Match Report
Marlborough College Malaysia Boys-U18A vs  United World College of Southeast Asia - Dover (UWCD)
On: Saturday, 25 Nov 2017
Venue: Away

We entered the game with fantastic enthusiasm and vocal intent which I really value in a pre-match ritual. I took confidence from the boy's into what would be a tense and difficult match against a strong Dover team who had comprehensively beaten us in Singapore earlier this year.

The game played out as a semi-final often does, tense and cagey. Our best opportunity saw Harvey strike a fantastic shot towards the roof of the net which the Dover keeper tipped over the crossbar well. Dover were clinical and some sloppy defending saw us concede a very cheap goal to enter half-time at 1-0 down. We were not out of the game by any means and I told the boy's to really go for it.

We pressurised Dover and had better attacking intent. Dover were content on keeping the ball and did this well, but showed no malice going forward and were happy to play with their lead. Our pressure rushed them and whilst no real chance of quality fell our way, it felt as if one would always come along, but it would take something special. It arrived when Kevan ran from his own half, beating one man to the right, another to his left, a third to his left as he entered the box and just at the vital moment, he was hauled down. Unbelievably, the referee did not give a penalty and the game somehow played on. With that, the game petered out and shortly finished and we were unfortunately defeated 0-1 and ultimately out of the tournament. Multiple Dover players admitted the incident should've resulted in a penalty and even their coach conceded they had been lucky to not face a penalty and that they had really got away with one when it mattered most.

MVP - Ray

Tournament Summary

I was really pleased with the boy's application and attitude to the tournament in so many respects. They were great ambassadors for the school on and off the pitch. Their support for the other MCM teams, especially the younger age groups was fantastic and they will not realise how much that means to the younger students. All MCM coaches stated how pleased they were to see our U18 boy's supporting all teams.

Regarding our performance, we were unlucky. It was cruel, but sometimes thats the way football is. Manila and Regents beat Kajonkiet 6-0 and 7-1 respectively, whereas we beat them 3-0 and this ultimately decided our fate in the group. A narrow defeat to Manila when we had our fate in our own hands is where I would prefer to focus the learning curve, but further goals against Kajonkiet, who unfortunately lost all four games, was the turning point in the group. Of the eight teams in the Phase competition, six qualified with 13 points, but the third ruling of goal difference to divide teams, worked against us. Manila went on to finish 2nd only to BISP Cruzeiro.

In the Plate, a penalty incident left a sour taste in the mouth. Naturally I would back Kevan to score from the spot and the game would've gone to spot kicks. It is a lottery I would not mind losing out on and having won one in the game prior, we would have entered the scenario with confidence. It felt very tough to leave the competition with nothing to say for ourselves and effectively finish joint 11th out of 20 schools despite 4 wins from 6. In future, we must focus on being clinical and leaving nothing to chance, otherwise I cannot fault the boys.

We had numerous highlights and minimal lows which unfortunately overshadowed the weekend's events. Willem's goal against Kajonkiet was fantastic. Seeing the boy's work rate, pride and passion to get one over my former school draw praise from their coach and showed to me how much they have developed their character since I took the team in September. Our goal against KTJ was the best we have scored and emphasised every single component of the game I have aimed to install into the boy's play and showed them that when it came to it, the boy's can play some really good stuff too. The penalty shoot out is always enjoyable when you win and we took that pressure brilliantly and celebrated humbly and consoled our opponents. Overall, I reflect on the tournament and I'm really proud of the boy's. I was comfortably the youngest coach at the entire tournament but the boy's showed me massive respect as they always do, played for me fantastically and gave their all. They were a credit to me, the school, their onlooking parents, supporters and staff members, but most importantly themselves.

On Saturday evening, I gathered them for a mini awards night.

Most Improved - Nick. He has showed a huge growth in his maturity as a footballer and applied all the feedback and instruction I gave him throughout the tournament. A potential future captain next year.

Top Scorer - Kevan. With 4 goals from 6 games, Kevan led the goalscoring chart at Phuket for MCM.

Clubman - Ray. A fantastic captain and leader who soldiered on through injury to give his all in the tournament.

Managers Player - Willem. No opposition manager would have guessed that Willem was a Year 11 student and effectively playing two years above himself. A fantastic addition to the squad with 3 goals and numerous phases of good play.

Players Player - Raffi. I was delighted for Raffi that his peers recognise his talents as a goalkeeper. I mentioned that we regularly forget that Raffi too is Year 11 and playing well above himself. Exceptional as always throughout the tournament. Enjoyed the rigours and success of a penalty shoot out, an emotion fully deserved for his efforts throughout the tournament.