Thursday the 4th of September.
Youths U17 Passage 1 Evergreen 2.
Old habits die hard. Within 2 minutes of kick-off Passage gave away an early goal. A penalty. Then they woke up a little and started to play, getting most of the possession and creating chances.
A run by Maciek Jany took him to the edge of the Evergreen penalty area. He laid the ball off to Craig Crowley who hit a lovely shot that was narrowly wide.
Craig came close with another effort shortly after. Neat passing between Maciek and Joe Brown led to Eoin Daly getting a shot in. Then Joe had a go, hitting the ball with his left foot. It was on target but so was the keeper.
The equaliser finally came after half-an-hour. A series of passes launched an attack, with Joe Bintou feeding Craig Crowley, who knocked it across the box to an unmarked Joe Brown to make it 1-1.
There were more attempts on the Evergreen goal. Maciek blasted a shot from outside the penalty area which the keeper did well to save, and Joe Brown went on a great run on the right-wing and crossed an even better ball into the box. Unfortunately, there wasn’t anyone there to take advantage.
The next attempt would have been a contender for goal of the season if it had gone in. Eoin Horgan rampaging from his own half thundered a shot from way out that the keeper tipped onto the bar.
At the other end Dylan Murphy came off his line and made an outstanding save. He didn’t just make himself big – he was like an octopus, and somehow got a hand to parry what looked like a certain goal for the visitors.
Before the half-time whistle Evergreen won a corner, which one of their smaller players headed without any real power, the ball looping over the heads of everyone in front of him and dropping just inside the post. It was a soft goal – not that Evergreen cared.
After the re-start Mohi Perata came on. Passage kept pressing, Evergreen kept defending. The inability to make anything of their possession led to frustration in the Passage team, which gained two yellow cards.
From one cross the ball fell to Joe Bintou just beyond the far post. If it hit him it might have gone in, but he hit it, and over the bar it went. There were other fruitless scrambles in the penalty area, the Evergreen keeper playing well to keep Passage at bay.
It was a game Passage could have won. And throughout, though they created chances, there were often too hurried in their build-up play. A tendency to overplay the ball and not keep things simple didn’t help either.
Sunday the 7th of September.
Youths U17 ST. MARY’S 1 PASSAGE 2.
It’s rare to see a team leave the field after a win and not be happy. But Passage made hard work of this one and could easily have lost it. And they knew it.
They started brightly enough. On a glorious afternoon out in Kilcully they created a number of early chances and looked ready to steamroller the opposition. On 15 minutes Joe Bintou got behind the defence, pushed the ball wide of the keeper, and hit an angled shot into the far corner. 1-0 to Passage.
One minute later it might have been 1-1. A Mary’s player, through on goal, hit the ball hard. Dylan Murphy, quick off his line, got a hand to it and knocked it away to safety.
A few minutes later Joe Brown was brought down as he ran into the Mary’s penalty area. Maciek Jany stepped up and made it 2-0.
Passage, it seemed, were beginning to get control. On the half-hour a Joe Brown shot brought out the best in the Mary’s keeper. But just as things started to look up, the game got scrappy. Some slack play by Passage saw St. Mary’s coming back into the game.
Just after the re-start Craig Crowley played a lovely through ball to Joe Brown, who got crowded out in the penalty area. Then Maciek played another one. It seemed only a matter of time before they extended the lead.
In defence Eoin Horgan made a great clearance and put in some brilliant tackles to stake his claim to be Passage’s most consistent performer this season.
Up front Joe Bintou was tireless, chasing every ball and making life hard for the Mary’s defence. But then some sloppy play and a ball that spent too long in the Passage penalty area, led to a goal. 2-1. Mary’s felt they were back in this game.
Continued pressure led to a corner and a header hitting the bar. Pressing for an equaliser left Marys open at the back. A Passage counter-attack saw Joe Bintou out-pacing his marker and getting in a shot that was saved.
Shortly afterwards Eoin Horgan got injured and limped off, replaced by Eoin Daly, who went to left-back while Jeff Hayden went to right-back.
The game too limped on. But at least Passage got the win, and after a busy few weeks of games they finally have a chance to get in some much-needed work on the training ground.