U13s Cup run continues

Moor Mead produced a top class display to stay on track for cup glory against a side that previously been a thorn in their side.

Earlier in the season, Gemini scored two late goals to secure the win in a fractious league game in October, and threatened to deny the Parakeets again as they put the home side under pressure in the first half.

But Moor Mead worked out a way both to break down their well-drilled defence, and to neutralise their most potent form of attack as they took total control after the break.

On a classic Autumn day at Marble Hill, Moor Mead initially seemed a little off the pace, struggling with a heavy pitch and opponents who were positionally sound, and clinical in the tackle. It might well be the season of mellow fruitfulness, but Moor Mead were a little too mellow.

SHAIFULAH gave the home side an early lead from a corner, capitalising of a moment of slackness in the Gemini defence to finish emphatically (1-0).

But Gemini responded quickly. A long through ball split the defence, and their speedy Number 9 was too quick for the centre backs, chipping Alec with an exquisite dink (1-1).

Moments later the same tactic put him through again, but this time he skewed his shot wide. Coach Matthews adjusted the formation, dropping Will W behind Jeremias to provide extra cover at the back, and it seemed to do the trick.

Moor Mead regained the lead just before half time. Ollie fed ZAC - who had previously been well marshalled - on the left flank, and he turned on the afterburners, flicking skilfully past the keeper from an angle (2-1).

Once again, Gemini immediately bounced back, but the defence now had a much more secure look about it.

Moor Mead ended the first period knocking the ball around sweetly, but the game still seemed up for grabs. However, the Parakeets effectively ended the contest with a sparkling start to the second half.

First, Ollie and Zac combined again, with ZAC bending a side foot shot past the keeper (3-1). Then Elliot produced the pass of the season, a raking diagonal delivery to ZAC who nonchalantly tucked it away off the inside of the far post to complete a first-rate quick-fire hat trick (4-1).

With the game in the bag, Moor Mead started to pass the ball around with all the pizzazz missing for much of the first half. Gemini did pull a goal back from the spot after Alec brought down a striker (4-2). But the Parakeets underlined their superiority when Will S fed TOM on the left, and he blasted in a net-bulger (5-2).

With Gemini pressing in vain for a way back into the match, Moor Mead started to pick them off and were dominant for the final section of the match, with Will S setting up a number of chances for Tom and Shaifulah. The only surprise was that Moor Mead didn’t add to their tally.

With the match won, the only question on the sideline was: what exactly did Daniel Bevan have in his tracksuit bottoms that made it look as though he developed a club foot in the latter stages?

Whatever it was there was no way the Parakeets, after a couple of recent late reverses, were going to be wrong-footed again.