The JCB Academy football team recently took part in the first leg of the A50 Challenge Cup. a competition against John Port School in Etwall, Derbyshire, where two legs are played. Leg one is the year 11 fixture and leg two is a year 10 fixture. The team with the best aggregate is the winner.
The first leg was away at John Port School. We had many changes to the usual starting 11 due to illness and injury and we only had 11 players! So from the off we had our work cut out… a large pitch and only 11 players “work rate” was going to be key! We started off really well, very disciplined holding the 4-1-1 formation very well and catching them offside on pretty much every attack, their frustration built and we held our discipline. We struggled to break them down to find any end product but battling hard in the opening 20 minutes really set the game up well. “Work rate” was key, although we did start to drift and found ourselves making some poor decisions leaving the back four vulnerable, but we held out. As half time approached Jack Taylor (captain) put a ball in from 40 yards and with two deceptive runs confused their back line and keeper and we were 1-0 up for half time.
“Work rate” continued to be key as we were under pressure early in the second half but again we held out and some great saves were made by keeper Harvey Adams. Unfortunately though, the ball bounced around a busy 18 yard box with no convincing clearance and we allowed them to equalise with about 20 minutes to go, 1-1.
This woke us up a little and we found the form and discipline we started with and started to bounce back! Some fantastic work by Elliot Sellors all game and was soon rewarded with goal to take us back in front 2-1. Having no substitutes, it started to show as our 11 started to tire with only ten minutes left. Another great save from Harvey gave them a corner, we were slow to get organised, they took it quick and found another scrambling goal to equalise again, 2-2. Last 5 minutes and we pressed on for a winner creating many chances but that exposed us at the back and they found themselves one quick break to win the game 3-2.
An unfortunate result but The JCB Academy team never gave up and worked hard throughout. Hopefully our year 10 can overcome the 1 goal deficit aftet Easter to retain the trophy.
A great team effort, congratulations to the team as they really were a credit to the academy.
Harvie Barker (first game this year)
Jack McGuire (first game for the academy)