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Welland Valley V Long Buckby Juniors Match Report A very frosty morning that Santa and his reindeers would appreciate welcomed the team to Wootton Brook for the final B Division game of the season. WV started the match with Alex, Ed, Josh, Jude, Luke, Matthew & Owen on the pitch. WV had lots of early possession that lead to immediate pressure on the Long Buckby goal. A quick throw in resulted in the first WV Corner of the match which was only partially cleared by Long Buckby. The ball was crossed back in for Alex to pounce and score the first goal of the match with a neat side foot finish. After the first goal, WV dominated possession and a great run from Owen was neatly finished by Josh to make it 2-0 to WV. Long Buckby started to put a few passes together and managed to win a few throw ins. Their play was broken up by some good tackling by Alex and Jude in midfield. This lead to a further WV chances for Owen and Josh that were well saved by the Long Buckby ‘keeper. Owen produced a great solo effort for the third goal, a good run and neat finish tucked past the ‘keeper to put WV 3-0 ahead mid-way through the first half. Further good WV team play produced further chances for Owen, Josh and Alex. To keep the team on the pitch fresh, James and Aaron came on for Alex and Luke which produced immediate results with Jude scoring a great forth goal for the team with an unstoppable long range effort. Ed & Matthew cleared up some Long Buckby chances before the half time whistle came. The second half started with Ally, Ed, James, Connor, Jude, Josh and Aaron on the pitch. A strong early run from Josh led to a WV corner. The corner was taken resulting in chaos and confusion in the Long Buckby penalty area, a goal was scored that appeared to be an Own Goal…one for Santa’s Christmas Dubious Goals Panel. The sixth goal was scored soon after, a powerful long range shot from Josh which the Long Buckby ‘Keeper failed to stop. Good Midfield play from James, Jude and Connor meant that Long Bucky saw little of the ball in the second half but they did not give up which is credit to them especially when you consider their position in the league table. Owen, Luke & Alex came back on for Josh, Ed & Jude. Long Bucky had a brief moment of possession which produced a shot on goal that was well saved by Ally. Despite not being called into action very much in second half, Ally kept his concentration levels high. WV’s seventh goal was scored by Owen and again came from some good team play from Connor, James and Alex. Further shots from Connor, Luke, Aaron and Owen were well saved by the Long Bucky ‘Keeper. The ‘keeper did very well to keep the score in single figures. The final goal of the match was scored by Aaron, some late drama as the ‘keeper appeared to be injured but Aaron played to the whistle and tucked the ball home calmly. There was still time for a late free kick from Connor that was well struck but diverted wide for a final corner.

A good team performance against some plucky opposition got the result the boys deserved to clinch the B Division title. An individual trophy for the boys for winning the B division was certainly an impressive early Christmas present. MOM – Ed for some important clearances and tackles especially in the first half. Paul (Alex’s Dad)

Brixworth Pumas V Welland Valley Match Report On a bitterly cold Saturday morning, The Welland Valley bandwagon rolled into Brixworth for a game against the Pumas, knowing a win would keep the pressure on the Falcons at the head of the table. Manager Watts started with the same starting line-up as the week before with Matthew in goal, Luke and Ed at the back, James, Josh and Connor in the middle with Owen up front. The game was lucky to go ahead with the pitch rock hard from the overnight frost. Straight from the kickoff, good inter change play from Connor and Owen saw the first foray into the Brixworth half, however good defending from the Pumas meant the chance was snuffed out. Welland started brightly with Josh making several good runs into the heart of the Brixworth half but the Blues could not carve an opening. Connor had the first shot of the game but his long range effort flew just over the bar Brixworth came into the game and forced a couple of corners which Matthew dealt with, with ease. Connor, Josh and Owen began to carve open the Brixworth midfield with several good passing moves, with Owen a constant danger down the left wing and a tricky run resulted in some good defending by the Pumas meaning Welland could not get a clear sight of goal. James was again a menace in the middle of the park for Welland, breaking up most of the Brixworth play, and when they did get forward into the Welland half, Luke and Ed ensured that Matthew was not be called into action with some quality defending. The last action the first half saw James win a thunderous tackle in the middle of the pitch and he fed Connor who play a great through ball for Owen who just failed to reach the ball before the onrushing keeper. The ref blew for half time 0-0, and to be fair the neither keeper had a real save to make with the conditions definitely playing a part. The gaffer rang the changes in the second half with Ally replacing Matthew, Aaron replacing Josh and Alex replacing James. Welland started the second half, knowing they needed maximum points to push for top spot, and came flying out of the blocks with Owen and Connor a constant threat and Aaron providing the muscle with some good runs and holding the ball up well for his team-mates. Welland pushed the Pumas further and further back and it came as no surprise when the first goal came, Owen tormenting the defence before whipping the ball across which Connor flicked in at the near post giving the keeper no chance. The goal lifted the team, with Luke and Ed very rarely troubled and Ed was able to venture forward and tried his luck from distance which the keeper did well to hold. The cold weather even got to the ref who went down with cramp and had to be replaced by the fourth official.

Alex again won every tackle in the middle of the park and broke up another Pumas attack and sent Aaron off down the left and from his cross (I think, as my phone stopped working at the most inopportune moment) the Brixworth defender inexplicably punched the ball clear, Penalty to Welland!! Once the furore had died down about where the penalty should be taken from (it turned out it looked like a full 12 yards like they use in adult football), Owen kept his cool, stepped up and smashed the ball past the goalie, who dived the right way but couldn’t get near the ball. Ed made way for Jude who went into defence with Luke and was immediately into action, tackling the dangerous Brixworth midfielder fairly and leaving him in a heap in the middle of the park. The odd occasion Brixworth did manage to get close to the Welland goal, Luke was like a rock blocking ever shot that came in and ensuring Ally did not have a save to make. As the clock was winding down, Connor again set Owen off on another mazy run and from his through ball Aaron took the ball on and slammed it across the keeper but agonizingly just wide of the post. Jude continues to tackle ferociously, winning 4 or 5 tackles in the space of 10 seconds and ensured the clean sheet was maintained. Moments later, the final whistle went and another 3 points was secured and safely on their way back to Wootton Brook. In the end, Welland deserved the victory and clean sheet, with Ally not even having touched the ball for the entire second half. A good win in very difficult playing conditions and with just one more game before the winter break, a great opportunity to push for that coverted top spot, well done lads. MOM Owen – a constant threat and a real thorn in Brixworth’s side, with an assist on the first goal and a cracking strike from the penalty for the second.

Welland Valley V Grange Park Yellow Match Report Welland valley were back to league action after last weeks disappointing cup loss. Grange park were the visitors to the theatre of dreams on a cold damp December morning The starting team lined up with : Matthew , Luke , Ed , James , Josh , Connor and Owen Welland started strong and pushed GP straight back from the off a sign of how the game would unfold WV opened the scoring when a Josh corner was tapped in at the far post by James on 4 minutes GP woke up now and started to press but Luke made some important blocks and Matthew having an inspired game in the sticks kept GP out WV increased there lead on the 10 minute mark with the move of the day when josh passed to Connor who then put Owen in to meg the keeper 2-0 GP made changes looking for away back in to the game Matthew made a great save as GP tried to get back in to the game when he managed to claw the ball off the line Just as ht approached WV pretty much killed off the game with 2 quick goals First Owen crossed in to the box only for the GP defender to miss judge and put it in his own net and then a minute later Josh slotted home from the edge of the box 4-0 HT The Subs were made: Aaron - Owen, Luke - Jude and Alex - James The 2nd half kicked off and WV struggled to get the flow going again and GP took advantage, Ed was robbed of possession on the edge of the box and left Matthew 1 on 1 and GP slipped the ball in to the net 4-1 WV were now trying to pass the ball again with the 2 left footers of Alex and Jude battling hard and trying to support the lone striker of Aaron A long ball from GP caught Ed out and he fouled the striker giving away a penalty The penalty was put wide but the ref asked for a re take and the retake saved by Matthew. This was by far Matthews best game in WV colours WV increased the score soon after when Jude passed to Az who scored from a couple of yards out and the 2 minutes later Az doubled his tally with a cross / shot that appeared to take a deflection but he was claiming it This was the end if the scoring although GP did have another penalty after a Luke

foul but the penalty was smashed against the bar FT 6-1 Mom : Matthew, a superb performance with a number of top quality saves

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