|Racecourse Ground Top Junior|
|Sunninghill and Ascot, Ascot, Windsor and Maidenhead, South East, England, United Kingdom|
We were blessed with sunshine and excellent pitch condition for this match. Our last match against Hearts was played in dismal windy and wet December conditions, so this was a real bonus. Hearts are a good team and this showed during the first quarter with end to end action, great defending and attacking by both teams. Raiders put up a spirited defence against several strong attacks by Hearts. Gradually Raiders started to find their form and made some lovely passing moves to pressure the Hearts goal, but all square at the end of Q1 with no goals.
Q2 Raiders came out very strong and caught Hearts napping. A lovely passing move ended with Monty setting up Ben to shoot and score. This was swiftly followed by another attack which won Raiders a corner. Ben took the corner and it fell to Frankie at the back post and he got his first goal. Hearts were on the backfoot at this point and Monty found Archie E in support to lay the ball off to him and Archie got on the score sheet. Q2 was all about pressing and not letting Hearts get any momentum. Great tackling by Nathan and Archie B making an impenetrable defence. The midfield and attack saw Archie E, Cian, James, Monty, Frankie and Ben causing Hearts plenty of problems (there were substitutions, even I can count!). Jackson was having a quiet time in goal but came up with the stops when Hearts managed to get a shot.
Q3 saw Hearts come out with real purpose and got themselves back in the game with a quick goal. Raiders were not downhearted and worked hard to re-establish a dominance in the game. Eventually Ben threaded a pass through the Hearts midfield and Monty provided the finish. At this time it was back to the end to end play. Hearts pressed hard again and Raiders were a little on the back foot for about 5 minutes. But Raiders held on to the end of the quarter without conceding again.
Q4 and the Raiders pressed hard again not letting the Hearts team get out of their half. The pressure paid off when Monty set up Frankie’s second goal and Raiders settled into a defensive set up to absorb the Hearts onslaught. And Hearts did not disappoint, making several strong attacks which eventually resulted in a class goal which came from a well worked passing move to open space in the Raiders defence. Raiders continued to absorb the pressure and saw out the match with no further scores. Jackson came out of goal and James put on the gloves for this quarter. Jackson quickly got involved in linking passes on the right wing to hold up the ball and feed the attacks.
A very entertaining match for the spectators, who appreciated the efforts made by both teams. Special mentions for Raiders players:
Frankie – maybe a hat-trick next match! Great game.
Monty – great all round performance up front – one goal and 3 assists, say no more, M Mount would be proud of that
Cian – solid as ever and great in the press, excellent player to have on the team
James – excellent passing and linking play, sound defending too, consistently good performer
Nathan – always reliable with strong clean tackles and long passes forward, another asset for the team
Archie B – rock solid with great clearances and robust defending, he provides a commanding presence on the pitch
Archie E – fast and cutting in attack and defence, well deserved goal and also played a big part in other goals, a budding E Hazard
Jackson – good stops when in goal and great holdup and passing plays when on the wing, works hard for the team
Ben – one goal and 2 assists, skilful tackling in midfield and great passes forward, established play maker
The Raiders are on fire at the moment!