JUNIOR FEATURED GAME: Bolton Lads and Girls against PLCC Nomads enjoy Silent weekend
THIS game took me back to my teenage years remembering the Starsailor anthem ‘Silence Is Easy’.
But for the coaches and parents there was nothing simple about the Lancashire FA’s Silent Weekend scheme.
Instead of parents shouting instructions from the sidelines, you could have been fooled for thinking you were listening to one of those soothing countryside CDs in shops.
Birds were singing sweet music in the trees around Hacken Lane but it was the kids that were pulling the strings and leading a merry tune of football on the pitch.
Bolton Lads and Girls Club deserve a lot of credit for being so well-organised as spectators were given a leaflet with clear list of do’s and don’ts at the entrance.
There was a spectator sin bin area but luckily no-one from the under-9s v PLCC were sent to it.
It was not just the parents who were under strict instructions that only team-mates on the touchline could be given instructions and coaches could only applaud good play by both sides.
They could only talk to the children before the game and at half time which with 30 minutes of play to sum up even I was struggling to get to grips with the fast-paced action.
One positive was that the players were always encouraging each other but there was very little needed for the home team as Ethan Smith put the Lads and Girls ahead after five minutes.
After some fine enterprise the striker blasted the ball past the keeper – much to the delight of the clapping but not shouting support.
PLCC then drove forward, Zayd Dasu played a super ball across the box but Serge Faye could not divert it goalward.
The visitors looked hungry for an equaliser but some great defending by Kmari McKenzie stopped Jameel Patel after a menacing run.
Smith was a thorn in the Nomads side all morning and he bagged his second in spectacular fashion.
How fitting was it on FA Cup weekend that the striker should score a goal reminiscent of one of the competition’s most spectacular strikes.
He burst towards the Nomads defence and hit an unstoppable shot in off the crossbar which keeper Nick Watson could do nothing about, just like Roberto Di Matteo’s goal for Chelsea in the 1997 final.
Unfortunately, there was to be no rest for the Nomads as BLGC built on their momentum.
Thomas Padmore took on the visiting defence down the right before firing a shot into the net.
Despite the flurry of goals it did not reflect both sides giving it their all and there was some great passing and movement.
As the half wore on, Nomads got more possession and almost pulled one goal back before the break when Amman Allou turned and his shot rattled the crossbar.
The visitors committed more people forward as the game wore on and Dean Atcha watched his effort go wide before Jameel Patel got his reward for a fine display pulling one goal back.
The half-time team talk offered an opportunity for both managers to talk to the players again and reinforce their good play.
This was a game where not a lot of emphasis was on the defenders but they played their part in the spectacle.
Jay-Jay Warrington made a timely tackle to stop a certain goal after the break.
That set up Smith for his hat-trick goal as Ryan Taylor fed the striker and, cool as you like, he stroked the ball home.
There were still more than 20 minutes left, but the game was played at a high tempo with chances for Jack Needham while the Nomads enjoyed opportunities for Dasis, Serge Faye.
As the final whistle went there was lots of cheering for both teams – and sets of spectators – and these youngsters had showed they are developing into passionate and enterprising players.
Silent weekend will have its critics whilst at the same time picking up plaudits.
The question is if we will see the likes of Jose Mourinho and Dougie Freedman doing it in the upper echelons of the sport?
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