Joy, Fun, & Football In The Sun
Sunday 1st June 2014
—Margate FC U11’s v Margate FC U12’s—
Having been lucky enough to watch Terry Scott’s young charges in action the previous season, I was only too happy to help when she invited me down to watch her side (now the u11’s) play their first friendly of their pre-season, against their U12 counterparts, who were managed by David Woodgate.
This would represent a huge step up for Terry’s lads – going up from 7 a side to 9 v 9, and also having to contend with the offside rule coming into play.
Due to the team’s well deserved success of last season – culminating in the lads picking up the Team Of The Year award at the Margate Youth Presentation Evening, there were a lot of new faces interested in playing for Terry’s team.
On a beautiful sunny day, there really was no better day for a game of football – and after helping with getting the goals out and pumping up various footballs, I was put on corner duty, to provide inswinging crosses for the boys from my cultured left foot.
I think it’s fair to say that my foot wasn’t reading the script for the first few minutes, as I proceeded to shank the first few crosses, causing Frankie’s dad Chris to jokingly ask if I was providing outswingers today.
After checking my boots (only to remember I was wearing trainers) and witnessing a number of sympathetic looks from the lads, I assured them that I was just out of practice – that’s my excuse & I’m sticking to it!
Thankfully, I managed to provide some decent crosses for the boys – Frankie hit one of these home with a fantastic volley, nearly breaking the net in the process!
Before long though, the real pre-match warmups started, with Chris sharpening the lads up with a passing & shooting drill.
Frankie & his son Tom arrived (Frankie reffing the game) shortly followed by Press Officer Ryan Day, and a beaming Daniel Boyle – proof that it was a pleasure to see the lads play, & that a football fix was much needed, too!
Terry’s lads were in their training kit, while David’s team played in their traditional Margate home shirts – with no numbers on the back of the U11’s shirts, I was grateful to Terry for pointing out who was who – as her under strength side was populated with a lot of new faces!
Of last year’s team, Mikey in goal, Arthur at right back, and Frankie up front were the only lads I recognised from last season’s squad – although Grant was also playing, followed by the late arrival of Cam.
As the game kicked off, it exploded into a lively start, that maintained a terrific pace from start to finish – I was honestly tired just watching it!
The U12’s were showing their experience, as a swift attacking move ended with #5 passing to #14, who found himself just offside.
Terry’s U11’s were attempting to get a foothold in the game with some great passing between David & new recruit Louis – culminating with a through ball to Frankie, who held the ball up admirably, but was eventually outnumbered by the U12 defence.
A new look defence with Baran, David & Jack alongside Arthur were defending doggedly, under an onslaught of U12 attacks – Mikey was in fine form too, the keeper doing well to push over some venomous shots, in particular from the U12 #14, who was giving the U11 defence a torrid time.
As the half went on, it was clear that the U11’s under-strength midfield was proving their undoing, with swarms of attacks being bravely repelled by the defence for as long as they could muster.
However, it wasn’t all one way traffic, as Grant stung the palms of the U12 keeper with a well hit shot – and as Frankie blew the half-time whistle, the new-look defence were impressing me a great deal – Jack & Baran impressing in particular, as well as Arthur being a lot more confident in the tackle – progress was definitely being made.
In truth, the second half seemed to go by a lot quicker than the first – as both sides began to tire, substitutions were virtually on a rolling basis, although this didn’t hinder the pace of the game, which was really a joy to watch – Dan & Ryan were really getting into the game too, with Ryan demonstrating his fancy footwork with Terry’s subs, as well as his bullet heading ability – truly a man of many talents!
In what seemed like no time at all, the final whistle blew – leaving the players to gratefully seek shade & refreshments. David’s U12 side put in a cultured performance, and their experience showed in the end, as well as the fact they’re three leagues above Terry’s U11’s – the U12’s play in Division One, while the U11’s will be starting next season in Division 4 – they deserve to be proud of their efforts, never giving up & still playing their passing brand of football – I’m sure Terry’s taken some food for thought from this game, but it really was a delight to watch.
Credit must go to David Woodgate & Scott Holden for marking the pitch for Terry – both guys had the utmost respect for her, and David’s views on the game said it all –
I totally agreed with his assessment – it was a good, friendly game & I enjoyed seeing that Terry’s lads kept their ‘never say die’ attitude from the previous season going – they truly are a credit to Terry & Margate.
Although the next season may represent some challenges for both the players & Terry, on this performance, there are positives to take – and without wanting to embarrass Terry & her team, if they ever feel like the odds are against them, they only need to take a look at this photo, to see just how far they’ve come in such a short space of time.
My thanks once again go to Terry for inviting me along to watch a fantastic game of football & to keep my eye in, blogging-wise – it was a privilege to report on as always, and I’m looking forward to seeing how her team get on in their Sunday League next season.
I’d also like to thank Ryan for kindly giving Dan, Frankie, Tom & myself a lift home – it was a pleasure to catch up with you all.
With the feel-good factor around the club evident from senior to junior level, I’ve got a feeling that next season will truly be one to remember for all those representing & supporting Margate Football Club.
*NB – I didn’t include the scoreline of this game, as the result was unimportant – it was a good workout for both sides*