Home Match vs Highcliffe Hawks Bransgore Pavillion 24th November 2019 SQUAD: Caleb, Harry, Charles, Joe, Ronnie, Frankie, Harvey, Finnley & Brook. I got to the Pavillion ?at 8:10? to check the state of the pitch. I was desperate for this one to go ahead and all the other home games for Bransgore had been cancelled including Under 7’s, Under 11’s and Under 13’s. The pitch was like a carpet in places, but I had some concerns over the goalmouths as they were quite sludgy and I didn’t want to put the boys at risk. It was a very damp November morning, and had been bartering it down for days!! However the rain had held up and the Sun even came out whilst I was white lining the pitch. Any more rain and this one was off, no doubt. A quick phonecall to the committee and also the Highcliffe manager ?at 8:30am? and the agreement was on to play the game. I was really looking forward to trying to avenge the defeat from the 5-2 result away to the Hawks. Both Harry and Frankie had been ill throughout the week and again the plan was to play all the boys for ¾ of the match as we only had the 9 to try and keep that consistency and allow the game to flow. We started with Caleb, Harry, Ronnie, Joe, Finnley, Harvey and Brook. We started well and were pressing as a team. Me and Mark had spoken with the boys about pressing together and working as a defensive unit when we didn’t have the ball. Highcliffe are a very good side, and have a couple of boys that are so comfortable on the ball. On their day they also can beat anybody. Their skills showed and they had a couple of excellent moves and shots which bought the very best out of Caleb. At full stretch on 3 or 4 occasions he managed to claw the ball away to safety. Both Harry and Ronnie in the first quarter were under so much pressure but stood firm and did what they could to prevent Highcliffe from scoring. I wanted the boys to sit as high as possible and be tight to their forwards, and I think we could’ve definitely done this better.
There were at least another 2/3 great saves again by Caleb and we also had a couple of good opportunities where we could’ve scored. We made 2 changes on 12.5 minutes, Charles replaced Brook on the left side and Harry was replaced by Frankie at the back. Myself and Mark made a couple of tactical swaps and changes to make sure the boys were covered in all area’s as the second quarter continued. We got to half time and to be fair the score could’ve been 0-3, 3-3 or 3-0! Absolute Madness!! These home games really are testing the older generations blood pressure (Neil??)!! Haha. Harry was feeling poorly and felt he was not able to go back on at Half Time so Joe stayed on and Brook came back on for Harvey on the left side, with Charles being pushed up front to put pressure on their defence (which I thought he did brilliantly). Caleb kicked well out of his hands and put us in a couple of times but a couple of their lads were also having excellent performances. Again Caleb made 2 outstanding saves, tipping the ball wide when it looked certain to nestle. Their manager was losing his mind at this point and me and Mark were sniggering out loud. Unbelievable Jeff!! Finnley made some great runs down either wing and Joe as he has been lately was a constant menace! We then went on an attack and played some great passing together. I can’t exactly remember the build-up but I know it came from the right and the ball bounced just outside the box with Brooklyn taking the ball early on the side volley and absolutely ripping into the net!! 1-0 to the Gore on 37 minutes! Was this going to be our first home win?? We made a couple of changes and bought Harry on for Joe and Harvey on for Finnley. Unfortunately on 45 minutes Highcliffe drew level after a corner wasn’t cleared and their captain, and number 10 managed to get a second chance on goal and nestled the ball into the bottom right hand corner. The boys were visibly upset but credit to them they carried on and we nearly got a winner, with Harvey just going over the bar after some great individual work and their goalkeeper also making 2 x great saves from Brook. The game finished 1-1 and despite not getting the win, Football was definitely then winner!! Man of the Match had to go to an outstanding Captain for the day in Caleb who at times kept us in the game. A special mention also to Ronnie who attacked the ball brilliantly, stood up when he needed too and really led the team from the back. Trainer of the week went to Ronnie who week in week out works so hard every training session, he always puts in massive effort and has a huge influence on the other boys with his actions, support, tackles and attitude. We must also not forget that Ronnie is in Year 3 and playing up a year! Very proud of all of the boys efforts and I can honestly say they were all excellent on the day! Up the Gore!! WE ONLY DO POSITIVE!!!!!