After what felt to be a very short summer, our first league game date came as a bit of a shock to most players when told at training. Expectations were that we should be able to carry on where we left off from last season with the team remaining the same and with the addition of James to offer further options. In reality, the start was slow and the mindset not quote switched on in the 1st quarter.
With the opposition making an immediate stamp on the game and playing physically on some parts of the pitch, an early, well worked conceded goal did not help this mindset.
Quarter 2, brought another body blow soon on, with another conceded goal, having been run from the midfield, through it and through the defence.
The Vikings with all credit to them, play like gentlemen and try to play the ‘beautiful game’. Nothing wrong in that at all and its respect to them for playing in that manner. However, there comes a time in certain games that the players need to switch over to become physically stronger, as well as mentally stronger. Mentally they have it, but the physical change often comes much later in the game. They have it and can ‘mix it up’ with the best, as proved in previous games. Age groups are changing and therefore so does the physical nature of the game. I know none of our players are frightened to get stuck in, it’s just helping them move to that level of when to do it during the game and in what is acceptable.
Despite 2 down and when losing in any game, the players will not accept the situation and with credit to all of them will work hard to alter it. This is a great indication of these boys developing in there mindset of never say die.
Attack and procession was good and there were good chances taken on goal, only to be denied by a very good young keeper. Training drills on ball movement appeared and player connections helped transition the play forward.
This proved successful and the team immediately lifted after a good connection from Noah to James, helped him score on his debut. There were chances at both ends throughout the game and without some skillful and brave saves by both keepers, it could have been very different. The first real instance of a potential back pass to Harley was dealt with clean execution by him and a solid action at the back was not unnoticed.
At the back in the last half Jamie and Harry showed their strength and a string of hard, clean tackles by Harry showed the boys were not here to be intimidated. At some key moments George would be either consistently clearing out the ball or reacting to a shot in front of our goal and managing to get a toe on it to send it out. Guy took a battering on the left and Michael’s worked hard up front to overcome the pulls and kicks.
The hard work and bruises were rewarded with a shot from Noah, which was spilled by the keeper and rolled in. If you don’t take such chances, you will never know and we will take any goal.
At full time, the jubilation of the team to claw back from 2 down was evident and thoughts of bruises forgotten.
Some remembered that the opposition gave us a good hard game and made it to the Plate final last season, so a very good team indeed. For this to be our first game back and at such a physical level, it can only do us good and we are not too far off from where we left off.