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Semi Finals - Under 13s Report - 7 Sept 2015

Posted: 07-Sep-2015 by Hakoah Sydney City East Football Club

By Andrew Fraser

Hakoah suffered a heavy 5-0 defeat in their Major Semi-Final, against a strong Central Coast side. 

It was back in March at the season launch, that Mark Robertson talked about the importance of sticking together. He said there would be good times when everything goes well, when it will be easy. But he said, there will also be the tough times, when things just don’t go our way. Today was one of the tough times. 

The game got off to a promising start, with some lively passing and a Jawad Karnib effort on goal. But it didn’t take long for Central Coast to show how dangerous they were on the break. We were 1-0 down after five minutes: a well-struck Central Coast shot from outside the box that Noah Feilich could do little about. A second goal came only a couple of minutes later. Knuckles recovered well after an over-optimistic foray outside his box, only to be wrong-footed by a well-placed Central Coast strike. 

Hakoah were shaken by the double-blow. There was good perseverance as the boys focused on getting the basics right, but their response was all about digging deep and doggedness, and they fell some way short of their best.  

Their perseverance nearly paid off. In the seventeenth minute, after some good pressure, a Zach Sapsford header bounced down off the bar. Did it cross the line? Appeals were turned down. A pivotal decision, with a crushing consequence. Central Coast immediately broke and their impressive No.9 completed a well-deserved hat trick. From nearly pulling back to 2-1, to 3-0 down in the space of a couple of minutes. 

We did have other chances. A Zach Sapsford shot from the right, an Adam Strasser effort after some good Hakoah passing, and an Ollie Jones free kick that went just wide. But we didn’t have our usual belief today. Central Coast always looked the more polished and confident of the two teams. Their fourth goal came in the 25th minute, Knuckles left exposed after a nervy back pass was intercepted. 4-0 down at half time.  

There was an impressive moment as the boys came out from the break. Showing solidarity and resolve, the boys joined together in a team huddle to re-set themselves for the second half. It’s easy to gather around the wheelie bin and belt out the Hakoah victory song after a win. Any team can do that. Much harder to pull together as a team when you’re trailing by four goals, with another thirty minutes still to play. It was the sense of sticking together that Mark had talked about.  

Although we never threatened to overturn the result, the second half was much better. The early passing was good and Alexander Robertson was spreading the ball around in midfield. In the 33rd minute a Timmy Scott cross was headed just wide by Sapsford and there was a feeling that a goal must be on its way to reward Hakoah efforts. A goal did come, but it was yet another for Central Coast: a good strike from the right that dipped into the Hakoah net.  

In the final ten minutes, we created more chances. Jared Klevianski pushed the ball just wide and then hit the post a couple of minutes later, and a Robertson shot was brilliantly tipped over the bar by a very good and very tall Central Coast keeper. It just wasn’t our day. 

Central Coast were the better team today. They were tighter in defence, they closed us down and made it hard for us to play, they were more dangerous on the break and, above all, they took their chances. Also, there’s no getting away from it, this was a flawed performance from Hakoah and a disappointing scoreline.   


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