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Academy Match Report
Game 1 (20mins each way)
Argyle Academy (Team 1) 2-2 Predators
A gorgeous sunny frosty morning greeted the Predators in Tavistock this morning as they faced a daunting test playing against the Elite of the south west.
The Predators didn’t start the game particularly well and gave the academy boys far too much respect due to a combination of nerves (playing in front of the academy manager), heavy legs from the early start and traveling and perhaps a little overwhelmed with the quality of player they were up against. The academy boys passed the ball around for fun in the opening stages and for the first time since I can remember, the Predators were chasing shadows and really couldn’t cope as they sat off the argyle boys. The Argyle boys put the Predators to the sword and scored two well taken goals in quick succession inside 10mins. A quick shout from the sidelines for the boys to get tighter seemed to work a treat and the Predators grew in confidence and it wasn’t long before the Predators came to life. The Argyle boys had a taste of their own medicine and were chasing shadows as the Predators totally dominated possession and had the Argyle boys chasing shadows. It wasn’t long until the Predators turned possession into chances and a fine through ball from Hayden saw Curtis go through one on one but unfortunately he struck the ball straight at the keeper who came out and closed off the angles. Moments later Ollie slipped Harry in on goal and he was cynically tripped for a pen. Curtis stepped up and thumped it down the middle with the keeper getting a foot to it but the power was too great 2-1. The half time whistle blew with the Predators behind but well on top.
The second half started as the first ended with the Predators dominating possession and it wasn’t long until they were level. A well worked short corner saw the ball worked out to Jacob who drilled a shot low and hard from outside the area 2-2. Harry was a constant thorn in the academy side who were rather sly with their fouls and with no referee the Predators kept their cool well-on another day the Predators would have had about 20 free kicks. The Predators battled and began to tire in the last 5 of the second half with the Argyle boys going close on a couple of occasions but couldn’t work an opening and the game came to an end 2-2. Great technical game of the highest standard with the Argyle coach being extremely impressed with the Predators saying we play like an academy team!
Scorers: Curtis, Jacob.
Game 2 (20mins each way)
Argyle Academy (Team 2) 2-3 Predators
The Predators started the second game with real conviction and confidence dominating possession right from the off playing some lovely football. It wasn’t long til the Predators got the lead they deserved, after good work playing out from a goal kick and working the ball out wide to the outstanding Callum who played a quite sumptuous first time through ball to Curtis who was too strong for the defender and burst passed his man to go through one on one with the keeper and this time made no mistake with the finish drilling the ball low and hard past the onrushing keeper to put his team 0-1 up. Both teams exchanged and enjoyed periods of possession playing football far beyond their tender years but Argyle could do nothing about the Predators next goal as the Predators moved the ball from left to right, stayed patient and then Hayden played a great ball out wide to callum who got his head up and found Curtis and Curtis swivelled and laid it off to Harry who cut inside his man and thumped an effort into the far top corner, a goal of the highest quality 0-2. Unfortunately an error from a goal kick as Argyle pressed (no halfway retreat rule) they capitalised on poor movement and a poor kick from Cayden saw Cayden unfortunately put it on a plate for the Argyle player who one on one made no mistake side footing into the corner as Cayden attempted to shut his angles down 1-2. The half time call was made and brought an end to another enthralling 20mins of outstanding football from both teams.
The second half began with the Predators all over Argyle with Harry, Luke and Ollie all hitting the woodwork but the Predators began to tire and a mistake from kajus who spilled a simple shot and couldn’t get up quick enough to prevent a tap in for the Argyle striker 2-2. Great defending from Luk Cayden and Jacob across the half was brilliant and kept the scores at 2-2 with some important interventions but the Predators looked lethal on the break and Hayden set Harry free who shrugged off his marker to go through one on one but again with the keeper rushing out to narrow the angles saw his effort roll just past the post. The Predators finally got the goal they deserved after a fantastic break from back to front saw Luke twist in the box and smash the ball into the top corner after great work from Harry 2-3. In the last 5mins of the match the Predators were dead on their feet but kept pressing and working as Argyle began to dominate and they also hit the bar in the closing stages, thankfully the Predators held on for the win.
Scorers: Curtis, Harry, Luke
The boys did us all and themselves very proud, it was hard to pick man of the matches due to every single player playing brilliantly, for so long the Predators have been the bar setter but today they played against a team that set a new bar, the boys accepted the challenge matched that new level and then some! So so pleased and proud of you all, honestly absolutely delighted with all your efforts. The academy manager was extremely impressed! We have been invited to do it all again in March/April time!
Have a lovely Christmas and New Year
Thanks to Paul Kevern for all your help and to all the parents and especially the players! What a team!