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AKS Lytham Boys-U12B vs  Ripley St Thomas CofE Academy
On: Saturday, 14 Jan 2023
Venue: at Home

AKS v Ripley St Thomas

KO 9.30 am

2 x 30 mins / 9-a-side

Score: 1 - 5

Like last week the game started in adverse weather conditions with strong winds and freezing temperatures. As a result both teams could be forgiven for not showing their best in the very early exchanges. The thrust and parry of the early minutes meant the game stayed in the centre of the pitch until Ripley began to flex their passing muscles a little.

Despite some solid and heroic defending from Will H, Ripley went ahead at around the quarter hour mark as a result of a stroke of luck from a shot to nothing. However, AKS came roaring back and put Ripley under all kinds of pressure with some tenacious play from Charlie T, Max K and John W. The pressure resulted in a free-kick on the edge of the box which Will A curled past the right hand upright - so close!! Further pressure resulted in the equalizer from John W after a thrusting attack down the right from Isa and a goal mouth scramble! Unfortunately, Ripley struck back with a merciless attack of their own leaving the 1st half in the balance with Ripley leading 1-2, AKS not having used the wind to their advantage in any way. Max K was however a constant threat on the right playing as either right wing or right back it didn't matter.

The 2nd half was a different story altogether. Ripley started moving the ball quicker and did not allow AKS any time on the ball forcing AKS to chase and chase and defend a lot which took it's toll in the latter stages.

Rupert was fantastic in goal and made a bucket-full of saves despite having a very tough day at the office. Hugo replacing Will H was immense in defence as was Charlie T in midfield. Will A was replaced upfront by Billy M as AKS struggled to keep the ball and began to struggle with their faces turned into a strong wind

Eventually the pressure told and Ripley using the wind began to fire shots from every angle as soon as the reached the AKS penalty area. A couple of these shots resulted in goals and one amazing save from Rupert getting his hand to an absolute BULLET from 25 yds (Champagne moment!). The final Ripley goal was simply wonderful football including slick passing and a silky finish leaving the score at 1-5, but thanks to Rupert and the efforts of the AKS defence it could have been way more. We must remember that Rupert is also stepping up from year 6 and should be commended for his performance.

AKS were not without any attacking chances in the 2nd half, but they were few and far between with John W and Tristan going close. The wind prevented any meaningful attempts on goal from distance. Ripley, it is safe to say WERE the better team and deserved the victory.

The match was played in great spirit and both teams should be proud of their performances. Everyone played at least one full half with rolling subs being made in the 2nd half.

M.O.M. - Max K

Honourable mentions: Will A, John W, Will H, Rupert, Hugo