Year 9 Boys have clinched the double!

The Matthew Arnold School Year 9 boys were one game away from winning a spectacular league and cup double, so this was a real test against a tough Jubilee High School side. In the reverse fixture, The Matthew Arnold were winners and having beaten every school in the district this season were full of confidence. With late injuries to Reece Collins and Terry Nash, a squad of 14 players were drafted in, with Collins and Nash to support the team throughout the game. Over the Easter break, an international training camp in Madrid was the perfect preparation, claiming a 3:3 draw against Spanish opposition and training at 'Ciudad Real Madrid' daily with top class youth coaches, coaching future galácticos. 

The Matthew Arnold set up as they have done all season, 4:4:2 with Finlay Carlisle Smith captaining the side in a free role position. New additions Hayden Stevens and Billy Porter Pollard were put in to start following impressive performances in Madrid and began in the centre of midfield positively. The first 15 minutes proved very nervy, with Jubilee High playing excellently, particularly down the left channel adjacent to a packed 3G pitch, cramming in as many parents, students and teachers as possible to support both teams. Once the occasion was absorbed by the starting 11, Matthew Arnold came into their own and played with a direct, fast tempo. Nathan Scott's hold-up play was excellent, feeding both wingers Alex Whittle and Finlay Carlisle Smith numerous attacking opportunities. Josh Wilson commanded his back 4 of Wooster, Lyden, Henderson and Patel well with the defence sitting high, diverting any pressure between them and the midfield 4. The first chance was a whisker away, Lenny Markham hitting a free kick narrowly wide, minutes later being the victim of an outstanding save from the Jubilee keeper when going 1 on 1. Finlay Carlisle Smith had the best chance of the half from 18 yards out, slamming the near post and out for a throw in. The confidence was back, growing into every stride and the fans were applauding their effort. Right before the stroke of half time, Nathan Scott had a shot palmed for a corner and the captain stepped up for an in-swinging corner. The corner was floated in with vicious pace and without bouncing, went directly into the far post upright. 1:0 Matthew Arnold at the break.

 Half Time: The Matthew Arnold School 1:0 Jubilee High School

Goal - Carlisle-Smith

 Mr Saunders, in his first season as Manager, was very keen to secure the double knowing the ability and confidence of all 16 boys. A much needed team talk was delivered, to calm down all of the squad involved. Tej Patel took a breather with a nasty knock to the head, and on came Kieran Kempson straight in at left back. Second half was underway.

 Saunders’ side piled the pressure on Jubilee High to find an opening back in the game but it proved unlikely. Just listing the shots could fill a page, Markham, Scott and Whittle going close, Billy Porter Pollard was having an excellent game, proving what an excellent choice it was to start after several successful Madrid performances. The back 4 were very disciplined and Lewis Henderson stepped up when it mattered; it was a superb team goal. Henderson took the ball from the half way line with a quick exchange of passes, finding himself one on one with the goalkeeper in the area. A 'Dennis Bergkamp' esque control and finish proved that every player could step up when it was needed, slotting in to go 2:0 up and celebrating with the fans. 

 Jubilee High looked to respond instantly in which they found an inch of space in the area, Josh Wilson saving comfortably. The blistering pace of Carlisle Smith was causing problems in the centre of the midfield for Jubilee High, wriggling his way to the best that he could. The 3rd goal came half through the second half and what a beauty it was, Alex Whittle hammering in a 25 yard rocket into the top corner, goalkeeper and back 4 absolutely rooted to the spot. Probably the goal of the season as it stands, Ryan Davies came on right midfield and was proving tricky for Jubilee High’s back four. His twin brother James Davies came on up front, recovering from a long term injury and was keen to play after having a big influence when representing the school on international soil.

 This time, though, there was one more last, dramatic twist. With James Davies’ instant introduction, he needed no time at all to get on the score sheet. A series of attacking moves presented the fans with a fantastic second half performance, and with his back to goal around 12 yards out, James Davies acrobatically bicycle kicked the ball over the goalkeeper and a stranded defender into the goal. What a comeback goal, absolutely top drawer.

 Final Score

The Matthew Arnold School 4:0 Jubilee High School

Goals: Carlisle Smith, Henderson, Whittle, J.Davies.


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