Year 11 National Cup vs Taunton School Match Report
A beautiful crisp autumn day saw The Taunton Academy Year 11 football team embark on this season’s first round of the FA Schools Cup. We had been drawn against our close neighbours and rivals Taunton School as the boys endeavoured to match last year’s Year 11 heroics, which had set the standard by reaching the last eight of this national competition contested by more than 200 schools.
We arrived at the ground to be met by a pitch suitable to meet the footballing needs of our highly skilled and well drilled team, it looked much like a carpet freshly laid in a show home and enticing to play on, this only added to the anticipation of what lay ahead.
There was no doubt that the boys were up for it and following some well chosen words from Director of Football Mr Mason and a highly effective warm up from Head Coach Mr Saddington we were ready to go.
The boys started with great tempo and took control of the game from an early stage. Their dominance was rewarded when a swift counter attack starting in defence was finished with finesse by Jenkins and the tone for the rest of the game was set. The midfield was marshalled by its deputies Priestley and Ford, who controlled the pace and the space and stroked the ball around setting up the attacks and ensuring the defence was guarded well.
Jenkins and Voller-Hooper were majestic on the wing with sharp feet and a creativity that unlocked the Taunton School defence time after time. Mendonca was his usual tour de force in central attacking midfield, where he drove and hassled and created in everything he did and up front the returning Taunton was full of tricks and power that saw the Taunton School defence chase shadows for the vast percentage of the first half.
All in all the juggernaut that is the Year 11 football team was up and running and driving effectively and efficiently down the outside lane of the footballing highway and taking no prisoners along the way. By half time it was 4-0 and we were well on the way to progressing to the next round.
The second half saw the Taunton School boys showing more directness and fight and the game momentarily became more even. Thankfully just as Roman Abramovich appearing in the stands motivates the Chelsea players, Mr Eddy arrived right in time and the lads’ spirits were raised, and we once again took control of the game.
The defence which had not been tested with any great vigour shone when it was required, and the centre half behemoths that are Budge and Hallows and later Hartland stood firm and so to echo the words of Gandolf the Grey to the Balrog in the Mines of Moria through their footballing actions, they acted out “you shall not pass” . Anything that did was met by the impenetrable wall that is Hyam, who like a colour sergeant on parade roared out instructions to his defence ensuring they were tight, strong and exceptionally organised to counter act anything Taunton School could throw at us.
With control reattained we were able to once again find our scoring boots and six more goals were added in the forty minutes. At this point we must praise and acknowledge sometimes the unsung heroes of any football team the full backs. Ward and Meads were quite incredible in their drive, composure and all round understanding of how to manage the game, they were imperious in possession in a self assured but not arrogant way that ensured the team and its effectiveness in how it played was always at the right tone and we were always clear in what we were trying to achieve. Our substitutes Richardson and Celeste also contributed massively and echoed and replicated the performances of the players they replaced with great skill and commitment.
By the time the final whistle was blown we were left victorious with a resounding 10-2 scoreline. It had been a pleasure to watch and a testament to the endless commitment of these players to training and the team they play for. Goal scorers on the day were Mendonca x 4, Richardson x 2 , Jenkins x 2, Celeste x 1, Priestley x 1.
Man of the Match : Lochlan Ford .
Report by Mr Mason