Waltham FC sent an under 7s team made up of a mixture of Waltham Lions and Waltham Millers players for the 2014 Bottesford Town Tournament. At the u7 age group, it is still uncompetitive so the boys got to play 8-minute matches against all the other nine teams at our age group to take part.
Throughout the day, the Waltham team played some great football against some very good teams from well-established clubs from North Lincolnshire and from closer to home too.
The short matches and the very small goals meant there was a distinct lack of goals in all of the u7 matches on the day, but it is important that this doesn’t mask the fact that we played some lovely football. The goals were, at most, half the width and half the height of the goals we are used to using. Most of the games ended goalless but this didn’t get our boys down though. Rule number one at Waltham FC is that the players have fun, and they had a great time – during the games and playing about in the sunshine in-between games.
From a coaches point of view, I didn’t see any other team play any football as good as what I saw from our boys at times over the day. We faced some good individuals who had great dribbling ability and one team caused us problems by having their goalkeeper punt the ball from his goal area to ours every time he had the ball in his hands. We worked our openings well by playing some lovely passing moves across the pitch and by playing the ball our short from the goalkeeper whether it was a goal kick of rolling it out from the goalies hands. I felt that in every match we played, apart from one, we were the better team and played the game in the opposition half more than our own. I think the one game in which we were on the back foot for the most part was against Appleby Frodingham, who have a small skilful lad who is great on the ball, and a great big defender twice the size of most of our players.
We had loads of chances throughout the day but only managed to put one of them away. It was a great goal though. Thomas Healey broke forward with the ball and with Rhys Racey by his side, they had a 2v1 advantage with only one defender between them and the goal. Thomas showed great decision-making in not only choosing to pass to Rhys as he was in a better position, but also in the timing of his pass. He cleverly waited until the defender came right up to him before slotting the ball to Rhys alongside him. That took the defender out of the game and Rhys was one-on-one with the goalkeeper. He took it forward at an angle and then shot into the far corner of the net for a perfectly controlled finish.
Rhys played every position possible over the course of the day, including goalkeeper, and did well in each. As defender he covered well and wasn’t afraid to try a skill to turn out of trouble. And as a striker he showed the acceleration to burst forward and make a goalscoring chance for himself as he has done all year for Waltham Lions.
Thomas Healey not only set up the goal for Rhys, but was an absolute menace for opposition defences all day long. He created several more chances for team-mates by setting them up when he saw they were in good positions ahead of him. He attacked with real purpose and his strong, direct running was exciting to watch.
Ben Crolla gave some all-action displays like we’ve seen from him all season in the blue of the Waltham Lions. However Ben was slowed down later in the day with a niggling injury we think he initially suffered at the Keelby 5-a-side Tournament a couple of weeks ago. It was later found after a trip to the hospital that Ben has sprained his ankle and damaged the ligament. So we wish Ben well and hope he recovers in the next couple of weeks as he rests from playing football. Ben bravely carried on throughout the day before we could see something wasn’t right, so credit to Ben’s attitude in wanting to play. And as the picture below shows, he continues to improve his use of different parts of his feet.
Ethan Lowe was the goalkeeper for the day and played all but 2 of the games in goal. Ethan showed some great goalkeeping technique over the day in pushing shots away from danger, holding onto them when he could, and bravely diving on the ball when it was loose in his area. He also kept his concentration in the games where the ball was at the other end of the pitch for long periods, meaning when the opposition did attack against us, he was ready. Ethan can be proud of his record of only conceding 2 goals in the 7 matches he played in goal.
Ethan was often helped by Alfie Jackson, who played quite a few of the games as the defender. He played further forward too and is exciting to watch when he picks the ball up deep in our half and drives forward at pace with the ball. In defence, he was always alert to any danger, read the game better than you’d expect from a 7-year old, and showed great composure to take his time on the ball when he won it.
Declan Goodfellow also played in a variety of positions and showed spatial awareness as good as anyone we saw on the u7s pitches. Dec doesn’t follow the ball and recognises when to hang back in the space and wait. His obvious talent on the ball was shown with some of the close control he showed whilst dribbling. He also played a brilliant first time pass as the ball came to him under pressure, which put one of his team-mates through on goal but we were unable to find the net again.
Lucas Jex showed great determination in his runs forward with the ball as well as his usual confidence and composure in possession. Even when in defence, Lucas is calm and relaxed on the ball, often waiting for the player closing him down to make his move before he decides what to do. Lucas showed a good range of skills and hit some good shots after a few dazzling runs but unfortunately found either the side netting or opposition goalkeepers in good form.
All in all, the Waltham FC boys can be proud of their performances against some very good teams. Had the games gone on for a little bit longer or the goals been of our normal size, we’re confident we would’ve got the goals and some scores to reflect our level of performance. And that is especially impressive given that this was the first time that these 7 boys had played together as one team. Some of the football had me just standing back and applauding it was so good to watch. And we did it with the boys making their own decisions on the pitch, not being “PlayStation” controlled through the game by a coach telling them when to pass, shoot, run, kick, breathe and sneeze as many other teams coaches sadly do.
Thanks to Jamie Crolla for taking some great photographs too.
And we look forward to taking two teams again to the Louth Town and North Somercotes 5-a-side festivals in July.