Conquest played their second game of the Combined Counties U18 North league at home against Balham Blazers; a side that had some good players and presented a stern test in recent years. They offer physical and direct football that is hard to combat. Conquest had started the season strong and there was no way they were likely to let up too soon.
Conquest lined up in a 4-2-3-1 formation as usual and once again demonstrated their keen commitment to developing young players by ensuring that 3 U16s, a different 3 to last week it must be said, found themselves in the squad. Perhaps notable mention should go to the Davies family who had two centre-back representatives in the squad this evening.
Team-Sheet: Nabbad, Clarke, Davies, Evans (C), Rajab, Krishna, Palfrey, Bremang, Kalinauskas, Laing, Awuah ||
Bench: Nation, Jama, Davies, Nozka, Crotty ||
Conquest began the game in an uncharacteristically slow mood and provided almost 10 minutes of nervy football, passes were a bit slack and no-one really got out of first gear. A potential problem arose as Balham were a side that would sense any weakness and attempt to capitalise early on. Thankfully, despite the nervy start, in the 9th minute Clarke drove into the box and won a penalty that was converted low and hard by Laing; a model of composure.
The goal was all that Conquest needed to settle down as they immediately put Balham onto the back foot, dominating the ball all over the pitch Krishna causing havoc with his passing range and Rajab a constant threat down the left hand side with his combination of pace and power. In the 13th minute there was a passage of play that was worthy of any pitch. Combinations with Davies and Krishna in the middle of the pitch sucked a number of players in and then ended with Krishna playing a 40 yard ball near inch perfect to Rajab who cut inside his man and threaded Awuah who made no mistake in firing the ball home. (2-0)
This only served to give the Conquest players more confidence as they pinned Balham into their half, offering a variety of play that Balham simply couldn't cope with. in the 23rd minute Evans played an impressive diagonal ball to Bremang who picked it out of the air and fired across goal but despite Laing smashing towards the goal the Balham player cleared off the line excellently.
In the 28th minute there was a small scare as Conquest continued to play and build from the back but made an error to allow a Balham player in 1vs1 with Nabbad who got down well to save and protect his clean sheet. This gave Balham some life as they begun to enjoy some possession without offering anything dangerous on goal.
Conquest took back control in the 39th minute as Kalinauskas and Awuah used their quick movement and some cute passing to take two players out of the game which ended in Kalinauskas slotting home. (3-0)
HT: Conquest 3-0 Balham
The start of the second half was relatively quiet as Conquest were happy to manage proceedings now. In the 54th minute Conquest made a number of subs as the following players joined the field:
OFF: Davies, Palfrey, Laing
ON: Davies, Nozka, Jama
Conquest continued to maintain their stanglehold on the game as they moved the ball around and dictated the pace of the game. There was a 10 minute period in the middle of the half where the game got a little scrappy and both sides had some chances with neither getting the better of the other's keeper.
In the 75th minute Crotty shocked the whole ground as he demonstrated a phenomenal amount of work rate to chase down what seemed a lost cause before putting the keeper under enough pressure to win the ball and play in Bremang who converted well. (4-0)
Conquest coaches weren't happy in the 79th minute as a free kick won in a dangerous position on the edge of the box was whipped in and headed into the back of the net by Balham. A decent goal but frustrating for the Conquest back four who had been good on the night but more so Nabbad who had made a couple of good saves and would be disappointed to lose his clean sheet. (4-1)
The last 5 minutes of the game really livened up as in the 86th minute Kalinauskas leathered a shot from the edge of the box which was blocked but fell to Bremang who sole-rolled the ball past the defender in exquisite fashion to leave him 1vs1 with the keeper, needless to say he didn't hesitate in firing home for his second of the evening. (5-1)
In the 88th minute Balham found themselves up the other end drawing a very good double save from Nabbad who had a good game.
The 89th minute saw Nabbad fizz the ball into Bremang who turned, rounded a defender and drove towards the goal before rifling home into the bottom right corner to complete his hat trick in style. (6-1)
FT: Conquest 6-1 Balham
Manager's MotM: David Bremang
Captain's MotM: Josh Krishna
Markell Clarke Assisted Ben Awuah
Alkhidrhi Rajab Assisted Ben Awuah
Ben Awuah Assisted Tomas Kalinauskas
Jayde Crotty Assisted David Bremang
Tomas Kalinauskas Assisted David Bremang
Sami Nabbad Assisted David Bremang
Conquest were imperious in their win but will be mightily frustrated to have conceded a goal. The quality across the board in the side is impressive and they will make a very good attempt at retaining the treble they won in such an impressive fashion last year. The next game for this group will be away vs Soccer Fusion on the 06/10/2017, this is a friendly against an Australian/New Zealand touring side.