U17's Match Report

Date: 15th December 2013

Home: Riefield Vipers V Russellers
Competition: League

Result: 3 - 2 (WIN)

After a poor performance and a loss to Villa Court last time out, it was important we got back to winning ways. Even more important as Fleetdown had played before us and we knew they had drawn. It was immensely tough therefore to have a depleted team due to illness, injury and work. Meaning we started the game with just 10 men. We have done it before, and we would have to try and do it again.

We set the team up to soak up the pressure and to break when we could. We held well, but having a man spare meant they could break with better numbers, and so at half time they were 1 nil up. But we were done, we needed to be a yard quicker and we could certainly be back in it.

What followed was one of the best displays of pride and passion I have seen from my team. The ten men who turned up that day gave every ounce of effort. We had an amazing spell getting two goals back to get a 2-1 lead. We should have consolodated, but we were in our flow. However a quick break by them and it was 2-2. I would have taken a draw at the start of the day, and changed the team again to hold - but with a few minutes to go we took a lead and managed to win the game 3-1. Brilliant and pulsating would be the best way to describe things.


Date: 8th December 2013

Home: Russellers V Villa Court
Competition: Cup (2nd Leg) - Russellers Win 4-2 on agrregate

Result: 2 - 1 (LOSS)

From the outset we were a yard slow to the ball. Whilst relatively well in control, we were lacking any penetration and were struggling put away the chances we did have. Villa Court knew that they needed 4 goals to turn the tie around, and so they deffinitely gave it their all. We on the other hand were slow to the ball and at times sloppy on the ball. They took a deserved lead midway through the first half, but a good break saw Michael strike well to bring us level before half time.


However the second half, we came in waves, but again more often that not we made the wrong choice with passes and still gave them too much room to play. For the decisive goal we didnt mark the men on the outside of the box and so they took advantage. We played the remainder of the game to protect our aggregate score rather than going for the draw or win. Sometimes in is right to play with our heads.


Last few games have been a bit hit and miss. We need to improve our fitness, passing and finishing - they come from training, something which has been poorly attended in this same period. Hopefully 2014 will see us pick up where we started the season. 


Date: 1st December 2013

Home: North Kent Aces V Russellers
Competition: League

Result: 4 - 1 (WIN)

A very shakey first half when we were slow to the ball. That said we soaked up the pressure with some great defending and stand in goalie, Ollie Mayar making some good saves. Second half, we woke up and were much quicker to trhe ball, forcing our opponents to make errors as we pressed higher up the pitch. Some great quick team play meant 4 goals gave us a comfortable win, only a penalty denying us a clean sheet. It was as good a second half as we have played


Date: 17th November 2013

Home: Villacourt Vs Russellers

Competition: Bexley Cup (1st Leg)

Result: 3-0 (WIN)

It was just the reaction we had wanted from the lads following a dissapointing showing last time out. This week the hunger returned, the slick passing and some great finishing meant we had finished off Villa Court by half time. A beautiful team goal for the first, with Joe Sarcone finishing some delightfiul passing. Still with a  bit to do, a good header from the cross saw Tom M on the score sheet and then the third an esquisite 25 yard curler from Liam Simkins to go in to the half 3 nil up.

No goals in the second half, but most importantly a clean sheet and in all honesty we should have had two or three more. I should make it sound like this was a game for the attackers, as our makeshift defence did a great job to nulify any pressure. Most importantly we won the battle in the middle today. Special mention to Tom Comer who once again put the team before his own desire to be on the right wing - making some great stops and quick off his line as needed throughout the game.


Date: 10th November 2013

Home: Russellers vs Fleetdown

Competition: Bexley League

Result: 1-5 (LOSS)

A dissapointing result after such a strong start to the season. We knew having beaten Fleetdown by a similar score only a few weeks back, that this wouldn't be the same game. Sure enough Fleetdown were better structured, but more importantly had a greater hunger and desire than us - winning most challenges and getting to the ball early.

We couldnt find the flowing game that has been our strength this season. Struggling to string passes together and just not quite up to the challenge.

Taking a one nil lead should have been enough to build upon, but instead a resilient Fleetdown pressed well and took their chances.

We have to shake ourselves down, learn some valuable lessons and move on.


Date: 27th October 2013

Home: Russellers vs Dartford

Competition: Bexley League

Result: 5-1 (WIN)

On the back of last weeks result we knew it was important not to be complacent, but sadly that is exactly what we did do in a game where we struggled for the first 20 mins. Going 1 nil down to a dubious penalty, it was no more than we deserved. Our workrate had been poor, passing poor and therefore our error rate poor.  But when you have individuals in your team who can score great goals, then you always have a chance even when playing bad - and that is exactly what we did. Michael Benaron was on hand for 2 great strikes to turn it to 2-1 before half time. 


The goals were just what we needed, as we improved before half time. The team talk gave us a chance to wake up and smell the roses. The call was press, press, press and force the errors. Well fair play to the boys, because in the second half we played some beautiful football. We did press, we won the ball, we worked it quickly and ensured we finished it. Michael Benaron getting his third for a great hatrick, Alex Kidd chasing the ball down to round the keeper and tap in for a great individual goal. Finally Sammy Clifton, ball played out between penalty area and half way line, he hit it first time high and into the back of the net - great goal. There were notable performances from our two substitute goal keepers (Tom and Joe) and a great debut performance for Charlie McCaffrey who certainly adds a little sparkle to our midfield.


Brilliant win, brilliant character and some great passing football.


Date: 20th October 2013

Home: Grasshoppers vs Russellers

Competition: Bexley League

Result: 3-3 (DRAW)

As a Manager it is not often that I feel butterfies in my stomach, but this game was bigger than most we have played. Having won the league for the 3 previous seasons, we knew that what we did against Grasshoppers would show us how far we have come and a bit about where we want to be. The weather and the pitch were certainly not great. We talked about the first 15 mins of each half being essential - weather the storm (no pun) and then play. That is exactly what we did. We played great football in the first half, played the better football and had a number of chances to take the lead - it was annoying then when they took the lead just before half time. Unfortunately they then took another goal early in the second half. But as our opponents decided to get rather cockey, they learnt that this Russellers team dont give up. We keep plugging away, and eventually we were rewarded as we got two goals back to make it 2 - 2. 


We didnt do ourselves any favours though as we lost cocentration to immediately go 3 - 2 down. But with just a few minutes remaining our resolve payed off as we made it 3-3. In fact we nearly won it. But it was a great game of football to watch and an extremely proud Manager could be very satisfied. It showed that we can compete with the best.


Date: 13th October 2013

Home: Russellers vs Riefield Vipers

Competition: Bexley League

Result: 3-1 (WIN)

Well we knew this would be a hard game having played Riefield in a friendly during pre season. But we couldnt have expected to have to battle with fleeting rain as well. With both teams agreeing that the puddles on the pitch would be as bad for each, we decided to press ahead. After 10 mins however that decision perhaps seemed a bad one, as Joe Vincent our goaly came out extremely braving to stop a goal and got injured in the process. We drafted in our No 2 goaly Liam Simkins who made a few good saves throughout the game. 


Despite the weather, we took a 2 nil lead at half time. A great goal from Michael and an assist from his corner as Ryan tapped in at the back post. Reifield came out strong in the second half as we struggled to get up to speed again. And so after some sustained pressure they got their deserved goal. We didnt let our heads drop, and instead found a yard more pace as we closed down the midfield a little better to apply some better pressure in the last third. A wonder strike from Ryan sealed the third goal and 3 points.


We returned home very wet, but with 4 wins from 5, we have made an exceptionally good start. We have great strength in the squad now, and are getting better every week.


Date: 6th October 2013
Home: Fleetdown Vs Russellers
Competition: Bexley League
Result: 5-1 (WIN)

This were perhaps an early tipping point in the season. Michael Beneraon was on the scoresheet once again and played fantastically well. As did our other newcomer Ryan, who has settled straight in to the team. But make no mistake, this win was about individual skill and team endurance and passing. We played as good a football as Tom and I have witnessed since Managing the team. The flow and speed of the passing was brilliant. We closed down and broke quickly and effectively. 

Date: 29th September 2013

Home: Russellers Vs Gravesend U18
Ground: Gravesend
Competition: Bexley League
Result: 0-4 (LOSS)

Playing a team a year above was never going to be easy. But above all else I wanted the players to start playing better football with the ball on the ground. They didnt disapoint and the first half was a very well matched contest, but a but of a freak cross come shot hit the bar after a stop from our keeper Joe, but they were quicker to react. Having only had 11 men at the start of the game, our day got worse at half time when Will picked up an injury. 10 men and within 10 mins we were 2 nil down. 


I took the decision to gamble and we moved to three at the back, whilst it did provide us  with a few more attacking options it also left us exposed at the back - a further two goals and game over. It was a day to dust ourselves down and go again next week. There was many positives from the result, especially the way we played and retained the ball in the first half - also some fine saves from Joe Vincent and with Joe Sarcone have a point blank header saved well. Next week we welcome the returm of one old player Michael Benaron and a new player Ryan. With an enviable choice of chosing one more player from 3 who wish to join, we have a lot of additional flare and skill to add to our armery over the next couple of weeks - and I feel highly optimistic of what is to come.

Date: 22nd September 2013
Home: Russellers Vs North Kent Aces
Ground: Gravesend
Competition: Bexley League
Result: 3-6 (WIN)

Still yet to find our flowing football, today we had to carve out a result which was a little closer than the score-line suggests. Liam Simkins was on hand to score a well deserved hatrick, but with well earned goals from Jack Wells, Will Ling and a first goal for Sammy Clifton on his return to the team. We had to play 25 mins of the second half with ten men (due to Premier League games to watch!), so it makes it an all the more satisfying result.

Date: 15th September 2013

Home: Russellers FC Vs North Kent Aces
Ground: Crofton Albion Sports Ground, Weigall Road, Lee
Competition: Bexley League
Result: 5-2 (WIN)

In a game that will be remembered for all the wrong reasons as two Russellers FC players were assaulted by an opposition player. Despite this, the team dug deep and following the sending off, took full advantage of the extra man to have a brilliant win for the first game of the season.