An early KO in a notorious shadowy pitch, did nothing to help the ground conditions from softening quickly. After a pitch inspection by all parties, it was felt that although some areas may take longer to clear, the rest of it was playable once the game was progressing over it.
No doubt that this 1st Qtr was hard for all the players to stay warm (especially for those in goal), but was evident in the break as the boys came off in clouds of hot breath in the cold air. Unfortunately Noah was struggling in the cold and had to retire and after a check with the others, they all agreed that all were OK.
The 2nd Qtr brought a continuation of good pressure in front of the oppositions goal, but the final effort was either stifled by a solid goalkeeping or just wide of the mark. The opposition broke well during periods of the game and all players worked hard in covering back quickly over the difficult surface. Goalkeepers often don’t play a constant active part in a game, only hopefully producing a save when its critical but remain absolutely pivotal at times. They have to stay focused on the game and not be too clever with the ball. Another quick break down the left and after turning our defender, the opposition managed to cross the ball. Believing the shot was going wide our goalie instead of playing safe and stopping the ball, decided to let it run past him, with arms out wide to indicate it was going out of play. It certain was going out of play, but after rolling into his net. Frustrations of one of the parents was more visible than others, but using that parents own mantra, football is all about learning and I hope this player realises the better options for next time, after hearing nothing else from me for the rest of the entire day.
A goal down in these conditions was now going to make this even harder and the team knew this but were definitely up for the challenge. At times in both the 2nd & 3rd Qtr’s, it just seemed like it was going to be one of those days again, with chances just not happening, after another string of saves and both the post and cross bar rattling from Michael and Jamie’s shots.
The coaches always instruct the team to remain claim, confident and relaxed during their own technique and this was not better demonstrated by Guy in the 3rd Qtr. Having worked hard on the left, he intercepted a poor goalkeeper clearance and with clear thinking and stride forward, accurately shot from distance past the out of position goalkeeper and defenders.
With no chance to rest players as no sub, we were back in the game and the pressure for the remaining 3rd & 4th Qtr’s was constantly in the attack. Again chances to extend our lead didn’t appear, despite some great opportunities from Michael, Guy and especially George who was outstanding during this last half, who in 2 occasions came close to breaking his duck on scoring.
Whilst the confidence in attack was felt by all, our defenders remained important in protecting our goal from the odd break and the team had to energise to get back and help. On 2 occasions Harry had to react fast and accurately to clear the danger area, to deny any late upsets. Again showing the vital role that all team members have to play in staying focused and in the right place , even if not involved fully at times in the game.
Overall the team played extremely well and if we can take this into our last game before Christmas, I think we will all be delighted with the teams efforts in this 1st half of the season.