Tough Lessons Learnt For City U.13s
By Graham Hadler
Buoyant Hythe Sink City U.13s
Canterbury City U.13s came back down to earth with a bump after their cup success the previous week losing 5-0 away to Hythe Town.
Having struggled on a miniscule pitch in the cup game City found themselves at the other extreme with a huge pitch which Hythe eventually exploited to their benefit and City ultimately struggled to cope with.
Keeper Jake Richards pulled off a smart save to his left in the second minute which might have been a warning sign early on but City then enjoyed the next 20 minutes as the side looking most likely to score with Salman Cody-Yediali having a shot saved from distance, Atticus Shaw shooting over and Cody-Yediali forcing another save from 22 yards from a free kick just wide of the box.
Hythe looked dangerous on the break though and on 24 minutes their diminutive winger danced his way into the box where skipper Oliver Hadler’s last gasp challenge clipped the wingers heels that resulted in a penalty for Hythe that was duly dispatched past Richards.
The Hythe players seemed surprised themselves to be awarded another penalty six minutes later as the small winger turned into and bounced off and fell over the stationary but much larger Leo Pynn. However, the official saw it differently and the penalty was again well taken past Richards.
On the stroke of half time City had concerns for Hadler when throwing himself in front of a fierce drive that took him off his feet as it struck him on the side of the head and caused him to fall heavily to the ground. Despite initial worries for his welfare, as he lay prone on the turf, he was fortunately able to walk from the pitch but was to take no further part in the match.
City now had to reorganise their personnel but the shake-up meant City’s spine struggled to adapt.
The beginning of the second half saw City start brightly enough and a typically rampaging run by Charlie Rabenda made serious inroads to the Hythe box. Crossing from the by-line his centre to Cailun Tapsell looked like a tap in but was brilliantly blocked on the line by the Hythe centre back.
Pulling a goal back you could’ve seen City putting up a real fight and Hythe start to wobble but with the chance gone Hythe were spurred on whilst City visibly deflated.
Joint champions in their league last year Hythe just grew and grew in confidence and drove relentlessly forward now utilising the space they were creating all over the pitch.
On 52 minutes a fine strike from the edge of the box evaded the finger tips of Richards to make it 3-0 and, after hitting the post, moments later Hythe worked a clever corner routine to cross and score to make it four for the home side.
With two minutes to go Richards made a valiant save but the ball fell unkindly to the Hythe striker to make it 5-0.
Despite heads dropping at the final whistle City could look at moments of real quality in their play and will use the experience of playing on all sizes of pitch as a valuable lesson learnt as the team grows but also how to adapt to playing in different positions than normal when adversity strikes the team.