AFC Kirk Hallam U12's 5 - 1 Stapleford Town
By Dave Morley
Boys cruise to a five star victory in a steady friendly without getting out of second gear
With the run of fixtures decimated by half term, the under 12's were looking at a two week gap since their last match, a stunning 5 - 1 victory over Ilkeston Town on the 13th of October. A friendly was arranged against local team, Stapleford Town, meaning neither team had to travel far and it would most likely be a proper friendly in all meaning of the word.
As it turned out, a lot of the lads knew each other through various schools, meaning there was a little bit of added incentive for both teams to do well.
The game started in relatively equal fashion, with both sides not managing to make an early breakthrough, or even get a decent foothold on the ball. when it finally did click, Kirk Hallam took control. After a some good play, Ben Morley opened the scoring, shooting across the goalkeeper as he was being pulled down by the defender, with the ball hitting the far post and then nestling in the back of the net for 1 - 0 to the hosts. The first round of substitutions saw Logan O'Connor come into the game for his first appearance for Kirk Hallam, swapping over with goalkeeper Caleb Topley, with Finn Rydzyk coming on for an injured Emin Alcin and Ellis Shore coming on for also injured Noah Bagley. Emin and Noah had to be particularly disappointed as they'd both started the game well. The first goal was followed up minutes after the substitutions in spectacular fashion as Harris Khan unleashed a thunderbolt from twenty yards to send the hosts into half time at 2 - 0. Stapleford did have their moments in the half, mainly created by the number six on their right wing and the number eight in the centre of midfield. However, Owen Robinson at left back and Richard Frost in the middle did sterling jobs in keeping them quiet, breaking up play and starting attacks of their own time and again.
The second half started with Caleb Topley coming back onto the field, but this time, to replace Ben Morley up front for a rare outfield appearance. Ben's exit from the field was short lived however as Harris Khan went down under a heavy challenge and twisted his ankle. He was replaced again by Ben who went up top, with Caleb moving out to the right wing. Once settled, Kirk Hallam carried on where they left off with Harley Rose, who had been his usual excellent self all match, playing an excellent through ball for Ben Morley to run onto. As the onrushing goalkeeper approached, Ben coolly slid the ball past him from the edge of the area to make it 3 - 0. Stapleford hit back almost immediately with a goal of their own to make it 3 - 1 to the hosts. Caleb then had a great chance himself when he left the Stapleford full back for dead before making a chance. Richard Frost went close with a great effort midway through the half. With ten minutes to go, Ben completed his hat trick as he went around two players, drew the goalkeeper out of his goal, rolled the ball to his left and coolly finished with his left foot. Finn Rydzyk, having moved to right back at half time had an excellent half and made it look like he had played in that position for his whole time at the club. Caleb and Logan swapped again for the final fifteen, with Caleb going in goal, Logan pushing into a midfield three and Ellis joining Ben as an attacking pair. Finley O'Neill, having moved into midfield at half time, played a huge part in almost total domination in the second half. With Ellis Shore creating chance after chance up front in the second half, being desperately unlucky and deserving at least a goal for his brilliant hard work, it was Finley who made it five following some good approach play from Ben which included a "flip flap" and a nutmeg before setting Finley up for a left footed finished into the bottom corner from the edge of the box.
All in all, a decent performance against a side from a lower division. who themselves put on a decent performance. Well done to both teams. The only downside was the three injuries to Kirk Hallam lads.