With a break in the fixtures for the team, this friendly game gave me the chance to slightly mix things around and give the opportunity to some players to show what they can do in different positions. This also a reward for their patience in never being played in them before.
The game started effectively in spirit but from an accuracy aspect, we could not hit a barn door. Our accuracy, as with our constant foul throw in’s need much attention. Even after numerous nailed on shoots going wide, the faces of Michael and Noah said it all. The grins of disbelief as they look over to the line at me are a good sign. It shows me they are comfortable and remain confident to even when it’s not happening at that time for them. Several excellent deliveries across the goal, need to be reacted to quicker and even just a slight touch on some of these would have resulted in a goal. The deadlock was finally broken from a strong corner from Noah and reacted to at the near post by Jamie to ping it in. Even though we haven’t got a regular keeper, the importance o them to focus and watch the game when nothing happening was illustrated by Charlie in the last 5 seconds of the qtr. With a break on and the attacker 2 paces ahead of the defender clear on to goal, Charlie rushed out and claimed the ball at the attackers feet.
Qtr 2 brought a change in positions and there were looks of joy as Wills went up front and disbelief from Michael as he moved back into a defensive role. The only highlights of this qtr was the outstanding saves their oppositions keeper made on several occasions of good attempts on his goal and the Torres esq open goal effort sliced over the bar from 3 feet out by Wills. Despite some good pace up the wings by Harry and Charlie, there is a need for the players to look up and pass quicker than they are right now. Often that few extra touches enables the defender to get closer or hassle them wider into the corners, where they get little support.
Wills was however rewarded with 2 goals in the next qtr, whilst on the left wing and getting himself into some good space and controlling the ball into the net after assists from Guy & Jamie. The goal of the game came from Charlie in this quarter with an unstoppable low, hard strike that flow into the bottom right of the net after a move with Jamie.
Back to our strengths in the 4th qtr, the game shifted within our control again, despite some excellent goalkeeping again from the opposition. Noah, Michael and Guy (assisted by Jamie, Noah and Michael) finally put the game to bed and with no substitute to play worked well in puffing out their opposition.
I heard a quote this weekend that I feel is an excellent ethic for the team. Cesc Fabregas after all the fuss over him being labeled the ‘heartbeat of Chelsea’ said, "I say the same every week, I don't care about my goals or assists. I'm proud of the team work." When you look at our goal scorers of this game, only 1 came from a player in the strikers position in the 4th qtr. Yes perhaps there were earlier chances that they could have against their name, but the balance of those who do make themselves available in to the right space and do score is satisfying.
Next game at home will again be a tough challenge for the team in another local derby, especially as we have 2 players unavailable. One topic I would like parents to reinforce with their sons, is that each player must come to the centre after the game ends and conduct the FA Respect hand shake. I did get a comment from the coach on Saturday that someone preferred to joke at this point and not shake hands in the lineup. Win or lose, the teams are marked on such matters by the opposition coach and should always try to conduct themselves appropriately.