It’s three from three for the Junior Hoops Saints u7s as they start life in the ADJFL Black League with a set of strong performances to kick start their league campaign.
Week one saw the Saints renew rivalry with Oswaldtwistle Juniors and put in a five star performance.
The Saints flew out of the blocks with the big pitch suiting their passing and moving game. From the off Teddy and Seb were stretching play with quick passing that stretched the Oswaldtwistle defence. Seb fed Teddy down the right in the second minute and a sharp finish from a tight angle set the team on their way. Teddy soon returned the favour three times over for Seb who grabbed a quick fire hat trick as the Saints looked to take their strong pre season form into the League.
Oswaldtwistle weren’t to be out done however and they battled back well to halve the deficit and give the Saints something to think about. An Oakley penalty just before half time reasserted the Saints lead and changed Dean and James’ half time team talk to one of keep doing what you are doing and enjoy yourselves.
Within five minutes of coming out of goals Leighton was on the score sheet to build the Saints lead following some smart blocks from Oscar. A smart run from Teddy in the midfield saw the Oswaldtwistle defence pierced. Leighton maneuvered into space and shouted to Teddy who fed the ball through to him to leave him one on one with the keeper. Opening his body up Leighton slotted home in the far corner to give the Saints a cushion going into the final ten.
Oswaldtwistle battled back again though to keep the pressure on but that just spurred the Saints on to another level.
Seb showed assured hands in goal and Oscar was a terrier at the back making sure nothing got past him. Our very own ‘boyo’ was a rock in defence reading the passes from Oswaldtwistle and snapping into tackles when needed allowing the Saints to push forward with increasing confidence.
Teddy stretched the lead with a cool run and finish before Leighton grabbed his second and Oakley powered through holding off two defenders to slot home from 10 yards to round off the match.
A fantastic performance and a great introduction to League football.
Week two saw the Saints take on Clitheroe Wolves with Assistant Manger James Gregson continuing his winning run on deputy duty.
The fast start that is now becoming the hallmark of the Saints was evident again with two quick goals from Oakley, the first assisted by Seb and the second from Teddy. The Wolves battled back with a smart goal before Oakley increased the advantage back to two goals.
With Oscar commanding the defence and Alfie adding steel to the midfield Teddy put in an all action performance and his free kick just before half time was well saved but Seb was on hand to stretch the Saints lead with the rebound. Just as the referee was about to blow for the break Oakley broke from midfield, beat the last defender and slotted home in the far corner.
The Wolves battled back again as the game progressed into the second half before Alfie restored the Saints cushion with a powerful run and finish from midfield. Beating one man, Alfie was one on one with the keeper and showed great composure before slamming the ball home.
Oscar stood strong as the Wolves fought back blocking everything in his path and playing it simple into midfield.
The game was rounded off by another smart finish from Seb and a worldy free kick from Oakley. Brought down 5 yards outside the box, Oakley composed himself in a Ronaldoesque manner before striking the ball with ferocity into the far corner.
A strong performance that built on week one and set the team up for their first outside game of the season against Rishton Reds.
Week three and on to Witton Park to meet the Rishton Reds. The first half was graced with free flowing football and slick finishing as the Saints raced out of the blocks.
Seb opened the scoring from distance with a sweet strike before Teddy began to stretch the game with skilful runs down the right. Twice in quick succession he was given the early pass from Leighton De Gea and set off on lung busting runs down the wing beating his defender and crossing into to an unmarked Oakley who slammed home with two great first time finishes. Next it was time to take it on himself with a top corner finish giving the Saints a commanding lead.
Oakley added two more before Rishton battled back with two goals either side of half time, the second a sweet strike from the Saints very own Seb… unfortunately in his own net!
Conscious of the Saints only having five players, Manager McFadden showed shrewd tactical acumen rotating his keepers in the second half to conserve the boys legs. Teddy started the second half before being replaced by Oakley the Cat O’Connor.
Oakley pulled off three fine saves and dominated his area as Rishton tried to find a way back into the game.
With a few minutes to go it was all over as the Saints hit two quick fire goals from Seb and a trademark predatory finish from Leighton. Oscar almost capped a fine run with a goal right at the death to celebrate his all round performance but was to be denied.
Three games, three strong performances. We go again.
C’mon the Hoops!