Sunday 9th November, SPL 3; Pirbright Premier U11s 6 Chertsey Town 8
On a Village Green which resembled something of a bog by the close, PPFC U11s and league leaders Chertsey shared an incredible fourteen goals in a frantic and keenly contested game on Sunday morning.
Pirbright started brightly against their unbeaten opponents; Joshua’s superb run and pass allowing Olly to score his second goal of the weekend. But Chertsey proceeded to pen PPFC back almost in their own area; the lads showing all-too-familiar traits of dropping far too deep defensively and showing no incisiveness or purpose in the tackle. Chertsey were soon level; only for Joshua to put the home team back in front – a goal which for a brief while looked to have re-established a degree of confidence to our play. But once the visitors grabbed their second equaliser, Pirbright then spent ten minutes in utter disarray; conceded four quick-fire goals to trail 2-6 heading towards half-time. Tackles were missed, players left unmarked, individual mistakes punished; Chertsey clinical in their finishing and outstanding in the way they continued to find space down either wing.
Josh’s second pulled it back to 3-6 by the break (it shouldn’t be forgotten what a goal of genuine quality it was too; amid the chaos of the preceding fifteen minutes). As seems to be the case this season, it took the words of their coaches at the interval to spur the boys into greater efforts. Pirbright were much improved in the second period; far more committed in the tackle and a deal more organised at the back. Joshua completed his hat-trick to make it 4-6, before Chertsey restored their three-goal advantage for 4-7. Arthur bundled in Jonty’s corner to make it 5-7 before our opponents grabbed their eighth with a terrific header from yet another outstanding cross into the Pirbright box.
PPFC had the last word, Josh stabbing home from close range after Jack had burst into the box.
It was a difficult game to fully digest; the lads were splendid going forward at times and when they showed some genuine commitment in the tackle they were capable of controlling the game. However, the least said about their ten-minute capitulation the better; as Lee and Pete rightly pointed out we should be past the stage where they need to worry about the kind of basic ball-watching and absence of effort in the tackle that undid us in the first half. That said, Chertsey were formidable going forward, particularly their two wide players, and it’s not difficult to see why they have been so successful so far.
Onwards and upwards lads – and an early chance to put things right with the return match next Sunday.
PPFC: Conor, Jacob (c), Thomas, Jonty, Jack, Asa, Joshua, Olly, Cally, Arthur, Dean, Adam
Scorers: Joshua 4, Olly, Arthur
MOTM: Joshua – inevitably; some brilliant finishing