Vital Leeds: Oakwood Owls Update
The Oakwood Owls regular league fixture was cancelled this week, gifting them a glorious 7-0 win automatically. Not content with this Rod Christopher’s side enjoyed a goal filled friendly match and here’s his report on the day.
Oakwood Owls 9-7 NPL
Friday’s league match at Soccer City was cancelled after their opponents FC Leeds failed to turn up, meaning a 7-0 walkover and 3 valuable points added to the Oakwood Owls total. A friendly match was organised by the centre instead as our 6 man squad had travelled almost 10 miles across the city to be involved in a competitive match here. We were pitted against NPL Boys from the centres U15s Championship League, in a standard 25 minute match.
The early stages carried a typical friendly match atmosphere, as both sides looked to play full blooded attacking football from the offset. This approach was always going to produce fireworks and the supporter’s weren’t to be disappointed today. The result was a football treat, ending up as a 16 goal thriller! The game had burst into life within 6 minutes as an Owl’s double sucker-punch put them in early control followed by two strikes by captain Rodley that gave the Owls early breathing space. Owino netted after a three man move to move them even further ahead. On 11 minutes, a penalty brought NPL back into it, after the Owls keeper struggled to hold onto a hard low driven shot, then managed to fall out of his area! The penalty was dispatched comfortably to bring the game to 3 - 1 Owls.
Temple, Owino and new boy Nti added more misery for NPL with skilful finishes after a period of sustained Owls pressure carved their opponents defence apart, putting them further ahead on 16 minutes. At 6-1 two Oakwood defensive errors and a fantastic NPL volleyed strike put the tie at 6 - 3, then a quickly taken free kick offered them hope, as the Owls' lead became slender.
Rodley bagged his hat-trick, after latching onto a loose pass back, then coolly slipping the ball under the keepers' outstretched arm to make it 7-4 Owls. NPL continued to make chances too though and they caused Oakwood problems with a number of good attacking plays. Their persistence eventually reaped success when they scored 2 great team goals to reduce the deficit to just one, and the Owls were stunned again on the 21 minute mark, when NPL were awarded a second penalty in the match, again hit home to restore parity with 4 minutes left.
The Owls superior team ethic seemed to take effect from here, with their performance appearing to go up a few gears during the final phase, with 2 outstanding five man passing moves ending in the back of the NPL net. Excellent one and two touch finishes by Temple gave the Owls a well deserved victory at 9-7.
“As today’s game got closer we prepared and set out our stall to play a league game. We all looked forward to a competitive league match and we're obviously disappointed not to be been playing for points. It was however a very good learning curve for us at the end of the day. I really do think we're getting stronger as a group by the week and this game turned out to be a quite physical encounter. It was perhaps over physical at times, but I felt we came through it with flying colours.
We worked hard together and came out on top again against much bigger, physically stronger opponents in the end. The squad is in really good shape right now. They are enjoying their football and these experiences together.
I think our team’s attitude towards games and each other is becoming a real strength to the group, and I also believe that this will bear serious fruition very soon. We win, lose or draw together, without individual blame and this is a very important ingredient for any team that wants to be successful. There is no 'I' in TEAM and our squad has a very good understanding of that, which is great to see.
We are very much in it together and you just cannot buy the brilliant team spirit that we carry with us. There’s a saying that ''good things come to those who wait'' and I’m certainly enjoying watching the players develop as a unit, both as a coach and also as football fan in general. The wait for good things is a very exiting one!”
Owls Squad: Richardson, Owino, Nti, Rodley (Capt) and Temple
Men of the Match: Nti and Richardson
If you want to learn more about the Oakwood Owls, or are interested in joining the Owls you can visit their website at www.oakwoodowls.leedslearning.org/.
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