It was not the most appropriate first game back after a couple of postponements, being thrown straight into a Plate Quarter Final round, especially as it was again vs. our growing competitive challengers of NPL and at their pitches again. The thought bubble that they were of the same cold start as the Vikings at this game was soon popped, after they mentioned they had already played 2 games and won them in their new B Section group.
So the pre match briefing went back to basics, we can score, we don’t panic if down a goal, we work together and we owe them one. Let’s pick up where we left off last game and have strength and pride in our game.
This the players delivered in what oddly was a first half in exact duplication as the last game. An early lead by us via Noah assisted by Guy, ensured Vikings ‘punched first’. Some outstanding saves by Jamie and solid defending ensured this was maintained until a penalty awarded for handball in the 2nd quarter. One of many ref decisions that were felt inappropriate at this level of the age and could quite easily have been waved play on. Despite getting down quick to his left Jamie was able to get a hand to the ball but the power in NPLs shot was again strong.
Feeling positive for the second half, the 3rd quarter led to a further well taken and confident connection between Noah from a corner to Michael, who reacted quickly in the box (one of the usual mantras of the pre match talk) and slotted home. The smile on his face back, after some further inappropriate Ref dialogue earlier.
As NPL do, they pick up their game and go on the attack again and were rewarded with another reactionary shot from a corner to the back post where their players quick feet met the incoming ball to shot through the crowd accurately.
All square into the 4th quarter, the cry for Harry, St George and the last 12 minutes goes out. The positives were unfortunately all undone after yet another dubious penalty decision given against us, which had numerous players & parents upset. The following last 6 minutes were hard for the team with 2 further goals scored against them, the last on the final seconds again of the game like last time round. Although Vikings gave NPL a good ‘bloody nose’, we were the ones with the split eyes and seeing stars above our heads. Despite this, the team never wanted to throw in the towel and continued efforts, with passions high, was visible in abundance.
To get better in all we do on a Saturday morning, we all learn from such games and by going toe to toe for well over the majority of the match should again bring more positives than the end result.
The aim is to again build on these positives and take forward together in the next game.