Update on Year 11 Boys football

As we got the ball rolling (excuse the hideous cliché) we embarked on our 5 hour mini-bus journey to Plymouth. Eagerness was in the back of all our heads, neighbouring emotions of nerves and merely the happy vibes that everyone delightfully carried. However, needless to say testosterone polluted the mini-bus and let’s call it ‘harmless banter’ was flying around.
Two service stations and chronic back ache later and we had arrived at our first set destination of the night, Pizza Express. There isn’t much to comment on here but it was a lovely touch to the outing to Plymouth.
Around 10pm we set about driving through the heart of Saltash and past what was then tomorrow’s venue of the make or break match. This bought much anticipation but it was short lived as we were soon to arrive at our final stop for that night, Travel Lodge. With the quarter final of the national cup in mind, we all sensibly went to sleep around 10:30pm.
Match day.
With an extra two hours in bed than usual on a school day; no-one was complaining. Breakfast (a cardboard box containing various suspicious looking objects) arrived outside our room at 9am. After stomaching breakfast it was soon to be a swift departure from Travel lodge and into Plymouth town centre where we gathered lunch for that day and simultaneously ate it before we made it back to the mini-bus.
That was it. Physical preparation done, it was time to solely focus our mind on the upcoming fixture. Mind games with the opposition had already begun. We had made our ‘last man’ tackles before we had even stepped one foot on the football pitch.
Sat in the changing room pre-match after a brief warm-up we re-grouped and ‘Coach Corbett’ gave his final team talk and boarded the team, with the substitutes disappointed but knew their role was vitally import as any of the starting 11; We were ready.
The whistle blew and the game was underway.
It was an onslaught from the start with Jordan Burgess linking up very well with Conor Chaplin proving the keepers vitality that he showed in the game ahead as he pulled off an impressive save. Chance after chance it soon became apparent that it would be harder to score than first anticipated.
With Mr Fuller finding new feet as a ball boy/photographer Durrington’s relentless attack force pressed on. The pitch was dry which threw up to occasional bobble but this didn’t seem to faze the team. There was however something missing, that one finishing touch.
The centre backs (Jimmy Punter and Captain, Mathew Smith) after a few words from ‘Coach Corbett’, maintained the control of the opposing teams best player, ‘number 9’. But a momentary lapse in concentration had led to an un-needed shot which carried straight into Lee Whittaker’s arm and bought a realism feeling to the squad and re-focused the team.
Halftime: 0-0.
A few words later and Durrington were back out on the pitch. Needless to say Scott Goodman and Ellis Wilson the two central midfielders were linking up nicely with each other and using the football wisely to create opportunities to present themselves. This also managed to get the full-backs involved more within the game. But then: disaster.
Around 10 minutes in, it became an uphill battle. A lofted, perfectly weighted ball rose over the centre backs heads to the extent that even Mathew Smith couldn’t summit and reach this extraordinary pass. Unfortunately this left Jimmy Punter no chance as Usain Bolt was, to no fault of the defence 5 paces ahead of him. With a delightful first touch even Lee Whittaker couldn’t phase ‘number 9’ as he coolly played it past him with such an element of finesse. With a scuttle on the line Jacob Basset was unable to clear the ball as he was put under some immense pressure by the opposing number 11 who somehow managed to keep up with him.
Plymouth 1 Durrington 0.
Clearly something had to be done. With a few strings pulled by ‘coach Corbett’ the game was now back in full swing. Without exaggeration Durrington had in excess of 15 goal scoring opportunities in the past 25 minutes alone. But Hele’s school were intent on keeping their un-deserved lead.
But then, the referee has awarded a penalty towards Durrington following a ‘school boy’ error from their right back tripping Conor Chaplin; it was an unquestionable decision to make. Unfortunately it wasn’t Durrington’s day. This clearly showed when the penalty was missed and the rebound was to no positive outcome.
Very late in the game, the ‘goal line technology’ debate was yet to play another decisive part in this fixture with Mitchell Hartley lobbing the keeper but having the ball cleared off the line to which he was convinced it was in. Mr Fuller, the brain of wisdom did not however share this thought.
Then the sound we were hoping could wait for just a couple more attacks rang in our ear. A sound we never wanted to hear in the situation we were in. Following the final blow of the whistle from the referee the sportsmen within us shook the opponents hand and we headed for the changing room.
Finding ourselves in a position we never wanted to be in, nothing could change the amount we were all distraught at the result. ‘Coach Corbett’ tried alongside the ‘skipper’ to soften the blow words can’t explain our thoughts with the result.
Reading this from a neutral perspective I can understand that it would look biased, but to put it simply we have played much better football teams and ended up beating them 4-0.
The 5 hour mini-bus home was then a long one.
James Pike

3 thoughts on “Update on Year 11 Boys football

  1. Great account of events. Everyone involved was a credit to the school, the passion, integrity and maturity of you all is beyond your years! Hold your heads high, learn from that game and move forwards. Tuesday’s county cup semi-final is massive!!

  2. Well done Y11, coach Corbett and Mr Fuller. As you say James a roller coaster of emotions, underpinned by great football. That is the agony of sport in this situation, you play well and the win does not happen. I totally agree with Mr C, reflect, learn and make the next game a win. You continue to be a credit to our school, enjoy your weekend and your schoolwork!
    Ms Marooney

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