloucester got a goal back at the end, with a fantastic finish in the corner, giving Zak no chance.
Safe passage into the next round. Thank you for Gloucester for travelling up to the game.
Manchester U14's 5-2 Wolverhampton U14's
Team: Dylan, Pranjal, Maxwell, Raman, Zeke, Josh W, Roman, David, Harley, Kaiden, Josh T, Eti, Josh I
The Boys were playing their second game in the group stage of the ESFA Champions Cup and after a convincing victory against Ynys Mon in the first round of fixtures, travelling to Manchester proved to be a tougher challenge.
After a slow start, the boys found themselves a goal down after 7 minutes when a failure to clear their lines and a succession of missed tackles, allowed the ball to break to a Manchester player who was able to slot the ball home for a simple opener. The second Manchester goal after 15 minutes was a virtual carbon copy of missed tackles and a failure to take control in our box.
However, after a much better period in the first half, where Wolverhampton were able to settle and create some chances, a through ball came to Kaiden who found space and drove forward between the Manchester defensive line to slot the ball past the keeper, 2-1. Almost immediately from the restart, Manchester broke forward again, this time the ball ending up with Dylan in the Wolverhampton goal who felt he was fouled in the challenge with the ball falling to an advancing Manchester forward to make it 3-1 at half time.
The second half started promising with chances at both ends of the pitch and it was clear that the next goal would set the tone for the remainder of the match. After 17 minutes a misplaced pass in midfield caused the ball to fall into the path of a Manchester forward who was able to carve his way through the defense to make the score 4-1. Shortly after, a foul in the box resulted in a penalty awarded to Wolverhampton, which was taken by Kaiden but saved by the Manchester keeper.
Manchester's fifth goal after 25 minutes came from a free kick on the left wing which was floated into the box. It found a Manchester player whose well directed header beat the keeper into the top left hand corner. A consolation goal late in the second half by Kaiden saw a full time score of 5-2. Congratulations to Manchester, they are certainly a team to watch in this competition. For Wolverhampton it's a trip away to Wirral for the next group game in November.