SSFA AYL 13 – MATCH REPORT
Manly sent out an emphatic message to their Association Youth League rivals as they dismantled fellow competition heavyweights SSFA in a sometimes chaotic tie at the Harrie Denning arena.
The high-pressing, energetic and ruthless Northern Beaches side out-enthused the home side for long periods and were, at times, on a different level to their opponents, in a reversal of the early season clash between the two.
Manly scored five times in the first half and three in the second as they converted most of their chances against the lacklustre Shire side, whose every error was ruthlessly punished.
Manly were not entirely infallible though with Shire’s forward players – led by Kacper and Bobby – regularly finding space and causing problems. Both netted, Bobby with a guided strike into the bottom left hand corner after strong work from Anton to make it 4-1 and offer a glimmer of hope and Kacper with a glorious top right hand corner finish following great inter-play with Bobby for the last goal of the game.
The fact that Shire completed the scoring in the 52nd minute and proceeded to apply some late pressure offers hope that the scoreline can be overturned at the business end of the season.
In a madcap opening spell, Shire were 3 down in 16 mins, however goalkeeper Charlie had shown his safe hands and could do nothing with two precise finishes high into the net and one rebound converted after the post was struck. Shire also created chances with Bobby almost putting Kacper through, a Harry pass resulting in a Lucas shot and Kacper heading into the Manly keeper’s hands with the score at 2-0.
Jared acted decisively to deny Manly a 4th as half time approached but Shire could do nothing to stem the tide as a corner was converted in the 31st minute. Bobby’s goal gave Shire hope but before the team could settle it was 5-1 following another second chance strike from a Charlie free-kick save and the whistle had blown to send the teams to the dressing rooms.
The whole Shire side showed greater defensive spirit in the second half, with the team galvanised by the efforts of Nathan, Jeremy, Max and Ryan. Kurt showed great reactions to snuff out a number of Manly through balls and, as per the first half, Shire could do nothing to stop accurate strikes in the 43rd, 46th and 48th minutes.
Kacper’s sublime strike was a worthy reminder of how good this Shire side can be and gives hope that the team can re-focus and re-double their efforts for the remainder of the season.
Towards full time Shire applied pressure and, with the introduction of Charlie into the midfield, produced some glimpses of the potent attacking force they can be. One delightful switch from Charlie to Ryan highlighted the space this team can create on the attack and the coach will note that this Manly team can be dismantled if they are not given time on the ball and multiple options when facing goal.
It is hoped that final score will add fuel to Shire’s fire as they seek to qualify for the business end of the season. There is no doubt this Shire side can perform and the watching spectators will look forward to them putting the whole package together and enacting revenge on their opposition.