Herons Secure Friendly Victory in away Derby.
By Ian Blackburn
Croftons' newest U7s team the Panthers no match for Stubbington Herons
Saturday welcomed the arrival of two new Herons to the team with Noah and Jonathon both making their debut appearances in the best footballing weather conditions so far this year. It didn't take long for the Herons to gain a foothold in this game with the opening goal around the 3-minute mark. The joy within the team and amongst the parents was good to see and the confidence and belief this gave the players propelled them to a second goal just a couple of minutes after. A chance of note saw Daisy take the ball away from a Crofton defender on the right wing, she then beat his attempted tackle with a skillful turn and followed it up with a perfectly weighted pass through to Joshua only for the Crofton GK to make one of a quite a few good saves. They didn't have to wait long though before Jonathon scored his hat-trick and Herons third with a half-volley over the GK from the edge of the box. Crofton Panthers to their credit didn't give up the fight and despite some solid defending from Noah, Daisy, Ben, and Oliver, in the first half they managed to break free on a counter attack and grab a goal hitting the ball to Olivers' right as he came rushing out and it went into the goal. The Herons re-doubled their efforts after this and managed to regain their three-goal lead before halftime.
The second half continued in the same vein as the first with the Herons dominating the Panthers and, by winning the ball high up the pitch when losing possession, the goals continued to come. Some great break-aways for Josh and Jonathon working well together continued to put pressure on the Panthers and the whole Herons team looked to want to get forward and play the game in the oppositions half. This resulted in a few Panthers counter-attacks, although it seemed there was always one Heron track back in time to prevent another goal being conceded, whether it was the pace and strength of Noah, the calm foot on the ball from Daisy or the tenacious determination of Ben and Oliver. With no further goals from Crofton Panthers in the second half, it was the match completion of a hat-trick of hat-tricks from Debutant Jonathon which stole the show. The highlight of his goals coming when a pass through from Joshua came back to Jonathon off a Crofton defender at the right-hand edge of the area, with a touch of flair he sent the defender one way and turned the other before showing great technique with a chip shot over the keeper and into the top left corner of the goal.
Two great debut games and an all-around good performance saw the Herons run-away winners in the end and full of confidence for their next fixture at Home in a friendly against Gosport Borough.