TWO GOAL THEO SENDS THE ROLLING STONES HOME EMPTY HANDED
By Mr Cox
“Two goal Theo” sends The Taunton Academy into dreamland as they overcome The Stonehenge School 4-2 which in turn catapults the Somerset school into the last 16 of the English Schools U15s competition.
Lining up 3-5-2, the academy’s casualty this week was Cory, who suffered an ankle injury during the closing stages of last week’s battle. The only changes being Calum at CB and Keanan at LWB. Still buoyed by their heroics in the previous week against title contenders LeAF Studio, we entered the round of 32 with a cocktail of steely determination and swagger in their step.
Fuelled by carbohydrates and a good night’s sleep (other than a couple who were too nervous to get their seven hours), The Taunton Academy boys started on the front foot in testing conditions with the support of their peers behind them who looked on from the main grandstand (the court). Ten minutes in and chances were few and far between though with very little goalmouth action.
Up step Liam. Amongst a densely populated final third, he received the ball to feet, following some good work from Tyler, before taking on his opposite number and beating him in a foot race before finding himself one on one with the Stonehenge GK. Driving at goal from a tight angle, Liam managed to manoeuvre the ball onto his favoured left foot before scooping it above the outstretched keeper and into the far corner of the goal. 1-0 to us.
The game ebbed and flowed for the following fifteen minutes in what became a cagey affair where neither team managed to get a stranglehold of the game. A clear tactic of The Stonehenge School was causing the back three (Cullen, Calum and Kye) continued trouble as the opposing GK opted for a long ball down the heart of the home team’s defence time and time again. Kicks from the GK’s hands gained so much height, it beggars belief that the ball failed to come down covered in snow.
Eventually this tactic harboured some success as a flick on found the opposing number 9 in space who had time to bring the ball down and slot the ball past Bradley into the corner of the home net. The opposition erupt into celebration as the home players heads drop and the fans fall silent all within a split second. Plot twist. The linesman’s flag is up. Offside called. No goal. Wake up call received! The Taunton Academy soldier onto half time with their clean sheet intact.
Half time: The Taunton Academy 1-0 The Stonehenge School.
All was well at half time with a few tactical messages passed onto the team as the players caught their breath and took the information onboard.
Like a greyhound out of the traps, The Taunton Academy hit the ground running in the second half and had their opposition in a chokehold via their intricate passing and firm but fair challenges. Our midfield three, at this point of Phil, Ed and Ryan, worked tirelessly in trying to conjure up some magic to create a second goal. It wasn’t long until the three combined with a neat exchange before the ball found its way out to the left wing where we decided to pose a different question to The Stonehenge School’s defence through a lofted cross. The question went unanswered as the ball fell kindly to the feet of “two goal Theo” who pounced to prod the ball into the net. 2-0 to us!
Throughout the game our wing backs chopped and changed between Lochlan, Keanan, Harry and Jesus with all four boys working tirelessly, leaving nothing in the changing rooms as they say. It was from our Spanish magician, Jesus, who put the sword to our opposition. Jesus picked the ball up just inside the opposition half before jinking his way past the left back before finding himself at the byline. With composure and precision, Jesus lifted his head to pick out the unmarked “two goal Theo” who was eagerly waiting on the edge of the box. Using the weight of the pass, Theo clipped the ball with the instep of his right foot, guiding the ball over the GK into the top left corner of goal as the opposition looked on in desperation. 3-0 to us with fifteen minutes to go.
The closing quarter of the game was a scrappy affair as The Taunton Academy looked to see the game out. Tempers and emotions were running high as The Stonehenge School were reduced to ten men before Kye stepped up to convert the penalty kick. 4-0 to us with five minutes remaining. A couple of momentary lapses in concentration, with the fate of the match already decided, allowed the opposition to score two consolation goals deep into stoppage time.
The full time whistle goes and The Taunton Academy players are elated but win with sportsmanship as they shake hands with their hard working opponents.
Final score: The Taunton Academy 4-2 The Stonehenge School.
I am immensely proud of these students for a host of reasons but none more so than the way in which they conduct themselves and represent our academy during matches regardless of the situation. These boys know how to win and lose well. A good team know to take the rough with the smooth and they know to celebrate their success in a dignified manner. Well done boys, you have fully earned this success and should be immensely proud of yourselves.
Onwards we go and history continues to be written as we march into the depths of the last 16 of the country. As Winston Churchill said: “success consists of going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm”. It is with this in mind that I am reminded of the gritty resilience and tough upper lip that this team consistently demonstrate on their way to triumph with their never give up attitude.