With Head Coach Dean Mc sharing his coaching skills with the best in British Swimming this weekend and assistant James sent on a scouting trip north of the border it was left to the club’s budding sports journalist to double up and try and combine management duties with keeping up with the score this Saturday as the Junior Hoops u7 Saints took on the Rishton Reds at the Blackburn Soccer Dome this Saturday.
The debut coach’s nerves were soon put at ease as the Saints customary blitz at the start of the game got them off to a flier. A front three of Leighton, Oakley and Teddy were to prove at constant threat at the start of the first half with free flowing football and delightful interplay giving the Saints a strong platform to build from.
In only the second minute Oscar strode out of defence and freed Leighton on the left hand side whose dazzling feet bamboozled the defender and earned half of yard of space. That was all he needed to find a pass to Teddy who took the ball in his stride and slotted home from a tight angle. It wasn’t long before the favour was returned. This time it was Oakley who freed Teddy on the right and he took the ball round the defender before flashing a ball across the goal line into prime time bandit country for Leighton to tap in and peel away in delight.
Teddy added a third soon after before turning provider for Oakley who finished powerfully with his supposedly unfavoured right foot. Before Rishton had time to settle the Saints were on the attack again playing with a freedom that had the watching parents clapping with delight. Seb on for Oscar was playing with a calmness at the back spreading play either side to Teddy and Leighton. The stretching of play created space for Oakley who showed great composure play a through ball to Teddy who calmly finished when one on one with the keeper.
Then came the goal of the game. Huey rolled the ball out to Teddy who played a cross field pass to Leighton in his own half. Leighton’s first touch allowed him to step up to the half way line where he looked up and returned the ball to Teddy 10 yards into the Rishton half on the right wing. Teddy saw Oakley charging through from midfield and his first time pass was met with power from Oakley and the ball ripped into the bottom left hand corner for a simoly breathtaking goal that would grace any age group.
The Saints weren’t going to have it all their own way however and Rishton battled back with some great football of their own as they took risks leaving players forward to put pressure on the Saints defence. Three quick goals and a series of smart saves from Huey and Matthew either side of half time kept the game alive for the Reds.
As the game became stretched Matthew took up a central role in the Saints midfield and his incisive passes twice found Leighton in space. Unfortunately for Leighton though, goal-line tech hasn’t reached the Soccer Dome! Twice in five minutes he was to curl the ball from either side of the box goalwards only to be denied by the cross bar and the post, each time the ball agonisingly rolling across the line before being hooked away.
A powerful strike from Oakley sandwiched either side of smart finishes from Teddy settled the nerves for the Saints as Rishton looked to establish themselves back in the game and then with two minutes left on the clock Oscar made a decisive tackle before freeing Matthew down the left hand side. His pass found Leighton whose quick feet caused problems yet again for the Rishton defence before a smart pass to Oakley rounded off the game in style.
The Saints march on. C’mon the Hoops!