Leckhampton Rovers FC
Leckhampton Rovers FC

Date Added 02/07/2018

U18's League Cup Final
Painswick (⚽️) v (⚽️⚽️⚽️) LRFC Cougars

LRFC went into this game looking different. They had an aura that was different to league matches. This team knows how to win cups and now has a record of 3 out of 4. It is also in cups where they have beaten Painswick before even if they have been unable to do so in leagues.

The Cheltenham Town pitch looked great bathed in glorious sunshine and 25 degree temperatures. A lovely playing surface and one that suited the way LRFC wanted to play.

Learning lessons from the last league encounter LRFC started the game much the quicker and immediately imposed their pace and tempo on the game.

They created an opening, Luca cutting in from the left hit a diagonal pass that Alf, who had a very strong game, latched onto. His goal bound shot left the keeper rooted to the spot and as everyone held their breath the ball came back off the upright.

This was one of 5 shots that LRFC saw come back off the frame of the goal. But for the width of a post it could have been 8-1!

The opening goal followed not long after. The ball was cleared long towards luca, his header into Gus’ path saw him drop the defender, he then cut across the goal and as the keeper closed him down slotted calmly into the open net. Every other player would have taken the shot early and probably hit the keeper. The quality of the movement meant it was either a goal or if the keeper brought him down, a penalty.

1-0 and totally deserved lead.

The second goal came from the same route. A Luca header to Gus who put LRFC 2-0 up.

Painswick remained a threat but were limited to playing long direct balls for their bigger players to try and get on the end of. This was as much to do with LRFC dominating midfield. On a big pitch they were able to find space and had the technical ability to retain possession and look to release the front players. This was typified by Jacob who had the game of his life in the centre. Aligning his quality with a massive work rate he was always in the right place and always made the right decision. A fitting finale for this finest of players.

Alongside him LRFC started with Jaden and Ryan. Using their tenacity and tough tackling to win the ball back, LRFC wanting to make sure they were in the game for as long as possible.

At the back they started with Sam and Tom as full backs and Ben along side George in the centre. Will, ever present, our captain in goal with orange tape around his socks in support of muscular dystrophy foundation.

As the half continued LRFC were much more dominant with the Painswick keeper much the busier.

The half played out to 2-0.

Second half Painswick started strong and following indecision in the LRFC area equalised. The momentum immediately swung in their favour. Whereas LRFC had been dominant with the ball in the air as Painswick sent in high balls LRFC was now looking jittery and unconvincing.

They were able to resist this onslaught with Ben making an incredible last ditch tackle in the box. If it was mistimed it would have been a penalty but Ben doesn’t mistime tackles. With Will commanding his box to either make catches or punch clear LRFC survived this pressure. They were then able to restore their 2 goal advantage with Gus completing his hat-trick. Turning just inside the box he found himself unmarked and hit a shot into the bottom corner evading the keepers dive.

3-1 and how the game would finish.

LRFC used the subs tactically to give them the best shot of the result. There was no rotation policy here. Freddie was first into the fray from the bench, replacing Ryan this was a very significant change not least of all because this was Freddie’s goal when he came back from ACL surgery. Managing his comeback, picking up his training and game time this was the culmination of that patience and effort.

Jorge came on for Alf and made an immediate impact. His role was cut short because of a heavy fall on his shoulder but for the 20 minutes he played he was totally involved in the game. Showed all the desire and commitment that this team needed and put Painswick under pressure. He was unlucky not to score with a shot that the keeper tipped onto the crossbar.

At the back, Billy replaced Ben who took a place in midfield for Jaden. Billy’s no nonsense defending was crucial back there. Sometimes you just need to defend and this is exactly what he did.

At the final whistle the LRFC players were ecstatic. Cup winners again!!

To draw a line under 10 years of playing in the league with an emphatic win was perfect. The manner of victory too was impressive. They had won by imposing their style of play on an opposition that couldn’t match them.

The MotM award was given to Will. There was one save he made that even had it gone in would have been ruled for offside but he didn’t know that as he threw his body forward and got enough on the ball to see it loop over the bar.

He put his body on the line in this game and was deserving of the award.

On days like these you need a team performance and that is what LRFC gave. The full squad was there, Lewis who is on his own comeback from injury found the game too soon but was there with the lads.

It was similar for Hayden and Connor, both unused substitutes. It’s hard to be in this position but this was an occasion where the victory was really all that mattered and managing the players to achieve that was the goal.

The presentation in front of the LRFC fans was a wonderful moment for all involved.

A superb team display, the right desire and commitment and the result it deserved.

Marcus Bosano

Team Manager