U13s Larkhall Athletic Eagles

2020/21 Season

League Match (Home) Report Eagles vs Bradford Aztecs

18th October 2020

So we thought it would a much tougher game and a better test for the Eagles and for the first half it was. We started off with our customary energy and closing down to put pressure on them - looking dangerous with burst of speed down the wings and great crossing causing them trouble and relying on the keeper to save their day; too many of our shots were flying over or they passed the side post. Eventually a cross from the left from a through ball, headed on in the middle of the box and finished beautifully into the back of the net saw us take the lead 1-0. We gave Bradford a few chances who resorted away from their passing game to long balls over the top and taking on our back 4. Very little came from this even if they looked capable of scoring - their real chance came from a corner which went all the way over the top to a player alone on the far right, who did a great volley that flew to the side of the goal.

First half finished 1-0 and generally a comfortable 35 minutes for us. The next 35 minutes saw us rarely get out of their half and permanently camped, trying to find a way through - several great through balls for the wingers saw some efforts just go wide or saved; I was very impressed by the quality in these moves. In the end the next 3 goals came from individual brilliance with a mazy run through the middle and great shot, a through ball and chip over the diving keeper (cheeky) and one final goal from a run down the left wing and a power-blaster into the roof of of the net.

Game finished 1-0 HT and 4-0 FT win. 


A few things that stood out:

  • Confidence in the defence to pass around including keeper with great clearances when under pressure.

  • Defensive tackling around the pitch was top notch.

  • The wingers provided great crosses and created chances - not too many near the keeper


Here’s some feedback relating to the style of play we should aim for:


Strong work ethic to win the ball back – Yes, as expected. Defence sat too deep for Bradford kickoffs.


Strong understanding of set pieces – Corners were hit well but didn't cause too much danger; one cross went to left wing where there was no one as the winger was taking the corner! Needed someone of the far post. 


Clinical in final third (1 in 3 shots being scored) – All goals were finished well but did miss a few easier chances that needed composure. I feel in the second half should have score a couple more.


High team spirit with a non-blame culture –Very good again - the celebration was the first goal was amazing! Really good encouragement around the pitch and very vocal players.


James has noted the following points form his observations to work on:

  • Wingback staying tight to their wingers.

  • Not letting the player turn you.

  • First time crossing and getting the ball up to the attackers quicker


MoM to Olly for great crossing, laying off when playing the ball back and amazing finish! Second to Toby for controlling the midfield when needing to calm down the play, winning back endles​sly and finding the right pass. Finally well done to the keeper in his first game; great distribution and finding long passes - this forced their play back into their half and give us the space to play from the back when possible.


League Match (Home) Report Eagles vs Warminster Highbury

4th October 2020

Game on or not on? Started the day with very poor weather and Amber weather warning finishing just before kick-off. We agreed with the other manager to give the game a go and thankfully the weather improved considerably. I have to say this is the nicest manager I've every played; really courteous and polite with jelly beans for the kids at the end of the game as a thank you!

So, the first quarter of the game they were on fire! In the warm-up we had the kids practicing 1-2's and first time crossing - this relied on the wingers going wide. Such good passing with through balls and players running at pace to overwhelm the opposition - we really took our chances with a powerful shot from right wing into the bottom left with keeper not standing a chance. Two more goals came from crosses and knock in which just what we were looking for ... then a goalkeeper mistake we finished the quarter a dominant 4-0.

Second quarter we took a couple of injuries to both our midfield duo which threw the balance of the team, and although we got two more goals the game was losing it's mojo. Second half mistakes started cropping into our game with too many dribbles, turning on the ball without looking and not being stuck way too long down the left hand-side when we need to switch the play. Scrappy in the last quarter we put on the pressure to score from the left wing to player running on far post and then scored from the right wing with player running on to the other far post! Yay great finishes.

Finally, my favourite part is the strength of our defence to render their attack null. They really had very few chances and our goalkeeper emphatically dived on every over hit pass. Good use of pass-back too - and distribution to the wingbacks to take forward. Well done on their second clean sheet!

Game finished 6-0 HT and 8-0 FT win. 


A few things that stood out:

  • Crosses with players running on.

  • 1-2s in the middle and through balls to run onto.

  • Communication between players - we could hear lots positives

  • Strong defence with good clearance and headers ; glad I'm not seeing the bouncing ball so much


Here’s some feedback relating to the style of play we should aim for:


Strong work ethic to win the ball back – We won the ball back endlessly especially in midfield - very skilfully done! Long balls we dealt with well with control or headers. As in the last game when we were many goals up the forward 4 players became lazy in tracking back.


Strong understanding of set pieces – Corners were really good and created danger and chances. Not many other set pieces even goal kicks were few but done well. 


Clinical in final third (1 in 3 shots being scored) – Yes, especially in the first half.


High team spirit with a non-blame culture –Very good again - no real incidents in the game and easy for the referee.


The things I would aim to work on would be:


  • Forming wall for free kicks (still).

  • Passing too soft at the time especially with so many mis-passes by trying to curl using the outside boot. Really not necessary and amazed how many mistakes came from players trying to do this rather than use their left foot.

  • Formation and positioning - generally good but as we get more advanced we need to make sure the defender is on the angle between opponent and goal. Often our defenders and too far away from the opposition or even standing in front.

  • Staying onside!

MoM to our centre-backs Callum and Daragh; very solid, stopped the opposition dead and distributed well with ease and ... another clean sheet!

League Match (Home) Report Eagles vs Westbury Greens

11th October 2020

Weather looked variable with light rain which cleared into a nice Sunday afternoon. Previous game was 8-0 on a small pitch and the away manager saying a couple of their best players were missing.

James sent out the expectations for each position on the pitch with an improved formation of 4-1-4-1 (see The Larkhall Way) - the initial team was picked on previous match performance and in training. This also gave me chance to talk to the 3 substitutes whilst they watch they game and set the challenge for when they came on after a few minutes.

I think this was there most consistent performance which much better and accurate passing around the field especially through the back 4 and cross field down the wings. I felt we need to run through the middle more when our midfielders were in a lot of space rather than tight down the wings. But otherwise I think every goal had a clear assist with high crosses and through balls - excellent play!

Good overall performance. Switched played well and were easily strongest team so well done on that. Technically good in so many parts of game and switched on for majority of it. Well done on their third clean sheet!

Game finished 5-0 HT and 10-0 FT win. 


A few things that stood out:

  • Crosses with players running on - really like the easy knock-ins and even a quality header!

  • Passing through the defence and involving the goalkeeper on many occasions.

  • Really good high and low cross field passes from midfield to the wingers to run onto.


Here’s some feedback relating to the style of play we should aim for:


Strong work ethic to win the ball back – Strong desire to win the ball but need to be quicker to react when chance was there.


Strong understanding of set pieces – Corners were unproductive and short ones didn't come off - need to adapt quicker and stay onside for return ball. 


Clinical in final third (1 in 3 shots being scored) – Scored most of the goals from good crosses and taps in or drilled low across the keeper. Only one spectacular lob over the keeper form quite a few poor shots going wide or over.


High team spirit with a non-blame culture –Very good again - no real incidents in the game and easy for the referee.


James has noted the following points form his observations to work on:

  • Our passing needs to be quicker and with quality

  • Need to be aware of what’s around us before we receive it

  • Our press needs to be a quicker

  • Movement towards the ball when receiving

  • Angles we create when team mate in possession

  • Looking everywhere when taking free kicks, throws in and corners 

  • We also need to keep the standard throughout and not drop off when we are 5/6 up as we’ll get into bad habits. Well done to all that ate snacks at half time.


MoM to Zac for his best performance of the season - really good team play and running down the wing with quite a few exists. Second MoM to Dylan for controlling the midfield beautifully and great distribution whether short or long. Well done Eagles and tougher test to come with Bradford and Melksham as the two chasing teams in the league!​


League Match (Away) Report Westbury Greens vs Eagles

27th September 2020

First away game of the season against Westbury with some close games in the past and wins and losses for both teams. This was a test to see how far our new squad have developed together. The objective was to ensure no balls bounced for goal kicks, accurate passing, wingers spread the game wide and balls over the top for variety. I choose my starting line-up based on pace, which in hindsight was limited due to very small pitch in length; in fact seemed the same as the 9v9 next to it.

After a few minutes it became obvious that there was a clear class difference between our teams. We dominated from the outset and passed the ball beautifully to feet and the quality of our crossing was much better than previous game. After numerous good attempts a cross came looping in, over the head of one leaping attacker into the feet of another on the far post and blasted into the net. It seemed inevitable more would come with lots of good saves, blocks ,ricochets - we were crossing in the air and to many players in box, 1-2-1 on the offside line and long shots, yet nothing went in. Westbury's tactic seemed limited with a long kick up the (short) pitch; an innocuous free kick from hands pushing on the back gave a free kick in a dangerous position, given how hard their player could hit it - we didn't set up a convincing wall which left our goalkeeper having to cover the whole goal. Like many more of their shots they went flying over - if they equalised at this point it could have been a different game. I think the substitutions worked a lot better this week and only subbed when a player was struggling or getting tired - we also changed position during the game prior to the substitutes to get them more adjusted when coming on.

Eventual Westbury broke down after endless attacks and a with a deflected goal and one more we went in half time 3-0 up. Given the chances it could have been at least 8-0. The second half progressed just as well but with more chances being successful - I like the passing to feet in the box and first time shots. On the odd occasion we had unrealistic long shots and square passes missed as players tried to score more for themselves than the team. But overall great team work and very pleased no one reacted to the referee's slightly interesting decisions ... like playing advantage from a penalty or twice our players being completely wiped out with play-on given.

Game finished 3-0 HT and 8-0 FT win. 


A few things that stood out:

  • Crosses with more height on or to feet in the box.

  • 1-2s in the middle and through balls to run onto.

  • Communication between players and not winding up the ref ... too much

  • Formation was spot on and holding the offside line


Here’s some feedback relating to the style of play we should aim for:


Strong work ethic to win the ball back – We won the ball back endlessly with some great neat tackling using their bodies. Somewhat lazy tracking back in last quarter and relying on defence too much.


Strong understanding of set pieces – Need to work on this … no formation of a wall for free kicks near penalty area. 


Clinical in final third (1 in 3 shots being scored) – Must have been 15 chances in first half with 3 going in. Most were on target but with a crowded box it was difficult. Felt we should have score more.


High team spirit with a non-blame culture –Very good again - need ot be careful with referees that are frustrating and a couple of incidents the ref chatted with our players


The things I would aim to work on would be:


  • Forming wall for free kicks

  • Defensive line too far forward for their long kicks - danger of circumnavigating the whole team.

  • Still struggling on goal kicks and team too static to give real options.

MoM to Arthur for taking so well to the central midfield and with great control he was finding some beautiful passes. Second MoM to Ben for his superb performance in right back - he judge really well when to intercept balls, headers away, some of the best over the top through balls and general athleticism.

Finally ... the thing that pleased me the most was a clean sheet! I'd rather win 8-0 than 15-5!

League Match (Home) Report Eagles vs Staverton Whites

20th September 2020

I didn’t know what to expect from the opposition - the manager said, at the end of the game, they were undefeated last season and often beat the first team who won the top league - I think there had some key players missing. I’m not sure we saw that team today ... but not to under estimate them when we play the away game.


My focus today was on passing options including back to defence or goalkeeper, heading away from defence, first time crossing … and, you if noticed it, full backs with hand up to signal over the top ball to the winger. In general they did it all; really pleased with the variety of play and dominance they displayed. Of course the execution failed on a number of occasions and some wrong decisions or elementally mistakes - no problem that they try and of course learn from it.


I think this game gave me a much better view of the best positions for the players and where the partnerships are on the pitch - I made a few switches that didn’t work but saw some nice interplay when it did work. They’re looking like one team already and working hard for each other. Considering how verbal the opposition were and aggressive we did well to stay physical but not retaliate … I thought we (almost) deserved two yellow card for mistimed sliding tackles; we need to be careful. Saying that this is the first time I've seen yellow cards and sin - all the opposition!


Game finished 6-1 HT and 11-3 FT win. 


A few things that stood out:

  • Crossing first half was really good with cut backs in the box, header chances and great running players into the box - this came from quick play and first time crossing. As mentioned below this disappeared in second half almost completely!

  • Dominance in the middle to pass around and generally finding the wingers.

  • Defence generally did well in dealing with high balls with a don't let it bounce philosophy. We handle goal kicks well and they struggled to mark us all generally giving us option to pass out from the back.

  • Strength and discipline in tackling and winning the ball back.

  • Strength through the team with everyone on form.


Here’s some feedback relating to the style of play we should aim for:


Strong work ethic to win the ball back – Great commitment and physical effort to get back possession in the first half against a strong pushy team - with a big score some players got lazy and didn’t track back enough in second.


Strong understanding of set pieces – Need to work on this … we had quite a few free kicks and just hoofed it over the goal. 


Clinical in final third (1 in 3 shots being scored) – Very good first half with almost everything on target and really pleased with the number of goals we got from rebounds with players following up. The best one was right back over the top to winger, diagonal run into box and crossed in the air toward penalty spot to running in attacker, with touch volley into far corner. Simple play perfectly executed.


High team spirit with a non-blame culture – Good communication, very chatty and good direction throughout the pitch. Also, not to get heated with a verbal opposition giving it some!


The things I would aim to work on would be:


  • Some great through balls to the wingers from our own half driving on but didn’t take the opportunity to make first time crosses. Hold on too long made it laboured in the corner of the pitch trying to find a way through.

  • Crosses ended too close the keeper or over all their heads in the second half.

  • Wingers were too central at times and not giving wide options for the pass when stuck in the middle. If wingers go wider it often also drags the opposition away creating space in the middle.

  • They're overcoming their reluctance to pass backwards but still needs improving.

  • Staying onside! We were much faster but struggled to follow their line.

I normally give two MoM but I’m it was a really good level of consistent quality football through the whole team so I’ll give to the team!


Looking at the other results we’re unsurprisingly top with goal difference.

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