Roffey Robins Atletico under-12s beat Horsham Sparrows in battle of the birds
Roffey Robins Atletico under-12s secured a victory against Horsham Sparrows on Saturday as both teams began their preparation for the move to 11-a-side football next season.
Romario Moratalla grabbed the attention with a hat-trick, although it was defender Tim Clifford who shone brightest with a sublime performance.
Atletico settled into the bigger pitch more quickly than their opposition and challenged Sparrows with some great passing from Henry Dinsdale in midfield, and runs from strikers Moratalla and Joshua Bellamy which stretched the defence.
Atletico’s first goal came from Aaron Woodhams. Dinsdale found him in the outside left channel with a delicious pass to Woodhams who carried the ball forward before guiding it into the top right corner of the net.
The second goal came quickly after. Jack Dann took a corner which found its way back to him and from the edge of the penalty area he smashed the ball home.
Sparrows came back into the game after that although most of their threats were nullified with Dan Klamm and Josh Davidson looking imperious in the centre of defence and Lucas Byrne, Fin Ledingham and Tim Clifford performing well in the full back positions.
Clifford in particular excelled. He won almost every battle, played the ball out with composure and provided reassurance to the rest of the team, that they were solid at the back.
Moratalla scored his first as he latched onto a clever pass from Bellamy before Sparrows pulled one back. Woodhams then turned provider as Moratalla grabbed his second.
Daniel Gardiner enjoyed space on the left wing, and was unlucky with a header from a corner that the keeper gathered.
On the right wing, Josh Gibson was a constant menace and Luca Harris was solid in midfield. Goalkeeper Theo Botevyle was largely untroubled.
Moratalla seized his hat-trick as he capitalised on a mistake by the keeper to seal a well deserved victory.
Manager, Ricardo Moratalla said: "We have a number of friendlies lined up as we work out how we will approach 11-a-side football.
"I was really pleased with the application and effort from the players today. They made great use of the space and learned some lessons where we need to improve.
"Tim has been working hard since the return from lockdown and today’s performance from him was fantastic - a return to the Tim Clifford we know so well."