Firstly, I apologise if I offended some parents for being overly negative today. It is nothing personal and just frustration on my part with things that I believe our team can do better. I was a model of restraint in the second half and the reason for not being in the coaching area with Geoff is that I am still full of cold and wanted to keep my distance. Now I have apologised and explained myself – on with the match report. Geoff started with Ben B in goal and Maya and Josh as the two centre backs with Seb at left back and Reece at right back. Euan, Byron and Scott were the 3 midfielders with Barney wide right, Noah wide left and Ben P (Capt) up front. It was a good formation and great to see both Byron and Barney making the starting 11.

The first half was full of errors and understandably due to the nature of the poor playing surface. But there were still too many players not warmed up properly, not focussed enough and too many still waiting for the ball to come to them and very little in the way of tackles. Purton played the better football and thankfully for us did not take their chances and were denied a goal by some outstanding goal keeping by Ben Brown. With the downward slope and wind behind us Ramsbury started to apply pressure and Ben P got very lucky with a looping shot that deflected in off a Purton player to make it 1-0. The game was relatively even with Purton dangerous on the break and the Ramsbury midfield and defence just off the pace and struggling to clear our lines quick enough and very nearly conceding. Reece and Seb were the most alert in attacking the ball and Euan and Byron slowly formed a useful partnership in the centre of midfield with Scott a constant threat with his long throw. A second goal eventually came after great work by Euan and Byron and the ball fell to Noah who flicked onto Ben P to score and make it 2-0. Geoff made some tactical changes as Fred came on for Barney and Sam on for Byron and Max for Scott and Oli for Seb. The game remained even but the fresh legs made a difference with Fred going so close (should have been a goal Fred!) after a superb ball by Euan and Ben P and Noah also just missing two clear cut opportunities! A third goal finally came after some strong battling by Max in midfield and a great ball by Reece to Fred who fired in a superb cross to Ben P to volley in a delightful third goal and bag his hat trick and see Ramsbury go in 3-0 at half time.

The Coaches gave the team clear instruction that the slope and wind was now against them and that possession football and winning the first and second balls would be key. Ramsbury upped their game and Maya’s timing in intercepting the ball was immaculate with Josh much more his usual self in clearing vital balls and Reece breaking up play and clearing out of defence very effectively. Noah, who had had a torrid first half, sparked into life and he and Ben P linked up superbly to get a fourth goal with Noah chipping in to make it 4-0. Alex came on at left back and was awesome making two or three great tackles and headers. However, I’m not sure about Maya and Alex as a defensive partnership as there was suddenly a lot more giggling and chatter in defence, but I could not fault their play!

Purton were still battling and went close on two occasions with Ben B having to keep his wits about him and making a number of good saves; the midfield was rotated again with Oli, Euan and Scott in the middle and Sam out right and again Geoff’s changes made a difference. Some great play again by Euan and Oli in midfield released Ben P to find Noah to run in and score his second to make it 5-0. The Purton Captain who had been a threat all game went off injured after a collision with Josh and this opened up the game in the middle of the park. Sam and Euan and Scott dominated play and forced a corner which was dispatched superbly by Euan for Noah and Scott to head into the Purton net to make it 6-0. Scott claimed it and Noah was only to happy for him to have it as 5 minutes later a magnificent run and pin point cross by Ben P to the back post saw Noah leap up and head in to make it 7-0 and deservedly get a second half hat trick! It was a great spell of football by Ramsbury who showed what they are capable of when playing quick attacking football. The match ended 7-0 with Ramsbury U15s, and more importantly Ben Brown, getting a first clean sheet of the season. Fred earned moment of the match for his outstanding cross (although he could have shared this as Ben P’s cross was equally good) and Reece was quite rightly plyer of the match for another outstanding overall performance. Well done to both players and indeed the whole team.

In sum, it was a scrappy display at times on a poor pitch, in poor conditions and against opposition who did not take their chances on the day. We missed a hatful of chances in the first half, which could have cost us, but ended up with an emphatic away win, a clean sheet and 3 well-earned points.

Next Friday is Futsal night in Swindon with no training on Saturday and if the rain is not too heavy this week a game at HOME v North Swindon Lions. Enjoy your Sunday.