The best team won but I couldn’t believe they parked the bus

By Danny Caro, February 15, 2013

My return to Sunday football management ended in disappointment and utter frustration last weekend.

Having agreed to take charge of my son’s team for the day, I was quietly confident the boys would come away with the right result, despite the absence of one of our key players.

What I had not accounted for, however, was our opponents adopting tactics that, shall we say, caught me somewhat off-guard. I’m sure many of you would agree that junior football, well, Year Three level at least, should be about learning, improving, development and, ultimately, enjoyment.

The bottom line is the result should not be the be-all and end-all and the outcome of Sunday’s contest made me think something wasn’t quite right.

Our opponents stormed into a 2-0 lead; player for player they were bigger, stronger and I’m guessing that they train together – it was the short corner routines that gave it away.

My team staged a dramatic recovery in a match played conditions I can only describe as a monsoon, only to let it slip with the concession of a third goal.

As the game went into the final quarter, I was confident we could score again, however I was stunned to see the other team stick a defender on the goalline for the last 10 minutes of the contest. No joke, he did not move away from the goalkeeper. It was as though we had come up against a brick wall. Good management from my counterpart, perhaps, but it’s hard to believe a team with players aged seven and eight were prepared to park the bus in front of their own goal.

On reflection, I’ll take it as a back-handed complement, but as you can see, I wasn’t impressed and if that’s what junior football management is all about then quite clearly it isn’t for me.

* Since taking charge of London Maccabi Lions A, Andy Landesberg has been signing players for fun. Goalkeeper Jake Doffman is the latest to join the club following his transfer from Brixton. Doffman said: "Although I loved playing for Bricko, when Lions came in for me I knew it was the right thing to do."

* Blizzard Storm manager Simon Linden told me this week that he’s looking forward to taking on quadruple-chasing Faithfold A in the JC Cyril Anekstein Cup on Sunday.

Victory for Blizzard would go down as one of the biggest-ever shocks in the history of Jewish football and Linden knows exactly what is at stake.

He said: "It’s time for Blizzard to put down sticker albums and autograph books and show the MSFL what we can do.

"It’s a cup-tie against extremely good opposition. I just want my team to give 110 per cent, matched by a good solid performance that we can be proud of.

"We will not lie down and die. I want us to be proud of who we are and show what we are about. I don’t want to make up the numbers." Good luck Simon. I think you’ll need it.

* There were indeed many happy returns for HMH Netanya starlet Joseph Mashensky who celebrated his birthday by scoring a hat-trick in the under-eight team’s win over Alyth Belsize.

* MSFL Fixtures Secretary Nigel Burns this week confirmed the news most teams have been dreading. Double-headers will commence from March 3. Let’s hope it doesn’t turn into a lottery.

Last updated: 10:32am, February 15 2013