Zulus Pre-2012

May 16th 2012 Rusthall Fiesta

One year on, the Zulus reconvened. Archie in goal, Toby at the back, Harry and Matt in centre midfield with Callum and Alfie attacking on the flanks. It was a baking hot day and the pitches were dry and bumpy; a tough way to get it back together.

The first game saw Zulus 0 – 1 Tonbridge Juniors which was rough justice. Almost a goal down immediately, and rescued by a great Archie save with his legs, gradually the Zulus fought back, only to lose on a late breakaway.

Game two was a tense matchup with the Langton Lions. The nerves were ended by a great Alfie breakway goal, quickly added to when Matt put Harry clear. Zulus 2 – 0 Lions (Alfie, Harry).

The group was shaping up to be close and the key game came next. Unfortunately the PSA keeper made a great save from Matthew, and then two late goals went the wrong way. A hard loss to take Zulus 0 – 2 Pro Soccer Academy.

This left qualification unlikely, but the football was coming back. Zulus 2- 0 Ridgeway (Callum 2) saw a fine performance and two lovely goals, followed by a tough battling Zulus 1 – 0 Tonbridge Invicta (Matthew) where an early goal saw Invicta’s only defeat.

This set up a winner take-all showdown with Wadhurst. It was the best game of the day but ended Zulus 0 – 1 Wadhurst despite huge pressure, Harry nearly smashing the bar, and a great Archie fingertip save, to confirm his Zulu-of-the-day status.

All in all it was asking just to much to hit the groove as fast as was needed. Each loss was cruel in its own way. Overall, giving a huge age and size advantage away the boys gave all they had, and walked off proudly. We’ll be back!

June 12th Rusthall Fiesta 2011

Zulus 0-0 Ridgeway, Zulus 0-1 Tonbridge, Zulus 1-0 Tonbridge (Nathan)

Zulus 2-0 Dragons (Callum, Matthew), Zulus 1-1 Pro Soccer (Alfie)

Quarter final: Zulus 3-0 Pro Soccer (Matthew, Callum, Alfie)

Semi final: Zulus 0-5 Selsdon Juniors

It was a stormy night. The football gods were clearly unhappy that this was the end of the line for Zulus. Harry was down with tonsilitis so it was down to the hardcore of Archie, Toby, Callum, Nathan, Matthew and Alfie to ensure a proper send-off. The day began with the presentation of the Crowborough League Trophy and winners’ medals, the reward for a seson of excellence.

Things started slowly with a 0-0 draw that might have gone either way. They got worse with a 1-0 loss as the boys gave away a head start they couldnt get back. One point from two games and it was looking like time to wave goodbye. But then Nathan stretched a leg to end a fine move, and Arch held tough, heading one against the bar to save the points.

Next up were the very depleted Dragons, who fought tooth and nail. The Zulus won ugly, with Callum bundling the first goal, and Matthew clipping home an Alfie cross, and it meant the Zulus werent done. Last up were the best looking side in the group, Pro Soccer, who waltzed down the field and went one up in 15 seconds…it looked grim. Then, against the odds, the tide turned and the Zulus threw everything, including the kitchen sink. Alfie was denied twice by good saves as the boys broke en masse. Arch and Toby kept having to deal with four against two, but just about clung on…again Alfie saw a great chanced saved, but Pro-S only half cleared the next attack and what happened next was pure genius….from out on the touchline, on the volley, on the turn, Alfie lobbed the stranded keeper. Alfie doesnt do simple goals….but he does do brilliant ones.

Amazingly 1-1 was the least the Zulus deserved; one of the performances of the year had earned them a quarter final against the other Pro-S side. By now the Zulus had found a rhythm; no goals in the first half but enough near misses to offer hope. Then Callum drove a corner and Matthew crashed a header home. Instead of having to hang on it became one way traffic. Alfie unselfishly set up Callum to make it 2-0, and then was rewarded by scoring the third. Before the Zulus’ semi final there was time to see the Lions make it into the other semi final, care of a penalty shoot out. George made a save, and James Hitchin helped himself to the glory – nice celebration Jimmy Hitch!

And there the journey ended. Dwarfed by Selsdon the Zulus again gave away a head start goal, and then got caught on the break each time they pushed to get back in the game. The scoreline looked ugly, but it mattered not. The boys went out with heads held high.

After that it was time to retire the shirts that have been worn with such honour. Each Zulu signed the others’ shirt; hopefullythe names printed on the shirts will be printed on their hearts as well.

June 5th Langton Fiesta

Zulus 1-0 Pembury (Alfie), Zulus 0-1 Foresters, Zulus 1-0 Tonbridge (Matthew)

Zulus 0-1 Chipstead, Zulus 2-1 Wadhurst (Nathan, Matthew), Zulus 0-1 Forest Row

A real mixed bag in our home Fiesta…only four minutes each way, and small bouncy pitches, which didnt make for nice football, but the Zulus gave it a go in the ‘group of death’. First up were last year’s winners, and last week’s Uckfield winners, Pembury. Plenty of goalmouth skirmishes at each end, before Alfie was put through by Matthew to nick a winner. The great beginning was then spoiled when chances werent taken versus Foresters, and then a soft goal given away as two players each left the other to clear. Archie redeemed himself with a blinding save from a free kick, and Callum came close to an overhead equaliser, but ti was points wasted.

Next up was Tonbridge, who had defeated Foresters…the boys battled hard, Matthew finished a neat move and then it was time to hang on. Toby blocked a goalbound shot with his back, and then Callum blocked the last kick of the match with his face. It saved the win, but ended Callum’s tournament. Next up was Chipstead who played well, but the Zulus were denied a winner by some bizarre refereeing blind spot to three hand balls, only to throw the game away in the dying seconds….Given this effectively ended their tournament the boys did brilliantly to recover against Wadhurst. Nathan scored one of the goals of the season, carrying the ball straight down the middle from his own half, only to see a third silly goal conceded; polite defence again was the problem. But in the second half Alfie broke down the left, looked up and picked Matthew arriving at speed on the edge of the box, and he hit the roof of the net to seal an excellent win.

The last game against Forest Row counted for nothing, and a good goal sealed a defeat. It was a tough group to get out of, but with hindsight it was two silly goals that cost doing just that. How to stop nice boys being nice in their own penalty area?

The highlight of the morning was personal. Pam and Chris were given fantastic gifts to mark four Zulu fiestas, and the end of an era – all the boys sported Zulu head-dress and scared a lot of confused onlookers. Plenty of reasons to be proud, as always.

May 28th Uckfield Fiesta

Zulus 1-0 Tonbridge Junior (Alfie) Zulus 3-0 Eastbourne Reds (Matthew 2, Alfie)

Zulus 3-0 Mid-Sussex Blues (Harry, Matthew, Alfie) Zulus 2-0 Wadhurst (Alfie, Matthew)

Zulus 0-0 Forest Row

Quarter Final: Zulus 1-1 Ridgeway Reds (Callum) won 2-1 on penalties

Semi Final: Zulus 2-2 Ringmer Red (Brodie, Matthew) lost 5-4 on penalties

Hard to do justice to such an incredible afternoon. The 6 Zulus were Archie in goal, Toby at the back, with Callum, Harry, and Matthew across the middle, and Alfie up front. No subs, and a more attacking formation, designed to avoid the plague of 0-0 draws. And…it worked, as the boys won four group games in a row with some dazzling football, and some spectacular goals. Harry’s free kick will star in the upcoming movie ‘Bend it like Balcombe’, Matthew’s volley was pretty special too, and, despite the 9 goals for and none against, we shouldnt forget the crucial saves Archie made before the games were won.

The last group game saw the boys needing a 0-0 draw to win the group, and 0-0 is their fiesta speciality, so it was on to the quarter final. And it started well when Callum thundered home from outside the box. With ten straight clean sheets it ought to have been enough, but straight after half time we were caught cold for 1-1. Chances came and went, but the dreaded penalties were unavoidable. Which meant we were treated to the Archie Corbett show, as Ridgeway only scored once, whilst the Cat saved three brilliantly. This saved the coach a dilemma as Harry had finished the game on one leg and might not have been able to take his penalty.

And so to the final. Harry couldnt start so up stepped up 7 year old Brodie for the under 10′s semi-final. And, as with all good fairy tales the miracle happened when the Zulus went one up as Brodie looped the ball into the top corner from outside the box mid-way through the first half. Pandemonium on the sidelines. The depleted and exhausted Zulus tried to cling on, but were worn down, and conceded two goals, both screamers. It looked to be all over, but Matthew dragged then back with a late goal from a corner. More extra time, and right at the death we almost had the happy ending, but Matt’s header was inches over…more penalties.

Four Zulus stepped and scored, but five Ringmer kicks were good, and the day was over. Unbeaten for the second fiesta in a row, and some exhausted tears were shed, but there was nothing but a feel-good factor and admiration from the sidelines. A fantastic effort. Every boy played their heart out. Great football was played at full strength, and courageous football was there in abundance when the time came. a special day.

May 15 2011 Crowborough Fiesta

Played 5, all 0-0 !!

Dry dusty bouncy pitches, a windy day – all best forgotten!

April 30th 2011

Zulus 4 – 1 Borough Green Junior (Nathan, Alfie, Matthew, Callum), Zulus 1- 3 B G Colts (Alfie)

April 9th 2011

Zulus 3 -1 Pembury Utd (Nathan, Julian, Callum) Zulus 0 – 2 Pembury City

A day of two halves. Game one against Pembury Utd saw some beautiful passing moves, three excellent goals, and a performance to grace the sunshine. Nathan opened the scoring with an excellent finish having been set up by Julian. He then returned the compliment for Julian’s debut goal, and 2-0 was a great way to end the harder half, up the hill. With a lead to hold on to the Zulus were cautious, and Toby and Edward were outstanding in their tackling. More chances came and went before Julian freed Callum to finish calmly coming in from the right. Near the end a Pembury free kick was not dealt with, and a sloppy consolation goal resulted, but 3-1 was a fine win.

Game two started in similar fashion, but late in the first half Pembury twice scored from high balls coming in from the right. It was cruel to be behind without really having let the opposition into the penalty area, but also fair to say that Pembury were adept at short corners, and short throws, and kept possession well, whereas the Zulus had less idea how to get the ball back on the pitch and at the feet of a yellow shirted player. Not often in the season have they looked lost for ideas, but this wasnt a game they looked like winning, at least without a stroke of good fortune,and none resulted. A special mention for Edward who came into the side at short notice, and was half the size of the players he was challenging, but gave nothing away, and was as brave as anyone on the pitch.

So…one weekend of the league season awaits, and nothing is settled yet.

April 2nd 2011

Pembury City 0 – 0 Zulus Pembury Utd 0 – 2 Zulus (Matthew, Alfie)

A sunny day, a road trip, a debutant, and a tough fixture. Throw in some wind, a bouncy sloping pitch, and Pembury was a tricky place to play the last away games of the season. New signing Julian slotted into the middle of midfield, alongside Matthew and Callum, whilst Nathan unselfishly slotted back into a defensive partnership with Toby that has been denying opposing forwards since they were 5 years old. Archie and Alfie played their usual roles at either end of the pitch.

Whereas last week at Jarvis Brook was a slog, with no stand out performances, this week everyone has reason to look back with invidual as well as collective pride. Two clean sheets in 2 games against Pembury tells its own story of how those at the back held their positions. When Archie was called on his handling was faultless, and his kicking accurate, particularly in the first game. And the lack of goals in game one didnt reflect the quality of the play. Julian rounded the keeper but hit the side netting, Nathan and Alfie missed from close in after beautiful passing, Callum shot well from distance, and the Pembury keeper was very good when one on one with Matthew. Julian’s corners were always a threat. It just wouldnt go in. Good performance, unlucky not to win. No-one to blame.

The worry was that the second game would see a repeat in terms of attacking play without the reward of goals. The surface really did make passing football hard. The solution lay in the air. Firstly Matthew met Julian’s corner with a beautiful downward header to make it 1-0. Then, from the same wing, Callum crossed expertly on the run and Alfie headed an even better goal, 2-0. For those with a taste for deja vu, minds go back to Rusthall last year, which was the first time Matthew headed home a corner, followed by Alfie heading home a Callum cross. Lightning does indeed strike twice.

In the second half there were chances to increase the lead, as the Pembury keeper saved his side. Julian nearly capped an accomplished debut with a goal, Alfie hit the keeper, and Callum kept bombing down the wing (when he wasnt taking excellent goal kicks, which were another part of his quality all round display.)

So, that was the last of the Zulus’ away league matches. Played 12, won 8, drew 2, lost 2, scored 21 conceded 9. Every reason to be very proud, but with 2 more home dates we’ll save the celebrations just a little longer.

March 26th 2011

Jarvis Brook Vipers 2 – 3 Zulus (Nathan, Alfie, Matthew) J B Cobras 0 – 2 (Alfie 2)

‘One of those days’. This time one of those days when winning ugly was the only available option. Lots of excuses were on hand for not winning. Harry and Callum were absent, Toby and Archie had been ill during the week, the pitch was short, dry, and bumpy, and Theo was debuting as defence.

Game one started well. Just as we had practised before kick off, Tom threw long, Alfie and Matthew were the decoys, and Nathan smashed home a volley. It got better when Tom dribbled and the Vipers tackled, and the ball cruelly went in their own net. That ought to have been it except for some timid tackling, and half hearted clearing, allowing a sloppy goal. Things got even worse in the second half when the Vipers converted a half chance, and the Zulus seemed bereft of ideas. The pitch clearly wasnt helping and the chances werent coming, so it was time to get scrappy. Tom banged in a last minute corner, Alfie nudged it, Matthew poked it home. 3-2 to the Zulus, and the boys had rescued themselves.

Game two the Zulus started up hill and two pieces of skill calmed nerves. Nathan carried the ball all the way into the box, and round the keeper and set Alfie up for a tap in. Then Alfie did it all himself, as he had been threatening to do all day. This allowed the football to flow a little more, whilst Toby and Theo took a no nonsense approach at the back. It ought to have been more in the second half. Alfie was flattened, but the Cobras keeper made an excellent penalty save. Matthew redeemed himself with outstanding tackling and work rate all over the pitch, and the result was well earned.

So, never very pretty, but generally gritty. And this late in the season 6 points comes in very handy.

March 19th 2011

Zulus 3 -1 Forest Row (Callum, Alfie 2) Zulus 2 – 0 Tenterden (Harry, Tom)

Last time out it was ‘one of those days’ in a bad way. This time it was one of the reasons we wake up excited on Saturdays: Heavy muddy pitches and the huge challenge of playing a well drilled Forest Row side, before facing the challenge of Tenterden, the only side to have mastered the Zulus the first time around in September.

It was important that the boys focused on one game at a time, but we adopted the tactics in game one that we intended to use in game two. Nathan bolstered the defence with Toby, and we played a deep midfield, behind a lone striker. An early lead was a blessing as Callum bundled over Alfie’s cross. Alfie was excellent throughout, and helped himself to two goals of his own. This allowed the opportunity to rest people for the second game, as the Zulus tried to coast the game out. A sloppy goal conceded forced them to work harder than was ideal, but it was job done.

Everyone remembered what happened in the first weekend of the season when the sheer size of Tenterden overwhelmed the boys 4-1. This time we decided to defend en masse, and look to set Alfie away on the break. Up hill the tackling was excellent, the commitment overwhelming. Tenterden were restricted to one threatening corner that Archie handled well – Tuesday night’s training on corner defence was time well spent. Callum came closest to a first half goal, and the half time team talk emphasized that the game was there to be taken. Tenterden were unlucky with injuries, and the momentum shifted as the Zulus came down the hill. Still the aim was not to over commit, and to play on the break, and Archie was well protected as everyone tackled fiercely. A break down the right, a ball in from Matthew, and Harry thumped home right footed, coming for the left side. This gave the boys a lead to protect, and most of the half to protect it. Their positional discipline was outstanding (with occasional reminders from the demented coach). The Zulus cheerleaders roared them on, and the clock ticked the time away. Tom’s throws tight to the line made it very hard for Tenterden to get the ball in their possession, and almost never did they have both the ball, and time, when they crossed the half way line.

Alfie played and tackled like an extra midfielder, Callum and Harry both served shifts as extra defenders, and then with less than five minutes to go Tom hit a hard shot that bounced awkwardly on the sticky surface in front of the keeper, and he failed to deal with it. 2-0. The accompanying roar indicated the relief that this breathing space gave. Callum hit the post, Matthew came close from another cross, and the game ended with the Zulus still defending comfortably, and Tenterden pretty much out of ideas how to break through. They never did.

It wasnt a morning where the football was as pretty as the boys have sometimes played. But in terms of positional discipline and team effort it was utterly excellent. The boys gave away 3-4 inches in height, and proved it is heart that wins games sometimes. The league table is worth a look!

March 5th 2011

Tonbridge Hurricanes 3 -2 Zulus (Matthew, Alfie) Tonbridge Spitfires 1 – 0

This was officially ‘one of those days’. Quite how the Zulus went home with two losses is hard to figure. In terms of shots on and off target it was daylight robbery. And it all started so well in the first match as Nathan set up Matthew for a nice goal, after which Callum came close, and Archie was untroubled. Half time came and went, and then it all went wrong. Archie was caught off his line by a ball that looped perfectly under the bar, and immediately after a Tonbridge forward was left all alone from a corner to grab the lead. The Zulus pushed forward and were caught on a break; Archie did well to save, but the rebound was put away… 3-1. Alfie scorched a reply, but the Zulus had run out of time.

If the first game was an even contest, the second was not. Time after time the Tonbridge keeper kept his side in the game, twice winning one against ones with Alfie, who had been sent clear by Matthew. The pressure seemed never ending, and the near misses kept coming, and then, again on the break, the Zulus were caught out in the second half. They redoubled efforts. for the last 3 minutes they even took off their goalie for an extra forward. It looked set to work when again Alfie went through, but he hit the legs of the unbeatable keeper. From the corner Toby headed just wide, then Nathan went close, but it remained a day of torture to the end.

Football does that sometimes. Hopefully the luck will even out over the rest of the season. Tonbridge had much bigger lads, and the Zulus battled bravely; sometimes we forget that most of the side is a year younger than the opposition, and there is no shame in the results.

February 5th 2011

Uckfield Stingrays 0 – 4 Zulus (Matthew 2, Alfie, Callum) Uckfield Sharks 0 – 0 Zulus

A gale was blowing as the Zulus travelled to Uckfield, making conditions very hard. In the first game, with the wind, it was a struggle until two quick goals from Matthew settled things down. The first was a loopy affair, off the post, the second a much more decisive shot. Agains the wind the boys played very well. Nathan passed beautifully from midfield, and Toby and Harry kept it locked up at the back. Archie was rarely troubled apart from one pinball moment where he used the bar and post to help him out. The third was a great volley from alfie, and Callum rounded things of with a crashing left footed half volley.

Game two saw the Zulus start against the wind, and they kept it tight through to half time, as planned. Callum came closest, forcing a good save from the keeper. The second half plan was to put the game away, and the pressure was relentless. Archie had done his job in the first half, and never touched the ball in the second. Unfortunately it was one of those days when nothing fell right. When it finally did Nathan blazed over from close range. Finally a handball, and a late penalty. Matthew hit the ball hard, but too close to the keeper, who parried, and the Uckfield boys hung on to their draw.

Drawing a game was disappointing, but there is no shame in playing two games without conceding, and being on top throughout. There was no lack of effort, the tackling was excellent, and the passing on a bobbly surface was pretty good considering.

January 29th 2011

Zulus 0 – 2 TWF Lions Zulus 3 – 0 TWF Jaguars (Alfie 2, Nathan)

A great footballing morning. Unsuprisingly Foresters returned with tougher teams, and a determination to get revenge for the week before. As the week before the Zulus started up the hill and reachd half time at 0-0. They had most of the play, but TWF were always dangerous on the break. Second half the Zulus pressed for a winner. The closest they came was when Callum’s shot squeezed against the inside of one post, and Nathan hit the other post with the rebound. Tragically, as they pressed for the winner they were caught on the break, not once, but twice. Tom had a free kick well saved, but it was ‘one of those games’ where the result didnt match the run of play.

All of which meant the second game became doubly important. Tears and moaning were the easy option; rolling up sleeves and getting on with it was going to be harder. But these are the Zulus, and they came to play. Alfie’s first half goal was the only reward for many attacks. Zulus were veryon top, but the breakaways exploited the gaps they left at the back, and Archie’s handling needed to be perfect, and it was.

It wasnt the prettiest football they have ever played, but the tackling was the most committed i can recall. Nathan was outstanding in both games, and Matthew, Harry and Toby were unflinching. Alfie calmed nerves with his second, followed by a goal that capped Nathan’s brilliant day. Still TWF pushed on, and a mixture of Archie and the crossbar preserved the clean sheet.

In some ways it might be disappointing to drop points, but the level of performance was outstanding. No shame, plenty of pride.

January 22nd 2011

Zulus 3 – 0 Foresters Jaguars (Alfie 2, Nathan) Zulus 2 – 0 (Alfie, Harry)

70 days since their last league match the Zulus were back in business at home to Foresters, and it was business as usual, with two wins, and an impressive pair of performances.

Both games followed a similar pattern. 0-0 up a muddy hill till half time, and then a cruise back down the hill to victory. The first game was easier – only a blinding performance from their keeper, and some rusty finishing kept the score down. Alfie scored two great goals, one a header from Nathan’s cross, the other a solo effort the length of the pitch. Nutty sandwiched his goal in between the two, as Archie was left frozen but unbothered in goal, with little to do.

Game two differed in the first half as Archie saw red shirts in his penalty area. Fortunately Toby had no interest in letting them get a shot in. We were treated to a morning of awesome defence and intelligent passing from the best centre back in the Crowborough League. Nil nil at half time was okay, but the team talk focused on the need in the second half to dribble less against bigger opposition and pass more. Matthew, Nathan and Harry duly obliged and excellent goals quickly followed from Alfie and Harry.

Overall memories of the morning were dominated by how good the passing was. But, on a muddy day, it needed hard tackling and tireless running as well, and Matthew and his midfield team mates were central to that. Callum unselfishly played the role asked of him, Edward came on and got stuck in, Archie kept his concentration, and Alfie mixed brilliance with a new found toughness.

Plenty of reasons to be satisfied. Same time next week…..

November 13th 2010

Zulus 3 – 0 Jarvis Brook Vipers (Alfie 2, Callum) Zulus 4 -2 JB Cobras (Nathan 2, Alfie, Matthew)

Mud everywhere, as were the Zulus. The finishing wasnt great, but the moves were. Callum and Harry kept feeding the ball in, and Alfie picked up two first half goals. It might have been closer had Archie not made a save lying on his back (with some help from Harry and the post). Second half saw more near misses (including a great Nathan header) before Alfie broke, their keeper saved, but Callum thumped a left footer home from outside the box. Toby was unleashed to rampage all over midfield for the final minutes, much to the pain of the Jarvis Brook players he met coming the other way. A comfortable win.

Game two was much closer, at least in the first half. Again the Zulus didnt finish well, and were twice punished for sloppiness in terms of not getting back to defend early enough, but they went in level thanks to Alfie (who tackled hard for the second game in a row) and Nathan. The half time team talk was all about getting the job done, and the second half was much more one sided. Again the goals wouldnt come, until Matthew hooked home a volley. The relief was almost short lived as an easy shot was given away, which required Archie to dive and parry to his right. In both games the Cat delivered when really needed.

Toby defended brilliantly, and as the clocked ticked down Harry almost spoiled two games of excellent running and tackling with a wayward pass, but with his next goal kick he found a yellow shirt…..in that shirt was Nathan, who decided to run 3/4 of the length of the pitch on his own to score a brilliant goal. That was it…seven wins in a row. Happy coach, happy fans…..no man of the match, just a magnificent seven.

October 9th 2010

Borough Green Colts 0 – 1 Zulus (Matthew), Borough Green Junior 1 – 5 Zulus (Matthew 2, Harry, Alfie, Nathan)

It was a case of no guts no glory this morning. In the first half of the first game the Zulus were slow, sloppy, asleep. Only Archie’s bravery kept them in the game. Coach Chris erupted at half time. Things looked worse soon after as Callum took an elbow to the face, and was losing too much blood to continue. Faced with having to make up for being a man down the Zulus woke up and started to fight for the ball. And fight they had to, to keep Borough Green at bay. Again Archie did the business, defiantly protected by Toby. Harry tackled fiercely, and made a fantastic headed clearance from under his own crossbar. And then, late on, Nathan threw long, Alfie flicked smartly inside, a defender was caught out, and Matthew found himself through with a chance to win it. Never in doubt, 1-0. Not quite game over, a few more tackles still had to be won…but they were, and the Zulus had won, by playing like lions.

In the second game the opposition very sportingly agreed to play a 6 a side match, and the big space and wide spaces allowed the Zulus to play some fine football. Alfie and Harry passed intelligently to set up Harry’s tap in. (Harry the full back spent half his time in the other team’s penalty area!). The second goal was a virtuoso solo effort from Alfie in off both posts. It was great to see Alfie put in some great tackles to add to his all round excellence. Not to be outdone Nathan flicked the ball up just outside the penalty area and crashed home an unstoppable third. Archie continued his morning of great goalkeeping, Harry and Toby kept tackling hard, and in the second half Matthew helped himself to two more goals, either side of a consolation goal conceded.

So….a morning that started badly ended up being a very good one. Thanks to all the supporters who travelled so far and cheered loudly. Thanks to the boys for giving us so much to cheer.

September 25th 2010

Zulus 3 – 0 Uckfield Sharks (Matthew 2, og) Zulus 3 – 1 Uckfield (Matthew 2, Callum)

Beautiful weather, beautiful football. Everybody had a good morning, including the spectators. It took an own goal to get the Zulus going, as an Uckfield defender ran Matthew’s cross shot into the net, quickly followed by a second when he stole in as the keeper juggled the ball. It was also Matthew who scored the third in the second half, but it was not a one man show. The team’s passing was excellent, from back to front. Nathan and Tom ran the game down the middle, and Callum wore a groove in the grass down the right wing. Toby’s defending was solid, as always, with the added bonus of some excellent passing forward. Archie didnt have much to do, but was brave when called upon. All in all a dominant display.

Game two was similar. Matthew again scored twice, this time with much higher quality goals, and missed out on a hat-trick when he hit the bar from a free kick, and then headed just over from a Tom corner. Perhaps the best skill of the first half came from Callum – after Archie had bravely parried a shot it was Callum who got back to hook the ball off the line. Meantime the passing continued to be impressive. Nathan and Alfie both hit the post, and Tom used his huge throws intelligently to set play up.

In the second half more goals looked inevitable, but near misses and thwarted penalty appeals conspired to keep it closer than the run of play merited. Eventually a Matthew header released Callum on the right and he smashed the ball in from the angle. Great shot. The only blemish was a comedy consolation goal when Archie had a bit of flap, Callum took an air shot at a clearance, and the Uckfield striker enjoyed his early Christmas present. It didnt alter the flow of the game, or matter to the result, but it gave coach Chris the chance to have a rant (and he loves to have a good shout!).

Once Chris calmed down even he had to confess it was a wonderful morning. It’s great to see such good football.

September 11th 2010

Forest Row 0 – 1 Zulus (Matthew) Tenterden 4 – 1 Zulus (Alfie)

The new season began in pouring rain, on a small sloping pitch. Nevertheless the first game against Forest Row was an impressive performance, and 1-0 was the least the Zulus deserved. Several chances would have gone in another day. The one that did was a very fine strike by Matthew, after which the midfield protected the defence, and the lead was never seriously threatened.

Game 2, versus Tenterden, was altogether harder. Physically the Zulus were dwarfed, and the opposition also seemed more at home with 7 a side. Two goals down at half-time the boys regrouped and got stuck in down the hill, before giving away a 3rd on the break. Nutty forced a way back with a great run down the right, setting up an Alfie left-footer, but gaps at the back left Archie exposed as we chased goals. Plenty of lessons to learn about how to handle playing bigger sides, and the tactics to cope with more crowded pitches….but all season to learn them.