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Club News

Academy Update

27 January 2015

The latest news from the U's younger age groups.

Academy – Festivals 

Here's what's been happening, with thanks to Academy Manager Tony Ashby.

Not only have we seen the recent opening of the Warriors Rest indoor pitch, but the Academy teams have had plenty of games. 
It has not only been a busy month on and off the pitch for the U's first team, but the Academy has also been enjoying a football filled start to the year.
January has given the age groups a chance to play in Premier League festivals and tournaments using many of the clubs indoor facilities to host events, and giving teams to play each other in smaller games and special games conditions.

Our U11s went to Bedford to play in a Futsal festival with Ipswich and Charlton.

The futsal tournament format was to play 8 matches across the day.  These games lasted 12 minutes each.  

It took the group a few games to get used to the rules and pace of the game.  Early in the day we struggled to build up play, often playing straight into pressure.  Our reactions to transitions were also slow at times.

As the games went on, the players adapted to the conditions well.  As a group they were winning more 1v1 duals in both an attacking and defending sense.  

Our reactions to transitions were also quicker and we ended up scoring a number of goals on the counter attack as a result.  Both Max Sherlock and Tommy Johnson performed well and took on the challenges well given by the coaches.

Our U12s went to Norwich to play Ipswich, Charlton and Norwich in an all day festival.

All teams played 6 v 6 games and each period was 8 minutes long. The rules of the games got teams to work when opposition had overloads 7 v 5 and the key theme of the day was scoring goals.

We kept possession well over all the games, better than our opposition, but struggled to have an end product in the final third in the early games.

Once we grew in confidence and took opportunities to shoot, the goals came and end the day on a positive high. Gene Kennedy, Thomas Stagg and Taylor Stigant all performed well over the day and their confidence grew as each game went well.

The U13s went to Ipswich to play Watford, and Ipswich in a 6v6 festival on tight areas.

The games played in morning were at very rushed pace with some further decision making required on when to go forward, although the teams did create plenty of shooting chances.

There was some good link play within some of the group.  In the afternoon the games became a little slower with possession the key theme from all sides.  

This resulted in our opponents playing out from the back and over passing where they could have played forward and as a result we started to win and draw games as we pressed higher.  

Overall, we had too many touches on the ball, but when reducing this the boys scored some really well worked and creative goals. 

Academy Games v Football In The Community
As part of our continued links with the community programme, we arranged games between FITC and Academy squads.

Under 10s
FITC U11s brought a good side along to play our U10s academy, in which we struggled to cope with the pace and the strength of the community side.

With this being the U10s first week back since the Christmas break they seemed to lack that turn of pace which was seen before the break.  Ben Haddock worked hard against stronger opposition and Toby Beeson performed well in goal.

Under 12s
FITC U13s worked hard against our U12s earning a 2-2 result. Both teams played to the club's philosophy, looking to play out from the back and through the thirds. There was some good creative play from both sides giving plenty opportunities for teams to score without success.  
The Academy players had a good performance, especially against players who were a year older and in some cases two years older. It was a competitive game and it challenged the players enough to allow them to solve problems in terms of playing out from the back.

The team created plenty of choices and did seem to be more willing to shoot (taking the feedback from the tournament). The players also showed some real quality to play their way out of trouble and under pressure with short sharp one and two touch play.

Under 14s 
After playing West Ham 24 hours earlier, FITC gave our squad a hard game and looked to get into forward areas quickly. Both teams showed good creativity in the final third and ir became a good opportunity for us to look at the FITC squad, with one or two players performing well for us to have a further look at.

Joe Skillicorn did very well over the weekend against both West Ham and FITC, looking at linking play in forward areas and he was very creative in possession.

Under 16s v Crystal Palace
This was one of the youngest U16s squads we've fielded (3 U16s, 1 trialist U16, 7 U15s + 2 U14s) and  without doubt the youngest line-up on paper.

However, we actually had the better of the first half (more possession, more territory and a host of free-kicks in the final third), but we came in 1-2 behind after they scored in the dying seconds off a deflected shot.  

We became even younger for the 2nd half and conceded two goals straight away which for 20 minutes affected morale and decision-making which meant we didn't have anywhere near the same possession of the ball.

We did recover and the last 15 minutes were pretty even. We never gave up in terms of effort, but ran out of legs.

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