Charlton Athletic U18s defender Nathan Asiimwe spoke to Valley Gold for Academy Notes after the recent 5-1 defeat at Colchester United.
The young full-back told Valley Gold:
“Colchester was always going to be a tough opponent and we knew they would come out fighting as they are battling for a place in the national playoffs.
“The game was played at Maldon and Tiptree FC’s stadium and the pitch wasn’t great at all so we had to start the game by playing it long from goal kicks as we knew it would be risky to play the ball around our penalty area and backline as Colchester are known as a ball playing team who would come after us with a fierce press from the get-go.
“The first twenty minutes were pretty even apart from a decisive chance in the 17th minute when their number 11 made a run in behind and our back line got caught out with a ball over the top. Our keeper Henry Molyneux had to make a fantastic 1v1 save to deny them.
“We conceded the first goal in the 24th minute when we were slow to react to the ball after a long kick from our keeper ended up at Colchester’s backline before the ball spent a bit of time up in the air with us second to every ball, and they managed to hook it forward and although I got a head to it, the ball fell to a Colchester player and after winning the ball back I played a straight pass to Ryan Huke, but he lost the ball under pressure and their striker turned and first a long shot past Molyneux who was off his line.
“A couple of minutes later, we almost countered with a clear shot on goal from Tolu Ladapo, but apart from this chance, we didn’t create any further chances and we went in at the break trailing with our heads dropped.
“We planned to into the second half with all guns blazing, however, we quickly got knocked back with 2 goals in quick succession between the 52nd and 59th minutes. The first came from poor defending around our penalty area when I didn’t close down the number 11 enabling him to get a shot away. The ball got blocked but fell to their number 9 who was played onside to capitalise.
“The second came from a long ball from their keeper which was intercepted by Oliver Hobden’s head but he lost a second aerial dual and although I collected the ball, I decided to pass instead of clearing from danger and the ball got stuck under my feet to allow Colchester to regain possession and went on a fast counter-attack to give their number 9 another goal from the edge of the box.
“Our heads dropped further and it seemed like we had given up which we have not done before. We barely created anything going forward apart from a decent back post header from Mack Reilly just after their third goal, the home side created a lot more opportunities and set plays and near the end of the game, put us to the sword with 2 more strikes in the 84th and 86th minutes.
“The fourth goal was from a Colchester clearance and I mistimed a jump as the ball flew over my head to give the number his fourth goal of the game.
“Their fifth and final goal of the game was scored by their substitute striker when our left-back Kai regained the ball after diagonal ball over the top to Colchester’s right winger. On driving out with the ball Kai chose not to release the ball quickly and got dispossessed, and the winger beat out full back to cross the ball into the area. Mason Hunter and I were both caught ball watching and the unmarked striker received the ball with his chest and volleyed the ball into the back of the net.
“We managed to score a consolation goal in the dying minutes of the game through a wonderful header from substitute Patrick Casey which went into the top left corner from a Harvey Kedwell cross. But it was far too late to make a comeback.
“Overall, Colchester trumped us in every aspect, but mainly they had more desire and determination to win the game than we did.
“It was a disappointing loss to take and our heads went midway through the game. Nevertheless, it was a brutal learning curve that we must take in our stride and bounce back from.”
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