The Under 18 boys journeyed east for their Premier League encounter at Canterbury. Fortunately the sun beating down meant the beast from the east had left the pitch in fine condition despite that it couldn’t be watered given the very low temperature.
And so to pushback with two strong teams vying for the three points - for Canterbury this was make or break in order to progress. We still had two games in hand but a win would likely have secured a Finals Day place.
Both teams had chances in the first few minutes and while Guildford looked to be creating more of the forward play, Canterbury won a pc ten minutes in.
This was saved and followed by good linking up and plenty of chances for us and ten minutes after Canterbury’s we had a short corner opportunity of our own. It was not to be and despite plenty of strong play and good linking, we just couldn’t get the ball in the goal. Our defence were kept on their toes clearing Canterbury attacks and Alex made many fine saves in goal. The half ended scoreless for both teams.
Canterbury came out fighting at the start of the second half and while the play was going both ways, the only thing separating the teams was a short corner for Canterbury not long after the restart which they scored for 1-0.
It wasn’t long for the Guildford reply which came from a free hit taken by Freddy who absolutely smashed the ball forward to a speeding Charlie who controlled well and dinked in for 1-1. Great thinking, great speed, great skill from those two and with the rest of the team marking their players.
Another pc and several other chances from outfield play that were just wide, over the bar, or saved, came and went. Guildford spectators would be forgiven for losing track of how many.
Not long after our first goal, Charlie reciprocated Freddy’s assist by playing Freddy in ahead of the defence for a well finished 1-2 for us.
We then faced a couple of defensive short corners and off the second one had an immediate break up the other end with what was probably our best chance of the match...except that it went just wide. Again.
Another pc for the oppo. Which was saved but losing the ball to an ensuing break for Canterbury saw us scrambling back and the ball going in to equalise, 2-2.
More good play and more chances for us came and when a Canterbury defender cleared a ball into the air, Max was quick to get a clever tap in for the lead, 2-3.
The final whistle couldn’t come quickly enough and we suffered another short corner against us which was a well taken drag to the left for 3-3.
Our final opportunities came and went and Canterbury nearly pulled ahead with the clock ticking down and us in some panicky play in defence until we got possession and then the final whistle blew.
So one point a piece. Which leaves us undefeated but needing to win at least one more match to progress since Marlow and Reading both played and both won today.
Some terrific performances and clever play. The umpires commented afterward on how nicely finished our goals were (in particular the tap in from Max). If only we had put away one of the other ten or so chances!
We could have won the match by 5 or 6 ... or 9 goals...but it also nearly slipped away from us at the end.
Also we had two short corners, neither scored, and they had six and scored two of them. Room for improvement there.
In the end a good match played in good spirit in dry, sunny conditions with chips and pizza afterward. A fine day out - despite the 3 hours round trip (but it would have been nice to have put away a few more of the terrific chances we created!!)