Obviously both results in these ‘Muratti’ games did not go as we’d have hoped.
Our U16’s went down 3-0 at the Corbet Field to a disciplined and efficient Jersey side. Although we arguably had some of the best players out on the pitch, Jersey did well to defend key areas and hit us with 2 sucker punch goals towards the end of the first half after our boys had made a bright start.
A deflected free kick made it 1-0 soon after we had had a great chance to take the lead. This was followed up with another well taken goal but their tricky no.9.
Despite having the wind in the second half, we struggled to break Jersey down and they effectively sealed the tie with a headed goal early in the second period.
I still don’t believe that it was a 3-0 game, but Jersey did perform slightly better on the day and deserved the win. The fantastic opportunity to be out there competing against Jersey again was not lost on the group, and we will all take the positives we can from this learning opportunity.
The Star Trophy result was equally disappointing; however the boys did put up a fantastic fight in this match. It was almost a case of ‘déjà vu’ in the first half. A competitive and even first 20 minutes led to a great opportunity for us to take the lead. As per the previous week, this chance wasn’t taken, and Jersey rebounded with a quick brace of goals.
At this stage our coaching team was incredibly proud and impressed with the response of our boys. They fought back hard and should have gone in at the break 2-1 down, but the ball just wouldn’t quite find the net. The next goal was key and a counter attack led to Jersey’s third when we were pushing to get back in the game towards the end.
Each and every player was a credit to their school’s, the Academy and their island and I honestly believe that there is a lot to be learnt from defeat in these very difficult and challenging ‘cup final’ type matches.
When reflecting on these groups at the end of the season, it is important to not focus solely on one result, and instead look at the positives and shared learning gained from 30 hours of training time. Hopefully the connections made with coaches and other talented players will have helped to improve everyone as an individual, and as a footballer.