This is the write up of all the matches from the Football Academy tour of Canada in June 2015.
Moreton vs. Blaise – 21st June 2015
After two days of settling into Canadian life Moreton were clearly keen to get off to a good start in their first game against Blaze, pressuring high and moving the ball quickly. After 10 minutes a good cross from the right winger found its way to Moreton’s attacking midfielder who fired a half volley into the roof of the net. Blaze however reacted well and the next 15 minutes saw them enjoy long spells of possession. It was quickly evident that this was going to be a tough game for Moreton to win. With excellent passing from Blaze they cut through Moreton’s midfield on numerous occasions and looked very dangerous. 25 minutes into the game blaze scored with a volley from 30 yards. Although The goal keeper should have kept the shot out it wasn’t anything less than Blaise deserved. The final 15 minutes of the half saw Blaise continue to enjoy possession and stretched Moreton in very hot weather. Moreton did however look dangerous on the counter attack with the striker narrowly missing several one on ones.
At half time Jeff Ashton stressed the importance of holding our shape and looking to hit Blaise on the counter attack. Moreton took this on board perfectly and looked defensively excellent. Although Blaise had more of the ball they couldn’t penetrate at all. Moreton waited patiently and looked like scoring every time on the counter attack. 60 minutes in a great low cross from the left back found its way to the striker who tapped home to make it 2-1. 10 minutes later an almost identical goal was scored when the left back ran from deep with the ball, crossed into the striker who calmly passed the ball into the bottom right hand corner making it 3-1. The final goal came from the right winger. After a great run he cut inside and whipped the ball into the centre forward. His first touch was a great turn which allowed him to simply strike the ball passed the keeper for 4-1 finishing off his hatrick. Although 4-1 would appear a dominant result Moreton had to work very hard against a very talented side. A lot of learning took place in this match.
Result Moreton 4 – Blaise 1
Moreton vs. Mountain United – 22nd June 2015
Having learnt from the last match Moreton approached the game in a disciplined manner holding their shape and moving the ball quickly. Again it was obvious straight away that this would be a tough game. Both teams started well. The tempo and the quality of the game was high. 15 minutes into the game a good move from the midfield and the centre forward allowed Moreton to break through on goal. A good save and a good defensive clearance prevented Moreton from taking the lead. On the 29th minute the Moreton defence prevented a dangerous attack from mountain. Once they had regained possession they quickly passed the ball to the right winger. The right winger ran at pace with ball up the line, coasted past one player then cut inside and struck a venomous shot into the bottom left hand corner leaving the keeper on chance. The score was deservedly 1-0 at half time to Moreton.
For the first 15 minutes of the second half Moreton continued to play well and the game was fairly even. However Moreton began to tire and give the ball away carelessly. Mountain really began to apply the pressure pushing players forward and keeping the ball for long spells. Thankfully Moreton’s back four held there shape and contained the onslaught. Two fine saves from Moreton’s goalkeeper also helped. The game was becoming very tense and Mountain were becoming frustrated. In the 80th minute the mountain were awarded a free kick. One of Moreton’s centre backs picked the ball up to slow the game down. Out of nowhere one of the mountain midfielders ran towards the centre back, pushed him and then slapped him in the face. A melee broke out with players from both sides pushing and shoving. The referee stepped in and gave a red card to the Mountain player for violent conduct. The last 10. Minutes were unsurprisingly tense. Moreton managed to hold onto a very hard thought victory. It was very clear the team had taken a lot from the previous game into this match.
Result Moreton 1 – Mountain United 0
Moreton vs. Richmond 23rd June 2015
Moreton’s third game in three days was always going to be physically demanding. With three injured players the squad was looking a little thin. Nether the less Moreton fielded a strong side that showed exceptional character to make it 3 wins in three.
Yet again Moreton started the game well. Chances came early for Moreton with the striker and both wingers coming close. However the deadlock was broken in the 19th minute when the left winger drove into the box. From here he performed step overs, turns and various skills making it very difficult for Richmond to tackle him. The centre back dived in with a terrible challenge on the winger. Immediately the referee gave a penalty. How he didn’t give the player at least a yellow card we will never know. The left winger stepped up to the penalty with confidence and slotted it in the bottom right hand corner making it 1-0. Moreton seemed quite comfortable at this point passing the ball in all areas off the pitch. However 30 minutes in disaster struck. The right back played a pass to the keeper which was well waited and gave the keeper plenty of time. However the keeper panicked and lost control allowing the oncoming striker to slot the ball home to make it 1-1. After the goal Richmond gained confidence and began piling pressure on Moreton’s defence. Five minutes before half time Richmond’s centre midfielder played a long through ball to the striker who took an excellent touch to take the ball away from the centre back. He then struck the ball into the bottom right hand corner to make it 2-1.
Moreton started the second half well creating several good chances. After 15 minutes it was Richmond’s keepers turn to make the mistake. After taking too long to decide where to pass the ball Moreton’s striker tackled him and passed the ball home for 2-2. Moreton played excellent football from this point really pushing forward and making chances. In the 75th minute Moreton substitute midfielder broke down the left hand side crossed the ball in low to the striker who volleyed home for his second goal of the game. Richmond reacted and had several good shots on goal. However a few great saves from Moreton’s substitute keeper meant that Moreton held onto the 3-2 victory to make it three in three.
Result Moreton 3 – Richmond 2
Moreton vs. Kamloops Soccer Association
Having won three in three, Moreton travelled 4 hours deeper into the country to face Kamloops. The game was the talk of the town in Kamloops, with the local radio, photographers and several hundred people turning up. The match was an evening kick off and even at that time it was 37 degrees. Moreton were especially excited by this game as it was the first match on grass. The pitch was perfect.
Although pumped up for the game Moreton didn’t start that well conceding possession easily multiple times. Kamloops had a few early chances to take the lead just firing wide. However Moreton persevered and began to move the ball quicker. In the 24th minute Moreton’s centre midfielder pressured the keeper after a short back pass. After a heavy tackle the centre midfielder won the back and tapped it in to make in 1-0. Ten minutes later Moreton’s left back played an excellent through ball in between the two Kamloops centre back to Moreton’s top goal scoring striker. The striker approach goal a calmly rounded the keeper and slotted the ball into the net to make it 2-0. After 15 minutes of good play from Moreton mistakes began to creep in again and Kamloops began to apply pressure again. It was obvious that Moreton were finding the heat difficult. The first half ended 2-0 to Moreton.
After a passionate half time team talk from Jeff Ashton, Moreton came out with a game plan to keep the ball and be direct at the right time. The boys took this on board and within minutes Moreton were playing excellent football, making 20-30 passes without losing possession. Kamloops were desperate to win the ball back and began pressing high leaving themselves exposed. On the 53rd minute Moreton’s striker received the ball on the edge of the box, turned and hit a curving shot over the keeper into the top right hand corner to make it 3-0. Just five minutes later Moreton’s right winger who had been a threat all game, received a pass on the edge of the box. Instead of taking a touch he struck the ball first time with venom and curve which again hit the top right hand corner. Moreton were cruising at this point creating chance after chance. Kamloops were struggling to cope. A cross from the right winger was met by Moreton’s striker who hit the ball on the volley. The shot gave the keeper no chance as he watched the ball hit the top left hand corner to make it 5-0 and complete the striker’s hatrick. In the last minute of the game Kamloops won a corner. Desperate to get a goal they put everyone into the box. The corner was a good one and after some poor defending the ball dropped to Kamloops left winger who smashed the ball home to make it 5-1 and give the home crowed something to celebrate. In fairness Kamloops deserved a goal as they had played well.
Result Moreton 5 – Kamloops 1
Kelowna Soccer Tournament
Match 1 – Moreton vs. Calgen Athletico
Moreton started the cup competition well. An early kick off suited Moreton as it was still quite cool. 10 minutes into the game Moreton’s right midfielder went passed two players and hit the ball into the bottom corner. Just 3 minutes later Moreton struck again. Moreton’s centre forward made a long run which was found by the right back. He went round the keeper and tapped in. Five minutes before half time Moreton’s striker scored a third from a cross to put the game to bed. The second half saw two more goals, one from the right back and one from the right midfielder made the game 5-0.
Results – Moreton 5 – Calgen Athletico 0
Match 2 – Moreton vs. Kelowna United
Moreton’s second game of the first day was at the worst time of the day possible with kick off at 2.00pm. Having already played in the morning and the temperature at 36 degrees this was going to be tough. For the first time during the tour Moreton looked laboured and off their usual pace. Kelowna were playing well enjoying long phases of possession. It was Clear they knew how important keeping the ball was in such tough conditions. Just before half time Moreton failed to clear a cross which rebounded several times inside the box before being hit home by Kelowna’s winger. The first half ended 1-0. The second half was going to be an uphill struggle. Kelowna continued to keep the ball well. 15 minutes into the half Moreton broke forward with numbers. The left winger ran to the bi line crossed the ball which was met by the forward who’s first time shot was saved by the keeper. Kelowna’s centre backs defended excellently well and gave few opportunities for Moreton to score. In the last few minutes of the game Moreton committed most of their players forward in an attempt to get the equaliser. Unfortunately, Kelowna won the ball back and countered with pace. The left winger broke away, passed the ball to the strike who’s shot was rebounded only to be tapped in by a centre midfielder to make it 2-0 with seconds left.
Results – Moreton 0 – Kelowna United 2
Match 3 -Moreton vs. Westhills United
After Moreton’s first defeat of the campaign, they fired back in the right style and thumped Westhills. A constant onslaught saw goals coming from the forwards and midfielders with the right winger scoring a hatrick
Results – Moreton 8 – Westhills United 0
Match 4 – Moreton vs. Camrose FC
In exactly the same style Moreton thumped Camrose 8-0. They couldn’t cope with the pace and technical skill of Moreton and at no point looked like scoring. A man of the match performance from the Camrose goal keeper meant the score line remained in single figures. This result meant that Moreton finished second in the competition overall. A good result that could have been better but not for one poor performance.
Results – Moreton 8 – Camrose FC 0
Moreton vs. Abbotsford Magnuson Ford Soccer Club
Having played 9 games at this point, the penultimate game was going to be a test of fitness and character. To make matters more difficult within 5 minutes of kick off it was clear that Abbotsford Magnuson Ford were the strongest team we had played yet. They moved the ball very quickly, had a lot of strength and always looked to break through the defensive line. After several early chances well blocked by Moreton’s centre backs Abbotsford deservedly took the lead when an excellent one two pass by the strikers was finished with a slotted finish into the bottom right hand corner to make it 1-0. Unfortunately in the 15th minute Moreton’s left back had to be substituted after an ankle injury. The next 15 minutes were difficult for Moreton as Abbotsford continued to throw men forward creating chance after chance. The next 15 minutes Abbotsford continued to show their quality with excellent movement from both wingers and lots of dangerous crosses being defended. On the 31st minute Just as it looked as though Moreton were going to concede again their right winger made a good tackle and ran down the right flank with pace. After coasting past the left winger he cut inside onto his left foot, jinked passed the left back and shot with power on the edge of the box. The shot was so accurate it the bottom of the right hand post and bounced in. the keeper didn’t even attempt to save it. This really was a fantastic goal and capped off what had been an exceptional fortnight for Moreton’s right winger. The last 15 minutes of the first half saw Abbotsford remain dominant creating lots of chances.
At half time manager Jeff Ashton stressed the importance of firstly holding our shape and secondly maintaining possession as much as possible when winning the ball back. As the lads have done so well so many times on the tour, they responded really well to this and it was clear within 5 minutes of the second half. Moreton kept the ball much better and created a few half chances. Abbotsford however remained the stronger side with more possession and more chances. In the 60th minute Abbotsford picked the ball up in the middle of the pitch. The centre midfielder drove at the back four with pace, passed the ball out to the right winger who managed to get in between Moreton’s full back. He then crossed the ball into box to the penalty spot which was headed into the left hand corner of the net by their striker to make it 2-1. Moreton did not let this affect their play and looked to counter when winning the ball back. On the 76th minute Moreton’s centre back made an excellent tackle to regain possession breaking down Abbotsford’s attack. The centre back quickly played the ball out to the full back who played a 50 yard pass over Abbotsford centre backs. Moreton’s striker who had been playing on the shoulder of the defenders all game reacted to the pass and took a great first touch to put himself in a 1 on 1 situation with the goal keeper. It looked as though the striker had taken too long to finish however he played a superlative chip that lobbed the keeper and hit the top right hand corner of the goal making it 2-2. The last 10 minutes Abbotsford threw bodies forward to try and clench the victory. Some very diligent defending from Moreton meant the game finished 2-2. An extremely good result against such great opposition.
Result – Moreton 2 – Abbotsford Magnuson Ford Soccer Club 2
Moreton vs. Blaise
The final game of this highly successful tour was played on a 3G pitch in view of Vancouver’s football stadium, a perfect back drop. Having already played Blaise once, Moreton thought they knew what to expect. However this academy based team had at least 5 new players in the starting 11, one of which had previously trialled at West Ham and Manchester United. The first 15 minutes Blaise moved the ball excellently well which was so difficult for Moreton as fatigue was now a real issue. In the 23rd Minute Blaise broke through the middle of the pitch played the ball to the striker who turned and stuck a venomous shot at the keeper only for it to be saved in excellent style. Just two minutes later Blaise’s right winger and easily strongest player tricked Moreton’s left back then drove a low shot at goal which was again saved by the keeper. After weathering the storm and some strong words from the management team Moreton began to play better. Several times Moreton broke down Blaise’s play and countered at pace. In the 34th minute Moreton’s prolific striker was played through on goal. However he ran the ball too wide and only managed to hit the side netting. 5 minutes later Moreton’s right winger crossed the ball into the box. Some poor defending from Blaise meant the ball fell to Moreton’s striker who again failed to hit the target from close range. The first half surprisingly ended 0-0.
Both teams came out quickly in the second half. Moreton began to enjoy much longer spells of possession. In the 58th minute Moreton’s centre midfielder broke through a challenge in the middle of the park, drove forwards with the ball several yards and then played a through ball to the striker splitting their centre backs perfectly. The striker this time did not miss firing the ball into the bottom right hand corner. 12 minutes later Moreton played the ball nicely into Blaise’s final third. The ball was passed on the edge of the box to Moreton’s striker who took one touch to get the ball out of his feet and struck the ball into the top right hand corner to make it 2-0. Blaise however did not relent creating several good opportunities themselves. In the 74th minute, Blaise’s right winger coasted past two of the Moreton defenders with ease and played a square pass to one of the centre midfielders. Without taking a touch the midfielder allowed the ball to run across his body and hit the ball with his laces. The shot hit the bottom left hand corner to make it 2-1. In the 88th minute Blaise had thrown almost all their players forward to try and score leaving themselves vulnerable at the back. The Moreton right back made an excellent tackle and smashed the ball up the park to Moreton’s left winger who ran towards the goal and passed the ball nonchalantly passed the keeper to make it 3-1. Moreton finished the campaign with another excellent victory to seal what had been a truly fantastic tour.
Result – Moreton 3 – Blaise 1
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|Canada Tour 2015|