Buntingford Cougars U8s Royals travelled to Ashwell to face the Academicals on a nice, bright but cold morning. Cougars needed to be switched on from the start. The home side had a tall strong forward, who put Cougars defence to task with his strong runs. Ryan Gasson defended earnestly at the back, won the ball on numerous occasions and displayed nice passing out of defence to Henry McAllister and his other team-mates.

William Brown went on an early run on the left wing showing his attacking intent. Also impressing was Alfie Perryman, often picking the ball up in midfield and skipping away from his opponents, running with the ball, twisting and turning into advanced positions.

The Cougars continued to be put under pressure as the first half went on however Archie Beattie was superb in goal for the Cougars. He has learnt much in the couple of months he’s been playing with the team. He made many great saves, unafraid to put his body on the line to stop the shots. He showed great decision-making, knowing when to come off his line to charge down his attackers and knowing when to stay. His confidence going to ground, diving to collect the ball with his hands was a regular feature.

At times Cougars defended very well as a unit, with everyone helping out, particularly McAllister always willing to track back and wrestle his opponents off the ball or putting in well-timed tackles and Gasson showing persistence and determination to keep them out, a couple of times keeping the ball well whilst under pressure when it would have been easier to hoof it. Gasson also showed guile, sucking his opponents in, only to feint and pass accurately to his team-mates.

Cougars implemented their coach’s instructions nicely, pushing up the pitch when in advanced positions, thus hemming in the Academicals in their own half. Perryman continued his good work with a cheeky back heel in midfield, shortly after his hard work paid off with a good run and a well taken goal! Cougars had a few more chances with an effort from McAllister and a couple of shots from Brown and hit the post, direct from a well struck corner, the resultant shot from the rebound hit by Jake Cole was straight at the keeper. Keiron Bliss’s confidence and passing has improved in recent games, which was good to see. Overall Cougars Under8s continue to improve and impress.


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