|Date||9th January 2017|
|Competition||Herts County Cup|
|Kick-off Time||12:00 pm|
|Result||Won 8 ‐ 2|
First game back after the festive break saw Maccabi Lions U16s face Wheathampstead Wanderers Stags in the County Cup. The weather was kind and our home pitch in immaculate condition. From the off we had the upper hand, Wheathampstead had some squad injuries resulting in them fielding a depleted team. That said, it was the quarter finals of the County Cup and we knew we still needed to be at our best.
We set the early pace and dominated possession playing some good technical football against Wheathampstead who were set up quite defensively. Some good early chances for Lions went begging but JJ found the net after 18 minutes calming our nerves (particularly the manager’s!). Lions from the kick off won back possession with a tenacious tackle by Sam who linked with JJ who slotted a perfectly weighted ball to Louis P who went head to head with Wheathampstead’s captain and central defender, Louis under pressure got his shot away (2-0).
Our bench was very strong and after twenty Rafi, Sam and Freddy made way for Scott, Joey and Ben. Our boys continued to threaten and were having the lion share of the possession. Jake, Ben, JJ and Benjy were dominating the middle and we looked a cohesive unit across the park. DJ and Joel were introduced after 30 with Benjy and Louis Laz taking a breather and Sam coming back on with Scott taking a knock and Benjy back on for JJ. After some more patient football, DJ received the ball from Josh A (captain) and slotted a ball through for Louis P to calmly make it 3-0. Lions looked confident and were pushing on to make sure the game was safe. Jake A had a goal disallowed for being offside but our best team move of the first half saw Joel finish superbly, 4-0 Lions at half time.
The second half was different, Wheathampstead came at us more and started to get beyond our back four. Gaps opened on the back of our offensive mindset and whilst we did get our fifth through Benjy, Wheathampstead pulled one back (5-1). We remained comfortable and in control and Joel went close hitting the crossbar but allowed Louis P to get his hat trick tidying up and neatly finishing. Joel did manage to get on the end of another well worked team move, getting his second, Lions 7-1 with 10 minutes to go. Wheathampstead to their credit continued to press and got their second. Lions though finished the game with another goal, Benjy getting his second and Lions roared in to the semi finals of the County Cup 8-2 victors. Plenty of positives with some very fluid and positive football across the park.