Sat 19
Under 11 Tornados
W
-
L
League
Leigh Genesis Neutrons
T Glassbrook (7'), M Johnston (15'), (22'), (36'), (40'), Z Forde (32')
*** WOW - JUST WOW ***

*** WOW - JUST WOW ***

By Wayne Gates
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Our winning run continues in style...


Unbeaten since October, Shaun and Dave knew that if they could continue that again today, they'd go into 2021 with a mighty fine form record. This squad of players have been monumental over recent weeks and having worked hard in training again during the week, the coaches were looking forward to welcoming a strong Leigh Genesis Neutrons to The Skool for this one...

And as we arrived, there was an expectant mood in the air. With our younger age groups in action already, The Skool was a hive of activity and with the COVID safety measures in place, everybody had their temperatures taken, were checked in and sanitised their hands - and with plenty of fans watching from outside the fence, there was quite a crowd gathering for this one. Having been rained off last weekend, our lads were chomping at the bit for competitive action and as they began their warm-up's, you could the look of determination in their eyes. They looked pumped...

The starting 7 was announced and it saw plenty of changes from the team that started at Ladybridge a fortnight ago. Aaron was back between the sticks and with Shaun opting for a 3-4-1 shape, the three tasked with defending him saw Tom flanked by Callum and Leo. With Zac and Stephen in the heart of the midfield, we had pace and guile and coupled with the trickery of Alex and the drive and determination of Thomas on the wings, there was plenty to provide Harvey up top with opportunities. The bench was strong as well - with birthday-boy Marshall joined by Ashton and Haden - so we knew that we had choices if we needed to switch things up. With the final words of encouragement offered by both sets of coaches and the crowd settling in, the match began - and what a match it proved to be...

Straight from the start it was the Wanderers that were looking to press the ball and we knew that if we could win it in the Neutrons half, we had a good chance of getting through on goal in a flash. Harvey was working their defence hard and whenever they thought they had time and space on the ball, there he was - snapping at their ankles and not giving them an inch. His persistence paid off big-style when he chased down a ball over the top and battling with two defenders and their keeper for it, his strength won through and in an attempt to clear the ball, they could only play it into the path of Thomas 10 yards outside of their box. He took a touch to steady himself and as he looked up, he floated a glorious shot over the head of their No.1 and into the top corner of their net. A stunning finish and more importantly - we were in front...

But today's visitors are no pushovers and hurt by going behind, they began to surge forward at every opportunity. Despite our back-line standing firm, they did manage to breach it when they got in behind and as their striker smashed it goalwards, Aaron was so close to keeping it out - but the power on the shot saw it nestle into the bottom corner of his net. It was all-square again...

Thankfully the lads didn't let that goal affect their flow and they continued to play their passing game that they've been working on in training. And boy did it pay off! The ball dropped from the air and there was our Zack to pluck it from the sky. He pulled it to his foot and as their defender came in to make the tackle, our top-scorer beat him with ease and from the half-way line, he spotted the birthday-boy Marshall on the edge of their box waving his arm frantically. Zack pinged the ball straight to him and as it came in, Marshall took it instantly - hitting it on the volley straight into the roof of their net! What an assist! What a goal! That was pure class...

With the reds now in the ascendency, we were looking dangerous every time we went forward. And we increased the lead when Marshall pounced on a clearance from their keeper and running straight towards goal, he finished with aplomb into the bottom corner. We were looking on fire - again...

But back came the side from Leigh again and another good move down their right saw the ball played down their left and as it was hit towards goal, our Aaron made a good save low to his right. As the ball squirmed away for what looked like it was going to be a corner, from nowhere their winger had slid in and somehow he managed to swing his leg just enough to divert it into the back of our net. A superb finish in truth and it was good to see the supporters of both sides applauding the young man's efforts. Well done lad...

This really was a great game now and with Alex working tirelessly down the flank, we always looked likely. He was beating his man every time and his crossing was on-point throughout the entire game so far. He was also unlucky not to get a couple himself as he was smashing them in whenever he could and as the game inched towards the interval, he was still giving it his all. But the whistle went and as both sides came in for the break, they knew that the result was still very much in the balance...

Shaun and Dave got their players together and as they went through their brief, they asked their troops to be more confident in their own abilities. When we got our passing game going, we could carve open chances and that would be the way to win this. The Neutrons would not just roll over and they would stay in this game until the end - so it was up to us to go out there and do the business. We then saw the return of our Ashton to the team and as the kids made their way back out there, the home fans were busy cheering them on...

Straight away Ashton was showing his quality - with some precision passing and battling hard - and with Zack also enjoying himself out there, we knew we would get more sight of their goal. And when our top-scorer got hold of the ball and went on a run, the crowd held their breath. He beat three players and surged towards goal - getting 1-on-1 with their keeper. As her approached the box, he drilled it low and hard into the bottom corner of their net. Another great finish and we had increased the lead. Excellent...

Having moved Leo over to the left, Shaun was so pleased as he was doing an amazing job. The coach thought the lad had Messi's boots on this morning as the ball was stuck to his boot as he ran down the line. One such time saw him near the corner-flag and as two defenders came in to shut him down, he beat them in such a tight space before looking up and spotting Marshall - who made no mistake in rifling it into the back of their net. The hat-trick for the birthday-boy! Another great team-goal and further proof of the progress this set of kids are making...

Once again though, the away side never gave up and they started to press us further backwards. Some of their players seemed to be giants and these guys were driving their team-mates forward. Our defence was holding firm though - until they managed to find a way through when a loose ball was picked up in our box and their midfielder made no mistake in slamming it past Aaron and into the roof of our net. A stark reminder that nothing was won yet and this game was still very much in the balance. Both sets of supporters were being treated to a proper festive feast of football here...

That goal seemed to push the Neutrons forward even more - but having our No.1 back after his self-isolation meant that we felt safe whenever they did get through. Don't get us wrong - Tom done a wonderful job in there last time out - but having Aaron in there gives confidence to the defenders and none more so than this morning. He made some amazing saves and won every 1-on-1 out there and he stretched into the top corner to keep out a certain goal that would have given the Leigh side even more hope of getting back in this. This gave us a platform to work from as the game wore on - and when the final goal of the match came, it was us that got it and that man Marshall that grabbed his 11th goal of the season. Playing the ball at pace through the middle, it was the birthday-boy again that won it on the edge of their box and as he lofted it over the out-stretched arm of their No.1, the ball dipped deliciously into the back of their net. His fourth of the game and if we could hold out now, our rich vein of form would continue into the New Year...

The final 10 minutes saw both teams still battling hard and credit to the visitors for making this competitive throughout. They continued to search for more goals but found Tom Lloyd in inspired form at the back - solid all game and not letting anybody have an easy morning against him. Marshall was still having a pop at goal whenever he got the chance and from front to back, each and every Wanderer was playing their part in this first-class performance...

And as soon as it stared, it was over. The whistle went and it was one of those games that was that good that you wondered where that hour or so had gone. Both team contributed to a superb match and they were all smiling as they gave each other the 'chicken-wing' elbow at the end. Well done to the visitors - they're a great set of lads and we wish them all the best for the remainder of the season...

The last 10 minutes both teams battled hard and gave it there all Marshall was having a go at every chance he got
Tom Lloyd was instrumental at the back solid all game and not letting anyone have an easy morning against him

But this was all about the Tornadoes and as they came in, both Shaun and Dave were quite rightly full of praise. Each and every one of them had played their part out there - from Aaron and his great saves all the way through to the HandMade Gifts and Sweet Treats Man of the Match Marshall. He was extra special today and as soon as he came on, he scored two quick goals to make his mark. It must have been all of those birthday sweets...

As is becoming usual practice now, Wanderers TV managed to catch up with a jubilant Shaun at the end of the game and this is what he had to say - through a huge, massive smile:

"We were absolutely brilliant again today. You can all see that we're getting stronger and stronger each time we come out to play and the pleasing thing for Dave and I is that they are working hard in training - then putting it into action on a Saturday. They are all listening but more importantly - they are all working hard as a team for each other.

I hope that all the fans out there can now go into the festive period pleased with their heroes and come out in the New Year looking to get behind them again. Have a great Christmas and we'll be back again soon!"

And with that, he was away and The Skool played host to the u15's game. Another great display from the lads, the winning run continues and everything is rosy. Merry Christmas everybody!

COME ON THE WANDERERS!!!

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Match details

Match date

Sat 19, Dec 2020

Kickoff

10:15

Attendance

31
Marshall Johnston

Player of the match

Marshall Johnston