Buntingford Cougars U8s Royals made the short trip to Royston Town on a mild and dry winter’s morning. The Royals started brightly and confidently with some good early passing. Henry McAllister started very well fighting for the ball in midfield, along with Keiron Bliss eager to get involved. Alfie Perryman was also chomping at the bit with his game face on, he got an early shot away, well saved by the opponents’ keeper. Ryan Gasson showed his usual defensive acumen, well placed to deal with some early pressure, holding them off well, although a shot did come in, Archie Beattie keeping goal for the Cougars was alert and made a good save. In the early stages Beattie saved a number of shots, some with his hands, some with his feet and one on his hip.

Gasson and McAllister worked together well in defence to stop Royston’s attacks, Gasson with well timed tackles, winning the ball back and finding his team mates regularly with good passes. McAllister saved his team conceding a number of times, sweeping up in defense and carrying the ball forward away from danger. As the game went on it was clear that we were watching 2 well matched teams in a game that went from end to end.

Up the other end McAllister did impress with a strong desire to win the ball in midfield and then drive forward with one thing on his mind, go for goal. An early run forward was well defended in the opponent’s box, the ball rebounded to Gasson, who had pushed right up, put the ball back in the opponents box, Perryman had a shot, McAllister scuffed a shot which rebounded off the keeper and Bliss was perfectly placed to tap the ball home at the far post! Great team goal Cougars!

Cougars were rampant after their goal, McAllister, very comfortable in possession made a great run up the right flank resulting in Bliss getting a strong shot away, on target, well saved by Royston’s keeper, who was a showing himself to be a competent goal keeper. Perryman was very involved too, battling away in midfield, often against two or three of their defenders, he worked tirelessly to impress himself on the game and made a number of chances for himself with good runs. Even the defenders were eager to score, Gasson with a foray up front, got clear of his man and had a strong shot on goal, which was saved.

Ben Gower showed real improvement in his game with determined tackling and got more and more involved as the game went on, battling away and impressing with his drive to push towards goal and created a few chances for himself, with one memorable run on to the ball he got a good shot away, well saved. He also made some good passes, finding his team mates. After Cougars conceded, McAllister scored his second of the day. He dropped his shoulder straight from the restart, went on a superb solo run and confidently slotted home, beating the keeper convincingly for a superb goal.

Soon after Cougars conceded again, but Beattie made a Hollywood save in the same passage of play tipping the ball on to the crossbar, but unfortunately for the Cougars the ball rebounded to a Royston player who scored. Cougars were superb in the first half and are really implementing their coach’s instructions to defend high and hold a high line. This works really well to keep the pressure on their opponents.

In the second half Cougars continued in the same vein, displaying the same qualities they showed in the first half. The Royston Crows scored a few more goals and went in front, but the Cougars fought back with a 3rd goal from McAllister, completing his hat-trick, again with another strong solo run with the ball at his feet, taking an accurate shot at goal and scoring. The game continued end to end and as it came to its conclusion Perryman put a cherry on the performance with a great run and a low shot in to the corner. Overall this was an impressive performance by Cougars, improving again, listening to their very pleased coach and scoring lots of goals for the second week in a row.

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