Neutral league match played on 02 August 2020.
Kicked off at 6:00 PM

Not gonna do in depth reports at the moment so will just provide a quick summary.

I suspected it would likely be a struggle for us and it was certainly that for large periods of this game. The intention of pre-season is never to try and win all the games, it's mainly about easing back into playing by gradually improving physical and mental fitness, and testing people out in new positions as well as new additions to the squad.

We certainly got moved about the pitch a fair amount so the physical fitness will have improved for that. Mental fitness was clearly at a low level, most noticeable by our sluggish reactions and anticipation of where the space had, and could be, opened up.

We went down to 3 goals in quick succession, through a combination of poor shape, poor communication and some good play by our opponents. Again, do not read into this too much, these things are expected to happen and if you feel like you could have done more or did something wrong then the only way to respond is to learn from it and try not to do it again.

The second third was a very positive change from the first, we were largely dominant and Telscombe were quite clearly rattled by the shift in quality we were showing. I think it's fair to say that Craig Stevens had a massive impact on this, with almost every attack involving him. He scored and assisted and was constantly combining well with Johnny (and others) to slice them apart. Also the other new recruit on show, Jamie, added a massive boost in the middle with his energy, tackling and impressive organisational communication. If there's one attribute I feel this team has lacked since the beginning it is just that, we haven't really had someone on the pitch prepared to be that vocal prescence that adds an element of reassurance to those around them, so I'm hoping to see more of that not just from Jamie but others too. I've tried to do it when I've played but unfortunately I can often come across as sounding too negative which I fear may have the opposite of the intended effect!

We looked a lot more comfortable at the back, especially on the left side. Adam added a bit more solidity there and Craig Stevens was dropping a lot deeper to help him and offer an out-ball that was so often lacking in the early stages of the game.

In truth we should have been in front at the end of the second period. Luis (who was now playing up top and doing a very good job) and Aly both had chances to score, with Aly producing probably his best performance for us. A little bit more selfishness and confidence in front of goal would certainly not go amiss with him, there is a very talented player in there that we've seen many times at training on a small pitch but perhaps not enough of when it matters.

The last third was much in the same manner as the first, we lost the intensity and momentum that we had achieved previously. Telscombe were again in full control and with the addition of their scummy tactic of fouling Craig every time he got the ball they were able to comfortably see off any chance of a comeback. Will converted a penalty with 10 to go but by then we were well beaten.

Again, it really doesn't matter about the result, it was just good to be back playing again and I'm confident as the weeks pass we will step up through the gears to hit the ground running when the season starts.

No MoM this week, I'll start all that when the season proper begins.

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