We played our first ever competitive set of games in NPL2 Youth Boys as Flame. The majority of players in teams have graduated and made the transition from Association Youth League football to the National Premier League.
With the target of finishing in the top half of the Club Championship ladder, the boys have made a slow but bright start to this campaign. It really was a case of what could have been.
We will endeavor to provide you with weekly match reports from each grade however these are dependent on each team coordinator to provide us with match details in a timely manner.
Under 13 | Won 4-1
It was obviously a fabulous start to NPL2 for this group of boys who got the ball rolling on Saturday morning. Highlights included a hat-trick to Willem Robaard and a long-range screamer from Jake Morris which helped seal a great win. Goalkeepers are often unsung however Billy Brown produced a save right out of the top draw at an important stage in the match, diving high to the right to tip the ball over the bar when the score was 2-1. This seemed to lift the boys who went on to score two more goals, the last of which was finished off after a passing sequence where nearly every player had a touch, moving the ball from one side to the other and scoring a magnificent team goal.
Well congratulate the boys and Coach Brad who are setting high expectations.
Player of the Match: Willem Robaard
Under 14 | Lost 1-2
After a strong pre-season, anticipation was high for a solid start to our official NPL debut. So, as the boys ventured up the highway to the home of NSW football, there was a sense of quiet confidence.
From the opening whistle however two things became very clear. Firstly, our technical and tactical abilities are strong, when we played quickly and with width scoring chances were created, however this is NPL football and whilst our opposition (arguably) couldn’t match us on this front, they were on top in the enthusiasm stakes, pressing hard to limit decision making time. This in turn created far too many unforced errors and turnovers. Still a close tussle in the first half, with only a small lapse in concentration leading to a goal from Stanmore which they took to the break.
The second half followed the same trends, with the highly energised Stanmore side continuing to play a physical and hard pressing game. An unlucky penalty saw Stanmore take a two-goal lead early. From there, the game was tight with limited scoring opportunities on both sides, however in the last 10-15 minutes, Flame’s nerves clearly settled and with much improved execution we created the better chances, drawing back a late goal with a well-orchestrated movement up the left set up by Cooper Schofield and finished clinically by Tristan Nikolovski. However, that’s how it finished.
Player of the Match: Cooper Schofield
Under 15 | Drew 1-1
After a long preseason and a lot of hard work put in by the players, the first game of the season was finally upon us. We travelled away to play Stanmore Hawks and it didn’t take long for the boys to realise that we were going to be in for a tough battle. After a nervous start to the game and a few uncharacteristic turnovers of possession, the boys started to settle in to the game and maintain good possession and look to unlock a solid Stanmore defensive block.
It wasn’t until the 17th minute where our high press paid off when an over hit through ball and excellent pressure forced a mix up between the Stanmore defender and Goalkeeper resulting in the defender passing the ball into his own net. Unfortunately for us, we only held the lead for two minutes and Stanmore found an equaliser from a corner where we struggled to react quick enough to the second ball.
As half time drew near, we had a golden opportunity to take lead but unfortunately our attempt from close range just went over the bar.
During the second half, the boys picked up where they left off and continued to try and unlock the compact defensive block. As the second half continued, we found ourselves in an arm wrestle for the three points and it wasn’t until the 58min where some excellent build up play from the back finishing with a great ball across the goal area and well timed run on the far post saw another opportunity to take the lead go begging.
Overall probably not our best performance to date, but the boys showed we will be a team not to take lightly as we continue to collectively work hard for each other and believe in our processes.
Player of the Match: Jacob Carney
Under 16 | Drew 1-1
No match report available
With the Under 13 not counting towards Club Championship Points, we left Valentine Park with just two points. So, while not the start we wanted, loads of learning’s and positives can be taken take from the games. Most importantly, if this is the NPL standard, we have the game across all grades to be very competitive and with round one nerves out of the way now, we look forward to a home fixture this week as we host UNSW FC.