News and results for Saturday 6th April.

Raiders drew with Royton
A hard fought, physical encounter this one, with very few clear cut chances and total commitment from all the boys. Raiders had more of the ball in both halves, but with a very hard and uneven St Marys there was little quality on display. It wasn’t a huge surprise then that having not taken advantage of the few chances they had created, Raiders conceded deep into the second half – a hopeful free kick into the Raiders box, the ball not cleared, pinged around a bit before being stabbed home by Royton. It would’ve been a very harsh result, with just a couple of minutes to play, the Raiders finally managed to get the ball down on the deck, a smart interchange down the right, Harrison squaring for motm Tu’San to side foot home a very tidy left foot equaliser, and that was it, the game restarted and the final whistle blew. Well done for keeping on till the final whistle Raiders 

Lions beat Denton youth
Good performance from the boys in the sunshine this morning. The Lions dominated from start to finish really. Denton only got passed the defence on two occasions. Jamie ran the first half from the middle of the park. There keeper made 20+ saves with one or two of them top draw. We hit the woodwork 2/3 times with cracking 20 yard efforts. Half time and it was only 1-0. Great ball over the top from Finlay found Daniel who squared to Rocco to tap home into an empty net. We told the boys at half time to use the width more and the goals would come for sure. Jamie again pulling strings with his through balls to the front three. Boys creating chance  after chance DJ with two goals and Daniel grabbing the other. The boys are now becoming very strong and using their strength at every opportunity which is great to see. 
Motm was between Jamie and Daniel. Jamie just shaded it with his great passing and never giving up.

Bridge drew with Raiders
You know it’s right when kids come off smiling and parents make a point of saying how happy they are, and how entertaining the football is. Smashing game in the sunshine this morning, two well matched teams enjoying themselves, competitive, both sets of lads looking to ‘play’. An early goal for Bridge was cancelled out after Harrison found the top corner after some good work down the right, William almost adding a second, only to be denied by the woodwork after an excellent strike. One each at the break. It was Williams run and shot, this time coming back off the post that resulted in Raiders taking the lead early in the second half, this time Tu’San on hand to smash in the rebound. Bridge lifted their game and hit back with two goals and the lead, despite another fantastic display from Tyler at the back, driving forward when he could to turn defence into attack, and it was the result of one of these runs that found Harrison who cut in from the left and snuck one in from a tight angle to level things up. Chances both ends in the closing stages, but the draw was a fair result, and it was smiles all round at the end. Well done Raiders 

Sapphires Win

Well. Wow. What a game. I don’t think I’ve seen a better all round team performance from the girls than today. The Sapphires shone like diamonds.
A truly remarkable performance from each and every player today, they kept their heads in spite of the tough game.

The girls kept their heads down and let their feet do the talking, and for the entire first half they were in complete control of the game. Aimee was terrorising their left back at every opportunity, leaving her in her wake repeatedly as she got down the byline and put the crosses in the box for Alex and Scarlet to try and get the first goal. Some panicky defending saw them get the ball clear, but the ball kept coming straight back at them in waves, as Libby and Pam ruled the midfield, winning the ball back and putting it straight back into the danger areas. When Maccabi did manage to get past our hard working front three and tigerish midfield duo, ‘The Wall’™ were absolutely magnificent. Issy and Kinyemi were superb with their tackling and distribution from the back, and absolutely nothing was getting past Sofia today (I think it was the raw steak she had for breakfast), breaking up play and stopping Maccabi in their tracks. Despite not being busy, Nyeleti kept 100% focused and played the role of ‘sweeper keeper’ brilliantly today. Alert, quick to react and making the right decision every time. Grace came on and instantly gave the Maccabi defence an even bigger headache than before.
A slight altercation was taken in their stride by the girls, and in fact seemed to be galvanised by it and doubled their determination and effort.  Again Grace, Pam, Libby, Alex and Aimee worked hard to try and create a breakthrough, with some lovely passing and movement coupled with great skill and composure on the ball, but it wasn’t to be as the first half ended 0-0.
Dan gave the team talk at half time, and whatever he said had an effect on the girls as they came out all guns blazing in the second half. Within 30 seconds of the restart, we should have been one up, as the ball was worked out nicely to Aimee on the right, who took a touch, looked up, then picked out Grace making a run from the opposite flank with a tremendous through ball that completely took out the Maccabi defence. Grace controlled and hit a great shot which whistled just past the keeper’s right hand post. You could see that the midfield and forwards had complete faith in our outstanding defence today, as they kept pushing forwards and playing some good passes into dangerous areas, knowing that if the opposition broke away, Sofia would stop them in their tracks and come away with the ball, or Issy and Kinyemi (and Scarlet when she had to fill in at right back on the couple of occasions Issy had to go off to recuperate) would take the ball off the attackers’ toes and surge forwards down the flanks and play some great forward passes for their team mates to go and create chances. In fact it was from such a tackle and forward pass from Kinyemi that the Sapphires got the breakthrough. The ball went out wide and was put in across the box for Grace to get on the end of and finish superbly past the keeper from a tight angle! 1-0.
Alex, Libby and Pam kept up the pressure, not giving Maccabi a moment’s peace, and soon after the second goal came along, as more determined midfield work saw a lovely through ball part the opposition defence like the sea for Grace to run on to again. She took a touch and drove forward towards the penalty area and despite heavy pressure, again finished clinically into the keeper’s bottom left hand corner to double our advantage.
The Sapphires now really turned on the style with some fantastic football, passing, triangles and quite notably great communication on the pitch. Aimee was very unlucky not to grab a couple of goals (that first goal isn’t far away Aimee!) as the defence stuck admirably to their task of winning that ball back and giving it to the midfield to go and create chance after chance for the front line. The third goal followed, with Scarlet fittingly being the scorer. Again more great team work saw the ball dropped in to the right hand side of the penalty area, where Scarlet had made a lovely run, she got control of the ball and emphatically smashed a fantastic shot past the Maccabi keeper to make it 3-0. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a bigger smile on anyone’s face as she celebrated finding the back of the net!
The last 10 minutes of the game continued in the same vein, with the Sapphires refusing to be rattled. Nyeleti kept a clean sheet in the last minutes of the game by rushing out and making a fantastic and brave save. I believe it was with the nose area that she stopped the ball, hopefully it’s not too painful now! The game ended 3-0, could’ve been more, but what a superlative effort from each and every single one of the girls, they truly played as a team today, looked out for one another, kept their composure, communicated and played some really good, neat, clever football.
Sofia was named player of the match, but I think that that accolade is equally shared by all 10 girls today, it was a truly complete performance. I hope I speak for all of us parents when I say how proud we are of you girls! Thanks also to Marc, Dan and Steve for looking out for the girls today, enjoy your Sunday everyone!! 💪🏼🔵⚫