Buntingford Cougars U10s traveled for their first away fixture of this campaign to face Bishop Stortford at Grange Paddocks on a perfect bright cool morning on Saturday. After a promising start to the season that has seen much development of the large Under 10’s squad Cougars players continued to show great progress and development in this fixture.
The first match pitched Cougars Blues against Stortford’s United team and made for an enthralling encounter. It started quite evenly with both teams creating chances but neither quite having the end product to open the scoring and with Callum Nye playing a blinder in the Cougars goal and the United keeper matching him it looked like it was going to be a tight affair.
It was the keepers who started to influence the attacking nature of the game though as on a small pitch they could release forward players quickly after retrieving the ball and indeed Nye started to make chances for Cougars and seemed to bring Jack Gurney and George Godfrey to life. It wasn’t though until the lively Jimmy White entered the fray for Cougars that the visitors really got a grip on proceedings. White’s tenacity almost saw him get on the score sheet twice and his attitude seemed to galvanise his colleagues. The opener in the match came after Godfery stretched play and found space on the right and after a dribble put in Hayden Walley who made no mistake to give the host’s guardian no chance just before the interval.
The second half started much the same as the first until a Stortford attack resulting in hitting a post got Cougars focused again and Gurney was the provider for Nathan Anderson to fire low to double the lead. Cougars nearly added a third when Charlie Fountain hit a looped shot but then Stortford United started to come back as Cougars seemed to tire. The hosts deservedly got a goal back with six minutes remaining and came close to equalising but the Cougars defensive line of Jake Votariello and Luke Goodchild held firm before the ref blew the final whistle on an entertaining match.
For his hard work on the ball and his intelligent play off the ball George Godfrey earned man of the match for Cougars Blues in an all round great team performance.
In the second match Cougars Whites were guests of Bishop Stortford Wanderers and both teams put on a great display. Sam Daly set the benchmark with his tenacity and drive and Brogan Fakhfakh started to move the ball from the back to create chances. Ciaran Jenkins and Harry Western also started to make an impression and it was a great team move that made for Cougars Whites goal which was fired home with great technique by Josh Ridings in the first half. For his great tackling and nonstop efforts the man of the match for Cougars Whites was awarded to George Hegerty.
After the match Cougars U10’s Manager Richard Daly said “The most impressive thing today was the way both Cougars teams played on an incredibly small pitch – they made smart choices on and off the ball all over the pitch and that shows how far they have come in terms of decision making and football intelligence. I was really impressed with all of our players decision making in both matches. After the match I then made a good decision as I went for the cheeseburger and not the hot-dog at the Grange Paddocks burger van.”