u15 v Norton Canes

Our first match in the top flight was always going to be tough, but playing against last season’s runners up  made it a real baptism of fire.

We also had to play the match without a few key players; Left Back Ben Yates (who has been tremendous in Pre-season), and the combative duo of Reece Jeckets and New signing Ryan Charnell. Influential Mat Smith was also doubtful as was utility player Ryan Lucas. So with a patched up squad, and some players playing out of position we knew we’d be in for a tough afternoon.

On a blustery day, Penkridge settled quickly into the game and continually applied pressure on the opposition. On 3-4 occasions the yellows found themselves in excellent goalscoring positions, but failed to convert. However, after a fine move Ethan Mould broke the deadlock with a stunning strike from a tight angle on the edge of the penalty area.

The home team had to reshuffle again mid way through the first half, with Stand in Left back Ryan Lucas being replaced by Ben Dobson after aggravating his already injured leg. Dobbo dropped into Left Mid and Debutant Ben Morris moved back into LB position.

Within a few minutes PJFC had a real scare. A rare break from the opposition created confusion in the home teams penalty box and the ref awarded a penalty to the team in blue.

Goalkeeping debutant, Jack Philpott became the hero, as he saved cleverly with his feet – forcing the spot kick high over the cross bar. This bouyed the home team as they looked to capitalise on their possession and increase their advantage.  At half time, the lads were praised for their incredible work rate and were asked to keep doing much the same.

With the strong wind now behind them Norton Canes pressed for the important equaliser, but Penkridge continued to defend intelligently with great conviction- often frustrating the away team.

Keeper Jack Philpott pulled of a series of fine saves, but for large periods of the 40 minutes the away team were forced into rushing their play and rarely played around the home team defence.

As Norton pushed forward in the final few minutes, Penkridge could have settled the match, when Jord Wilcox broke away at pace beating 2-3 players but failed to pull the ball back from the byline to the onrushing supoport (Ethan and Jamo) for an easy tap in. And in the dying second, Jack James took a clever free kick which split the defence, but Ethan failed to convert from close range. In the end, it didn’t matter. One goal was enough to ensure our first points of the season.

Every single player stood up to the task and worked tirelessly as a team. Norton will feel they had chances to level the match but overall the boys in yellow coped better with the conditions, and with better finishing Penkridge should have been 3-4 goals to the good at half time. Beating Norton is a great boost for the lads – no doubt both teams will play better this season, but it shows the coaches the boys have the desire, spirit and ability to organise themselves making it tough for even the strongest teams to beat them. Long may that continue.

MOTM

It’s hard to pick out one player. The stikers (Zack, Greg and Jord) applied so much pressure and took a bit of a battering from a physical team. Wide men (Jamo, Mozza, Dobbo), were again stong in the challenge, busy throughout, with some clever play thrown in. Centre Midfield pair (Smithy and Ethan), bossed the pitch  for long periods. And defenders (Jon, Ry Land, Mozza, Crotty – and the injured Ry Lucas) stood up to everything that was thrown at  them winning the arial battle as well as diligently sticking to their task. – But, Penalty hero Jack Philpott, probably shaded it with 2 or 3 other fine saves. Well done JP.

Team

Jack Philpott

Jack Crotty, Ry Land, Jon Kalmar, Ry Lucus

Jack James, Mat Smith, Ethan Mould, Ben Morris

Zack Porter, Greg Marshall.

(Subs) Ben Dobson / Jordan Wilcox

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