September WEEK 3 Round-up
It wasn't just the football that would leave everyone wondering this weekend, but the weather too, and after it hammering down all day Friday and still drizzly into Saturday morning, the local groundsmen were all at their windows....and some on their phone. The Halls First Team game was a casualty and was postponed at 11am, which would have been only our second fixture of the new season. Maybe more teams need to follow our lead and get themselves playing on an all-weather, perfect pitch!
A disappointing start to the weekend, but maybe dodging the travellers at Waller Park wasn't the worst thing in the end.... So with all eyes now back on Stone Rec, the Reserves faced Swanley Oaks in a pre-season friendly and shaped up with Zoggy in the Halls goal, captain Vowlsey and centre back, Josh at right back and Dan Bliss through the middle as the only senior players in Blue and Yellow.... with the exception of the very senior David Gray. Only 3 times the age of the remaining players!!
The rest of the squad was made up of Under 18s making their senior debuts. Ricky Morris and Jack Wright made the line-up, bringing some more quality to the side from our top Kent Youth Team - but still Under 18s... And Ricky was the stand-out player in this 90 minutes.
Finishing the game 0-5, it was a very worthwhile showcase to our youngest senior boys of what the Reserve level is all about. Gritty, unforgiving and always a tough match against teams that are organised and hard-working. And Swanley Oaks were both on the day. Lacking the real technical ability of some of our young lads, but with experience and good organisation, they were worthy winners in this match.
Well done to Vowlsey, Liam, Little Seaman and Ricky for standing out in the match. A good 90 minutes under the belt for everyone....we look ahead now to the Reserve Team kicking off their league season in 2 weeks.
The Halls Vets had this weekend off so with our Saturday Club still growing in the mornings, it is somewhat more the highlight of a Saturday now...taking the gloss off the senior football, and rightly so with in excess of 100 young footballers all training together. We must all welcome in Ray, Paul, Dan, Robbie and Alex.
Ray is the current Halls 1st Team keeper and he is now our second goal-keeping coach alongside Dan Aldred, and between them they will be taking away your brave #1s and will try to put over some of their thoughts and experience; Max from the Under 12s and Sam from the Under 11s worked with Ray this week and certainly had a great work out sliding around in the rain. Paul is a local family man who has recently relocated back to England from New Zealand, and has started coaching our Under 15s... 2 weeks in and the lads are loving it. So welcome Paul. Dan is our new Under 7s Manager, and working with the help of Yen, he is another Dad who has taken the step towards coaching and engaging with the kids.
Robbie is another First Team player who has dived into the Club's Development, and alongside Alex (a familiar face to most) is coaching our Under 8s team, which has now swollen to a squad of 15!! Clearly a very popular group...and what a great bunch they all are too.
So with the madness of Saturday past, we flopped into Sunday morning with bright blue skies and a gleaming Stone Rec. And it was the Under 15s up first entertaining Phoenix Pumas in the first junior match of the Halls 2013/2014 season. After a good pre-season the boys were buzzing, but were the slower to start in this match with a handful of early (but somewhat expected) rusty errors we found ourselves 0-3 down within 20 minutes. We had the wind blown out of us, and its a tough wake-up call so early in the match, no wonder we never really recovered over the course of the match... But that definitely isn't the full story here, in the True-Halls-Spirit the boys rallied hard to find some confidence and with the in-form Reece picking the ball up on the edge of the box, he was certainly within range...and he didn't disappoint, with a bang the ball rifled into the top corner for an absolute screamer of a goal. 1-3.
Our nerves in defending though were still evident though and by half-time the score was 2-5. And half-time needed to come sooner, if it had we would have won this match. Our second half display was impressive. And so it should have been... correct our mistakes and take the game to the opposition. Chances kept coming for the boys, with an onslaught on the Phoenix goal and some neat passing moves, and good crosses into the box - especially Reece with two beauties - a goal was always coming. And it did, with Anthony finally finishing the move with a tap-in on the line. 3-5 and game on.
But if we must learn any lesson from today, it must be discipline. Our team took a couple of yellow cards following this and had started to lose their focus on the match.... we must stay with it and concentrate on nothing else boys. And we had so much time in this game to still pull level. We did still dominate the remaining 15 minutes, with a run of corners and free-kicks that were all good chances. A penalty kick with 8 minutes to go nearly gave us the opportunity to have a crazy come-back on the cards, but Nathan connected far too well with the ball and absolutely smashed it, and hit the cross-bar. It was so close!!
The match finished 3-5. And really unlucky not to have taken this match to at least 4-5. Well done to Sam for a clean sheet in the second half, and to the rest of lads for winning the half.
Elsewhere, Steve led the Under 9s Blues out in their first match against Hayden Youth and they had a really impressive first 25 minutes, blowing Hayden away quickly and taking the match 5-1. Great start lads and straight into some good form. Well done to Hayden for a really competitive match, especially the second half.
The Under 10s weren't far behind, and they lined-up against Phoenix Jaguars in the Selkent B division tie. Finding themselves 0-3 down, they showed great spirit and some very good football to work themselves back into the match. A real entertaining match saw Halls climb back to within 1 goal, twice, but with a final score of 3-4. So close, but what a match, no-one cares about the score-line with that sort of entertainment...it could have gone either way!
One match that was all one-way, was Rob's Under 13's who kicked off next against Northfleet Eagles. Very convincing 8-0 winners was just the start the boys could have hoped for, and with debutant Ashley bagging a hattrick it was a great day all round. Well done to Rob, Paul, and the team.
Another cracker then kicked off at midday. Halls Under 8s had took to the field to play Sutton Dynamos. And there were debutants everywhere. Devon, Riley, Jake and Lucas started alongside old-boys Alfie, Lenny and Jake.W. And we made a fantastic start... some unbelievable one-touch passing had seen us take an early foot-hold in the match, with 2 good runs and shots well saved. But as the small-sided game do, we soon had end to end football with Sutton bagging 3 quick goals against the run of play.
Like our lads do, we never stopped playing our football, and with Thomas introduced (another debut) we soon regained momentum and had the ball in the net. 1-3, then 2-3, with Lucas and Jake.W both reeling away in delight of their great strikes. Well done boys.
Eric took a stint in goal, and was brilliant in sweeping behind the defence and getting the ball safe in his hands. Brothers Max and Aiden also entered to make their Halls debut, and we were still breaking out and attacking the Sutton goal. Alfie was a rock in defence and it seemed nothing would get past this boy - or his Dad's skweels - today. Love it. We had a spell of some desperate defending, and with every player in Blue and Yellow running hard and blocking well, it seemed like Sutton had no way through, but they did eventually take one opportunity, and with Thomas bagging a third goal for Halls (good start Tom!), the scores had gone to 3-4.
We threw everything at Sutton in the final minutes, and they defended brilliantly. The keeper made two one on one saves to end the match and unfortunately call an end to a really entertaining game. Well done Sutton, and well done to all the Under 8s and especially their debutants today. Welcome in and bring on next week with another match like that...!
The final match at Stone, was our Under 12s with Gary and Paul heading the team out to face Petts Wood Herons. Previous encounters last season had been good matches, and after going 0-1 down, Ryan popped up for the Blues to level the scores with 10 minutes remaining. But within a minute, Petts Wood had struck back with the very next attack, planting the ball in the bottom corner and taking the match. 1-2. A very competitive match, just edged by Petts Wood, by well done to our lads for a confident start to the season.
Elsewhere, Brad headed to Dartford FC Red, and going down 0-3 early on it was another match hard to recover with the opposition starting strong. A fight-back saw the lads go 1-3, and then two disallowed goals, we did come really close, but Dartford had countered us well and soon made it 1-4 and sealed the match. A great second half display from our lads, and all just adding to their new 9v9 experience.... Patience as always boys.
Both Under 18s matches were postponed, as was the Under 9s Yellows, with our only remaining team, and our youngest players in the Under 7s being entertained at the Marathon Ground for a season-starter friendly round-robin tournament. A great introduction to football life for everyone involved their today, and thanks to Sally and the Selkent League for all their good work. And nice one to David the groundsman at the rec for his good company and efforts this weekend :)
Well bring on Week 3....and yes, its already week 3! Nearly Christmas!?!?
COME ON HALLS