Aylsham U12s Reach Kappa Cup Final After Thrilling Encounter
Match Report 22.04.18
Aylsham FC U12 v Holt United FC U12, Youngs Park
A bright and sunny morning and an expectant crowd at Youngs Park as Aylsham U12s hosted Holt United U12s in a mouthwatering Kappa Cup semi-final this morning (Sunday 22nd April).
Holt kicked off and created the first chance of the game after a cross from the right was met by the visiting forward who struck the ball just over. The opening exchanges were cagey with both teams sizing each other up but in the 4th minute Aylsham drew first blood. Freddy cleared a Holt corner with Josh turning the loose ball back into his path. Freddy drove forward and played a perfect through-ball setting Mitchy accelerating away from the last defender and advancing into the box before laying the ball across for Alfie to apply the simplest of tap-ins to give the home side the lead.
Straight from the restart Aylsham won back possession with Alfie robbing a defender before beating two men and spotting Jaiden’s run, finding him with a slide-rule pass. Jaiden still had work to do but showed excellent strength to hold off his defender before calmly slotting past the keeper to double the home side’s advantage.
In the 10th minute Aylsham almost scored again after a long clearance from Loz deceived a Holt defender and Mitchy went sprinting down the left. His low cross from the by-line fell to Jaiden and he struck it first-time but the keeper pulled off a fantastic stop from close range. A minute later Holt created a good opportunity following a neat through-ball but Loz was equal to it, diving down to his right to save the shot well.
The game was being played at a frenetic pace with both sides looking to move the ball quickly. Aylsham fashioned a chance after Alfie forced a mistake to pick out Jude but his shot from the edge of the area went just wide with the Holt keeper scrambling across his goal. In the 16th minute the visitors were awarded a free-kick in a dangerous position but the deep cross was headed wide. Moments later Ollie had to at his best to prevent a ball reaching the Holt striker as the visitors looked to reduce the arrears. Ollie was called into action again shortly after and saved his team as the ball looked to fall just right for a Holt player but he managed to get to the ball first to clear the danger.
It was real end to end stuff as the game entered the 21st minute with Aylsham back on the attack again, Alfie’s long throw was met by Mitchy but he glanced his header just wide. Ollie took a knock and was replaced by Denver at the back. Two minutes later Holt were awarded a penalty after a foul in the box and while Loz went the right way and got a hand to the ball he was unable to prevent it from going in. Within a minute it was all square after a Holt free kick from just inside the Aylsham half was launched into the box and a visiting player got the finest of touches to guide the ball past Loz for 2-2. The last six minutes of the half were very even and the whistle blew to give everyone a breather after an exciting half of football with nothing between the teams at the break.
Aylsham kicked off the second period with Charlie coming on for Jaiden on the right. It was from a good turn and run from Charlie which almost saw Aylsham retake the lead. While his low cross was cleared, the ball rebounded up in the air to Josh, well outside the area, who struck it beautifully but the keeper acrobatically tipped it onto the bar and over. From Mitchy’s corner Denver found himself in space but directed his powerful header just too high. In the 36th minute Jack came on for Mitchy on the left and with his first touch won a header that looked to set Alfie away but he was just beaten to it by a Holt defender.
Holt were looking to play directly and getting the ball forward quickly with Aylsham’s back line holding strong as the game ebbed and flowed. In the 41st minute a quick throw from Jack down the left picked out Jude who hit the ball first time on the bounce which beat the keeper but cannoned back off the cross bar for the second time in the half.
In the 49th minute Alfie won a free-kick in the centre circle and played a quick ball forward that Jude flicked on. Charlie had made a great run and a perfect first touch sent him past his marker but he saw his low shot well saved by the keeper at his near post. A minute later the Holt keeper was called into action again, this time beating away a vicious strike from Alfie after a wonderful through-ball by Josh.
Both teams were cancelling each other out as the battle continued, each side finding it difficult to keep hold of the ball as the pace intensified. As the game entered the 56th minute Holt created an opportunity after a nice piece of play down the left but the powerful shot flew wide of the far post. Ollie came back on for Josh with Freddy moving forward as both sides looked for a late winner. It was Holt who almost stole it at the end after forcing a corner in the last seconds of the game. The ball was floated across and it looked to be creeping in but Loz jumped and at full stretch brilliantly pushed it onto the bar. From the headed rebound Ollie blocked on the line with Jude completing the clearance as the whistle blew with no further additions to the score so extra time was needed.
Holt kicked off the first period with Aylsham making two substitutions: Jaiden returning for Denver and Mitchy replacing Charlie with Jack switching flanks. Jaiden took a throw-in on the right to find Jude in the midfield who picked out Jack on the right. Jack volleyed it first-time into space for Freddy to run onto and he sprinted past a Holt defender on his way into the box but flashed his shot inches wide.
Four minutes into the half Aylsham went close after a long throw from Mitchy caused panic in the Holt defence but Alfie just couldn’t quite get a clean connection on the ball which dropped just wide. Another quick throw from Mitchy gave Alfie another sight of goal but his snapshot flashed past the post following a slight deflection. Mitchy took the corner and while it evaded everyone in the box Alfie retrieved the ball and put in a beautiful cross that Jude volleyed just wide.
Aylsham continued to be dangerous from wide areas and won a free-kick on the left following a slick move involving Adam and Jude with Adam’s shot being blocked by a Holt player’s hand. Adam shaped to shoot but played a neat ball into Mitchy’s path but his first-time shot was parried away by the visiting keeper. The resultant corner led to another half chance for Adam at the back post but the ball was turned behind just before he could get his shot away.
With two minutes until half-time in extra-time Aylsham kept applying the pressure, winning another corner from which they regained the lead. This time Freddy sent in an outswinging centre and Jude made a great run to meet the ball with his head finding the back of the net to give the home side a 3-2 advantage. The half came to an end with Aylsham having the better chances during the first period of extra-time.
Aylsham kicked off the second period of extra-time with Charlie returning for Jack down the right and Jaiden replacing Adam at the back. Four minutes into the half a huge kick from the Holt keeper almost brought the equaliser after catching everyone out but fortunately for the home side the ball rebounded back off the post with Ollie completing the clearance. It was a really frantic and open game as Aylsham created a chance after quick feet from Jude on the edge of the area gave him space to pick out Freddy but the Holt keeper was equal to his shot, gathering the ball at the second attempt.
With three minutes remaining, Jack came on up front for Alfie and Aylsham had another sight of goal after a quick throw from Freddy looked to have run away from Josh but he pressed well to win the ball back, seeing his shot from the edge of the area saved well. A long clearance from Loz was misjudged by a Holt defender and Freddy was onto it in a flash sprinting into the box and skilfully turning inside his defender but was eventually crowded out by three Holt players, winning his side a corner to keep the pressure on.
Adam came back on for Jaiden as the game approached its climax and immediately put in a strong sliding tackle to halt a promising move by the visitors. With two minutes remaining an Aylsham move broke down and Holt broke quickly with plenty of players up in support but Mitchy showed a great turn of pace to sprint across and clear the danger.
Holt were committing players forward in search of a goal and a quick break by Aylsham with Jude finding Jack in space put the hosts back on the front foot. Jack looked up and spotted Freddy’s run and played it through neatly but the keeper just nicked it off Freddy’s toes as he looked to put the result beyond doubt. Aylsham came close again after Josh recovered a deep cross from Charlie, beating two players on his way to the by-line lifting it back into the danger area. Jack was first to it, taking a great first touch before firing in a powerful low shot that the keeper saved brilliantly, diving to his left.
Holt finished the game on the attack but the whistle blew to signal the end of a pulsating game which really could have gone either way. A match full of incident with quality players on show in a fantastic advert for youth football, both sides giving it absolutely everything. Aylsham pleased to make it through to the Kappa Cup Final after a 3-2 victory, remaining on course in their quest for a league and cup double.