Downturn In Fortunes…

 

Having played four games since the last post, we unfortunately have lost all of them, giving a slightly different perspective on the season so far.

After beating Witney Vikings, our next league game was away at Freeland and despite taking an early lead through Joe’s penalty, Freeland scored twice late on in the first half to turn round with their noses in front. We conceded a third early in the second half and despite rallying well and playing some of our best football we couldn’t find a way back into the game and Freeland added a fourth late on to seal the win.

We had a desperately unlucky 1-0 defeat at Hook Norton where, despite dominating the second half in particular we could not find that little bit of composure (or luck) in front of goal to get the equaliser we deserved.

The first league game of 2019 saw us host Kingston Colts and we were hampered by the absence of AJ in goal and Max’s injury meaning Oli once again went between the sticks and once again made some fabulous saves. Kingston took the lead with a accurately placed long shot midway through the first half whilst at the other end Archie Hawley’s close range header was well saved by the Kingston keeper. The game turned early in the second half when (another) inexplicable penalty decision went against us and the Kingston striker was fortunate to see the resulting spot kick go in off the post. We continued to play well and work hard, but again found the well marshalled Kingston defence difficult to break down. An excellent finish (again in off the post) saw Kingston go 3-0 up and they added a fourth with virtually the last kick of the game to record a somewhat flattering 4-0 win.

In the County cup quarter final we travelled to Bardwell to play on their 3G pitch. Against a good team it was hard for us to get used to the different surface that seemed to slow short passes up while firmer balls zipped off the surface and seemed to gain speed! We held our own for 20 minutes before Bardwell scored through a well worked goal and they added a second just before halftime. We continued to work hard and every player gave their all, but against a big, strong side we conceded three more second half goals. Late on Archie Hawley’s persistence was rewarded as he battled his way through to slot past the keeper for a consolation goal.

Despite the results, the team performances have continued to be good and a combination of really good finishing from our opponents, some bad luck and a couple of key decisions going against us has meant we have lost games that on another day we would have drawn or won. The effort and application from all the players has still been first class so hopefully the results will start to match the performances in the second half of the season.

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Six Games In… A Solid Start

We have made a good start to the season, with a much improved level of consistency compared to last season. The level of effort and determination has been extremely good in every single game and the team ethic has been excellent.

We made an excellent start in the opening league game, going 1-0 up against Banbury Irish almost straight from kick off. Joe helped himself to a well taken hat-trick and there was a fine strike from Max and a late goal from George to put a slight gloss on a 5-1 victory. The game was also notable for a very impressive debut from Luke Thompson and a man of the match performance from Charlie Maudsley on the right side of a back three.

Our first home game was against Hook Norton who we always seem to struggle against. The same was true on this occasion as an unfortunate penalty and a mix-up in defence gifted them two goals in the first half. We replied with an excellently worked combination from Joe and Fred which saw the latter open his account for the season. An equaliser from Joe in the second half looked to be enough to secure a draw before a very late corner was headed home for Hooky to take all three points.

We played extremely well against early league pace setters Freeland, with an excellent long-range free kick from Joe and a typical poacher’s goal from Archie Hawley giving us a 2-0 half-time lead. Soon after the restart a fabulous first time volley reduced the arrears and then shortly after another well worked move gave Freeland an equaliser. Unfortunately an excellent end to end game was marred by a very erratic refereeing performance, and very late on a penalty was awarded against us, which left us with a feeling of deja vu as we lost 3-2 for the second week running. With AJ not allowed on the pitch to play, we were indebted to an excellent performance in goal from Joe and then Oli, and we were very unfortunate to not get the result our performance deserved.

A trip to Summertown Stars Spartans in the first round of the County Cup saw our fortunes reverse as this time we came out on top 3-2. It was another very good performance with two goals from Joe, the second the result of a brilliant one touch passing move involving George, Fred and Joe, and a second of the season for Fred. Again without AJ in goal, Oli once again stepped up to help the team out with a fine showing between the posts.

We had our second league win of the season against Witney Vikings. Rotating all the players throughout made us a little disjointed and we were unlucky as George hit the post with an excellent strike and then Archie H had a goal ruled out for offside. Joe opened the scoring with a penalty and Archie Hawley followed it in quick succession with a fabulous first time strike from the corner of the area into the top corner. Vikings never gave up and pulled a goal back with a scrappy finish late in the first half. We dominated the second half but couldn’t find the elusive third goal until the last moments of the match when a poor clearance from defence was controlled by Fred and despatched expertly into the bottom corner.

The second round of the County Cup gave us a tough away fixture at Crowmarsh (who beat us 6-0 in the quarter final last year). Despite being without Luke Kelly, an exceptional team performance throughout saw us eventually prevail in a really competitive game. AJ was outstanding in goal making a number of top quality saves whilst Oli, Jake, Sonny and Charlie defended wonderfully – making tackles and interceptions and never once losing concentration, while our CDM Luke Thompson was his usual calm, intelligent self on the ball, winning and keeping possession for us countless times in the game. Gradually Fred and George got hold of the game in central midfield, and started creating lots of opportunities for us in the second half while Archie P and Jamie worked tirelessly on the wings constantly putting their full backs under pressure. Up front Joe, Archie H and Max chased every ball and eventually a fine left foot finish high into the net from Joe gave us the lead early in the second half. We weathered a storm from Crowmarsh and then got back on top, and late on a cross from Joe almost created a goal for Archie Hawley who saw his shot well saved by the excellent Crowmarsh keeper, he picked up the rebound and played a lovely cut back to Fred just inside the area who once again found the bottom corner (the opposite one to the week before) to secure a 2-0 win with almost the last kick of the game.

We wait to see who we will play in the quarter final, while we will play the winner of the Chesterton v Launton game in the quarter final of the Knockout Cup (having had a bye in round one). Four wins and two defeats, both to very late goals, is a very encouraging start. If we can keep the level of performance as high as it has been so far we will have a good, and enjoyable season.

2018-19 Season Update

Last year we used the FA Full-time website for the majority of Charlbury Town U14 results and stats, but this season I am intending / hoping to update this site much more regularly with information and news.

The first things to say are we will be carrying on next season in the U15 A League, which apparently will be split into an Autumn and a Spring league this coming season. The other sides in the A League are Banbury Irish (promoted from the B league), Freeland (promoted from the B league), Garden City, Hook Norton, Kingston Colts, and Witney Vikings. Both Bampton and Banbury Utd Spencer have joined the Oxford Mail league while Chesterton have returned to the B League (which is also seven teams in size).

I am also pleased to say that Luke Thompson (who guested at a couple of six-a-side tournaments this summer) will be joining Charlbury for the coming season. Able to play in defence and midfield, he will be a big asset to the team I’m sure and hopefully we will get a couple more new signings before the season starts in September.

More details about the new season to follow as I get them!

Tour Of Holland & Germany (Day 2)

An eventful second day began with Joe suffering a strange arm injury that kept him up during the night and was so serious he was even unable to go to the pool in the morning. After the success of the preparations the previous day the all the boys decided to replicate the approach in the pool, on trampolines, cycling and even the high ropes. It was, after all, the Germans we would be playing.

The U13s scored their first (and last) victory of the day by arriving early for the bus and reclaiming the back from the U10 interlopers of the previous day. With normal service resumed we crossed the border and arrived at the impressive SV Siegfried Materborn ground in the town of Kleve for an earlier kick off with the sun once again blazing high overhead. Our hosts were very welcoming and the games were being played simultaneously on adjacent pitches.

It was clear from the off that we were playing quality opponents again, but like yesterday we started brightly ourselves with some crisp passing and good attacking intent. The German side were also very comfortable on the ball with some sharp interplay and incisive passing of their own, but our back four of Charlie, George Dawson, Oli and Theo were extremely resilient and made some great tackles. Isaac and AJ were always looking to play threatening through balls to Archie and Fred who were keeping the Materborn defence occupied and some good work down the right saw us create the first clear cut chance when Fred broke free and his shot was just the wrong side of the post. We conceded the only goal of the first period when Joe’s throw was intercepted and punished by a tremendous long range shot into the roof of the net from the Materborn central midfielder.

Charlbury come close from Isaac’s corner

With Joe’s injury meaning he was unable to continue in goal, AJ took the gloves for the second period while the Materborn team changed their entire eleven bringing on their ‘A’ team, most of whom made the spectators look small, many of whom were fourteen and some of whom needed a damn good shave. To the boys credit we worked extremely hard to limit their chances in a 25 minute period reminiscent of an attack versus defence training session. Sadly we were the defence. They scored twice in the period, the first an exquisite finish from the edge of the box and the second a scramble that AJ, George and Theo combined could not quite prevent crossing the line. Otherwise AJ made a couple of very fine saves and there were some great blocks and tackles from both Georges, Theo, Oli and Archie Parker. Up front Harri and Archie chased everything and once or twice almost broke through to create a chance at the other end of the pitch.

For the final period the entire Materborn team swapped again, but the game was marred by a very unfortunate and serious injury to a Materborn player early on. An innocuous coming together with Archie Hawley caused him to fall awkwardly and suffer a very nasty broken forearm. For a short period, while we waited for the ambulance to arrive, the game continued during which Charlie showed himself to be a revelation at centre back and Materborn then scored a very good individual goal. We abandoned the game during some sustained Charlbury pressure, when the emergency services arrived on to the pitch.

We came off to discover the U10s had lost too, but had scored their first goal thanks to Toby Ball’s free kick, only to have his mother (in the way that parents do) tell him that actually it was an own goal by their keeper…football can be a cruel game sometimes.

The hospitality continued after the game with rounds of hot dogs and drinks for the boys before the short return trip to Center Parcs with just enough time for, oh, a dip in the pool.

Tour of Holland & Germany (Day 1)

The U13s watch the U10s displaying the Dunkirk spirit…

Having arrived on Monday evening, the Under 13s and Under 10s tour of Holland and Germany began in earnest yesterday with matches against SV Blerick. Being at Center-Parcs, the boys obviously took their responsibilities seriously and prepared as professionally as possible with three to four hours in the pool riding the rapids, tennis, adventure golf and various other activities.

Looking the part in their tour t-shirts we arrived in good time. Despite the evening kick off, the sun was still high in the sky and it was very warm so the boys all played football for another 45 minutes to keep energy levels at their optimum for the match.

It is fair to say the U10s had a tough game against an exceptional SV Blerick side (who it turns out have a catchment area the equivalent size to Blackburn), but despite this the boys worked exceptionally hard throughout, never once gave up and kept trying to play good football. They did create a few chances that they just couldn’t finish off whilst Kerr and Freddie who shared the goalkeeping duties made some outstanding saves.

The U13s played three 20 minute periods also against a very good side and were outstanding for the first one, taking the lead when Archie Hawley was bundled over in the box and our uber (even over) confident keeper Joe scored low in the corner from the resulting spot kick. Every player worked their socks off for the team with Theo, Oli and George Dawson making some excellent tackles at the back supported by George’s tireless running. When they did break through Joe made some fine saves and we always looked dangerous going forward with Isaac and AJ working well together in the centre of midfield and playing some excellent through balls for Fred and Archie or spreading the ball wide where both Charlie and Harri had the beating of their defenders. We created a couple more excellent chances that their goalkeeper was equal too and deserved our lead after the first period.

As second period was as bad as the first was good as we lost Oli to illness and Archie Parker came on. The tactically brilliant coach matched him up against their 5ft 10″, 11 stone winger and they also brought on their star player who had turned down the chance to sign for three different professional teams. He did make a difference and they equalised when Joe was forced to bring down their striker after he had gone round him and had an open goal to score in – the penalty was dispatched with the minimum of fuss. We looked pretty exhausted by now (can’t think why) and they added three more very quick goals in a five minute horror show where our tactic of not jumping for the ball at corners in the hope the attacking team wouldn’t bother either was once again cruelly exposed as their striker buried a free header from four yards out. Two more goals before the period was up meant we faced a proverbial mountain in the last period.

However, despite Theo having to come off with shin splints and Oli being forced into goal we showed fabulous team spirit and resolve to match them again in the final period. We scored first with a slightly fortuitous own goal as their keeper air kicked a back pass and it rolled in but we were back to playing football and playing as a team. Harri was causing problems down the left and Fred and Archie continued to close down and make life uncomfortable for their defenders and Isaac and AJ were back on top in midfield. At the back we switched to a four with Charlie swapping with Archie (much to their giant winger’s disgust) and Joe joining George D in the middle. We looked far more solid and it took an excellently worked goal from them with a few minutes left to draw level in the period before an unfortunate mix-up of our own gifted them a final goal with a minute or so to play.

Overall a great performance and effort for 40 of the 60 minutes and some really good football played against a very skilful and powerful team.

A few bowls of chips later and some question marks over the pre-match preparation for the next day answered (same again everyone…) we were all ready for our trip into Germany on Wednesday!

Charlbury Retain Trophy at Chesterton Six-a-Side

A superb set of performances and results from Charlbury Town Black saw us retain the Chesterton six-a-side trophy today.

Following Aidan’s injury yesterday they were down to a bare six of Jake, George, Charlie, AJ, Harri and Max and started with two 0-0 draws against Ducklington and Banbury Utd. An excellent match against a very strong Ardley team finished 1-1 (the only goal either team would concede in the tournament) and then two good 2-0 wins against Grendon Rangers and Summertown Flares saw Charlbury qualify second in the group on goal difference.

In the other group Charlbury Reds won three, drew one and lost one of their group games, but the defeat to Launton meant they finished third by a point and didn’t quite make it through.

The semi-final against Bicester Town Colts saw Charlbury have most of the play without managing to force a goal and it was into the dreaded penalty shootout. AJ saved the first Bicester penalty and Charlie scored for Charlbury to give us the advantage. Bicester scored their second and George scored for us. AJ saved the third Bicester penalty and we were into the final.

The final against Ardley was a very even game with both teams intent on attacking and the game flowing from end to end. Ardley hit the post and had a couple of goalmouth scrambles, while at the other end a powerful AJ header flew inches wide and Harri and Max were crowded out by some desperate Ardley defending. In the end it was 0-0 and back to penalties. This time Charlbury went first and the opening four penalties were scored with Charlie and George on the mark again for us. AJ then stepped home to score and then the final Ardley penalty was saved with the help of the post and Charlbury were winners again.

Well played to all the boys – let’s hope we can repeat the feat at our own tournament on the 21st.

Charlbury Get Back On Track

Charlbury Town 6-2 Ducklington

After the disappointment of the cup defeat to Middleton Cheney, Charlbury got back on track in the League with a good win over a spirited Ducklington team.

In the first half a couple of well taken goals from Fred, the first a smart left foot finish and the second a header from Luke’s excellent corner, sandwiched an exquisite finish from Harri who somehow lobbed the keeper from an acute angle with a lovely first time finish. The half was notable for some good interplay and passing and some very solid defending that meant Joe was mostly mopping up as a sweeper-keeper!

The second half saw us double our tally as Charlie Maudsley scored his debut goals for the team with a couple of very well taken finishes from the right hand side of the penalty area and Archie Hawley made the most of a fine through ball to race in on goal and calmly place the ball past the keeper into the corner of the net. Ducklington never gave up trying to play football and scored a couple of late consolation goals on the counter attack as we pushed up in search of more goals ourselves.

Well played to all the boys.

Men of the Match: George & Charlie

Charlbury Start The New Year With A Bang

Launton 0-6 Charlbury Town

An excellent team performance full of good passing, good movement and hard work meant we delivered another excellent result with an ultimately comfortable 6-0 win over a very hard working and determined Launton side.

A fabulous piece of individual skill from AJ saw him jink past two Launton players and play a lovely through ball to Max who adroitly rounded the keeper to slot home and open the scoring. Fred doubled the lead from a great cross from Luke and Max made it 3-0 at half-time with a close range finish from Harri’s excellent cross. The second half saw more of the same with Harri managing to get past three defenders in the box and cross for Sonny to score his first goal of the season before another smart header from Fred gave Luke another assist and a fifth goal for Charlbury. Jamie rounded off the scoring with a fine left footed finish into the top corner and we made, and missed, a host more chances mainly thanks to some outstanding goalkeeping.

Just as satisfying was the clean sheet with Aidan very commanding in goal and Joe, Jake, Theo, Oli and Sonny all defending really calmly and using the ball exceptionally well when playing out of defence. Felix and George both excelled as CDMs in front of the back three and AJ and Luke put in classy central midfield performances. On the flanks Harri, Jamie, Sonny and Joe caused untold problems and created lots of chances for Max, Fred and Archie – all of whom could have had hat-tricks without such an inspired keeper to beat.

Well played to everyone. Man of the Match: AJ

Charlbury Through In County Cup

CROW MARSH YOUTH ORIENT 0-8 CHARLBURY TOWN

A long trip out to Crowmarsh was worth the effort as an excellent team performance saw Charlbury ease through in the third round of the County Cup.

As with Ducklington we started quickly with Max’s excellent finish from the edge of the box putting us one up inside the first ninety seconds. Crowmarsh responded well and came into the game for a period with Jake, Oli and Theo working hard to protect Joe including some great goal saving tackles from all three. At the other Luke’s corners and free kicks were causing havoc in the Crowmarsh area and we scored twice in quick succession first with Archie and then a powerful header from AJ to give us a 3-0 half time lead.

Again we started the second half quickly and Aidan powered through to shoot straight at the keeper who parried it back to him, Aidan shot again and a defender diverted it on to the bar only for Fred to collect and strike home the rebound and we added a fifth soon after with a cool finish from AJ. Only profligate finishing and excellent goalkeeping stopped us adding plenty more to the total although Crowmarsh never gave up and had one fine free kick that struck the base of the post. Jamie and George were constant threats down the flanks with Felix, Aidan and Luke in control in the centre of midfield. Fred added a sixth and then unselfishly squared for Archie to make it 7-0 before AJ rounded things off with another cool side footed finish for his hat-trick goal.

Well played to all the boys – some excellent football and movement throughout. Men of the match: AJ, Archie and for five assists, Luke!

Ducklington 1-3 Charlbury

Despite being without Aidan and Luke and having almost half the team recovering from sleepovers, a committed and at times very good performance from Charlbury saw them run out 3-1 winners over a strong and determined Ducklington team.

We made the best possible start when from kick off the ball was worked from AJ to Jamie and down the right to Max who beat his man and crossed for Fred to expertly control and strike past the helpless goalkeeper – 1-0 up in less than 20 seconds – possibly the fastest goal we have ever scored.

We dominated for the next ten minutes or so without creating any more clear cut chances, before Ducklington started to come into the game a bit more. However we were caught cold after 25 minutes when a break down our right saw their striker ride a couple of tackles and shoot and the ball unfortunately deflected off Oli’s outstretched boot and past a wrong-footed Joe.

Shortly afterwards another good move saw Fred played in on goal but his first touch just took the ball away from him and the goalkeeper was able to make a good save.

Ducklington started the better in the second half without creating any clear cut chances although their were a couple of goalmouth scrambles, whilst at the other end Archie was played through and saw his shot bobble agonisingly wide of the post. With just over 15 minutes remaining a fine through ball found Fred who finished clinically past the keeper and in off the post to restore our lead. A few minutes later another excellent pass found Fred through on goal again and despite a fine diving effort from the keeper, his strike had just enough power to cross the line and put us 3-1 up.

There was time for Ducklington to make one clear chance, the shot screwing narrowly wide, but overall an excellent performance with Sonny outstanding in the centre of defence, excellently protected by George in the defensive midfield role. There was some top class combination play down the right from Theo, Jamie and Max, and a dominant performance in the centre of the park from AJ whilst Fred scored a hat-trick of coolly taken finishes.

Well played everyone – especially in the circumstances…