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U18s Holland diary - day nine

Posted: Thu 07 Aug 2014
Author: Jeremy Poulson
Image by: Olly Leaper

FC Twente provided the third Dutch opponents for today's pre-season game.

This is after having already played against Willem II and PSV Eindhoven during the first week of the tour.

The day started with breakfast at 8:30, before the team went out to do a light training session for 30 minutes, which consisted of a 15 minute dynamic warm up movements and stretches; with the other 15 minutes consisting of a four team round robin tournament of possession in small boxes.

After that they had time to rest and prepare themselves for the game in the afternoon. Lunch was at 1pm followed by a team meeting at 2pm, during which Steve Spooner presented the match objectives to the group which were relevant to all the players in the team. The coach then departed the hotel in Deldon and made the 20 minute journey to the FC Twente training ground.

The pitch was in lovely condition for the game, with the sun beaming down on the freshly watered grass. The conditions were perfect for the style of football that the Blues team set out to play.

FC Twente came out of the starting blocks fast, applying immediate pressure on the Blues team and pushing us back into our own half. But the team did well to cope with this pressure and minimised the chances on goal. However, FC Twente did manage to fashion an opening after seven minutes when the ball came out to the edge of the area and reached a FC Twente midfielder. He drove in a low shot, but Blues goalkeeper Leighton Smith was down low and quick to parry the ball for a corner.

Blues fashioned their first opening after nine minutes when Kyle McFarlane was through one on one with the oncoming FC Twente keeper only to see his effort finely saved. But it was the hosts that broke the deadlock mid-way through the first half after the ball was fired through the legs of goalkeeper Smith.

Just before the break, Blues were back on level terms when Khallem Bailey was brought down for a penalty and put the resultant spot kick away.

The second half was evenly contested with both teams having good opportunities, but failing either on the final pass or shot on goal. However, Blues had a great opening when they awarded a second penalty on the 65th minute. It was Bailey again who stepped up to take it, but the FC Twente keeper dived to his left to thwart his high effort at goal.

The game continued to be end to end and in the 81st minute Blues thought they had the winning goal until a fine double save was produced by the FC Twente keeper to deny both David Popa and Edidja Mbunga's efforts. The keeper's second half saves ended up being crucial as the game finished 1-1.

Blues U18's Captain Dom Bernard said: "FC Twente were a really good side to play against as they played a formation where most of their players had free roles. Both teams had good chances but we went closest.

"Apart from the goal we conceded the team collectively defended well throughout the whole game, but we just need to start taking our chances and clean up on any end product."

To continue following the Blues pre-season tour in Holland, follow @bcfcacademy on twitter for the latest news and pictures of the tour. Also @LFEonline are following the tour of the four English clubs in Holland.
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