[Written by Dennis Eve/Anya Thompson]
CBA vs Warwick Academy
On October 16, 2023 CedarBridge Academy defeated Warwick Academy 3-0 in the season’s first match, a rematch of last year’s Under 16 finals. With last year’s setback as incentive, CBA dominated the match from start to finish; however, Warwick countered with a strong defense. After a fantastic run by CBA’s Harlem Fox, a flighted chip over the box found the foot of CBA striker Jaylen Heaven, who opened the scoring for the away team in the 20th minute. 10 minutes later, skipper Dakayo Leverock blasted home a stunning 25-yard shot that stopped the Warwick Academy goalkeeper in his tracks. Leverock subsequently claimed that he was pleased with his goal because he was patient and let the game come to him.
With ease, CBA led the game going into the second half. Taking advantage of their lead, the team tried more unachieved aims. Dakayo, nevertheless, was not going to let the game end with the same score. He skillfully fired a free kick from just outside the box in the dying seconds of the match. The ball easily slipped past Warwick’s fully extended keeper and struck the back of the net to complete the 3-0 victory. Not one to become complacent after a victory, CBA’s attacking midfielder, Harlem Bean-Fox, shared the following remarks after the game: “I could have played better today, Warwick Academy does a good job sitting back and blocking spaces, so it was hard to create many chances, but the chances I did have I should have put away. As a team we need to do a better job of finishing our chances”.
CBA vs Saltus
CedarBridge Academy faced Saltus on their own turf on November 6, 2023, looking to build on their first-round triumph over Warwick Academy. CBA used possession and patience to break down an organized Saltus defense in the first half of the game. Despite having complete control of the ball, CBA was unable to produce enough clear chances to score. Vice-Captain Harlem Bean-Fox expertly moved between two opposing players and laid the ball to midfielder Tyree Fubler in the last minutes of the first half. The opening goal of the game appeared to be within reach, but the play was halted, and the first half finished 0-0.
During the first half of the second half, CBA swiftly regained possession of the ball.
CBA infiltrated the Saltus defense thanks to the skillful footwork of winger Xave Smith and midfielder Harlem Bean-Fox, who provided an opening for striker Jaylen Heaven to score the game’s first goal. Saltus changed tactics and pressed into CBA territory, aided by a couple explosive runs from their top offensive winger. The sturdy CBA defense was able to survive the opposition team’s brief barrage of strikes, and the score remained constant for the majority of the half. CBA’s victory was sealed in the final five minutes of the game by winger Jahzion Taylor’s solo effort. With clinical flawlessness, Taylor picked up the ball on the edge of the 18-yard box, dribbled past three players, and finished with a right foot shot that glided over the Saltus goalkeeper.
Goal scorer Taylor expressed his satisfaction with his goal and performance, taking stock of the team’s performance. He noted that, while he always relishes the chance to score points and celebrate with his teammates, his primary goal was to help the team win. “Defensively we always feel in control of the game,” said star defender Dakari Smith. Because teams don’t often put much pressure on us, it’s simple for us to play in a territorial manner and develop from behind. I’m very pleased with the team’s performance and with another victory.” Harlem Bean-Fox, Man of the Match, stated, “I played much better today defensively and going forward.” The team worked effectively together and kept the ball efficiently. This gave me plenty of room to set up opportunities for my colleagues. I’m extremely pleased with my contribution, and I believe the club is reuniting as it did last season.”