After last weeks reverse against the Devils we'd had an excellent training session on Wednesday together with a frank discussion of all our expectations and goals for the season. The boys were eager to put things right against a Phoenix side who we'd beaten convincingly in the first game but they'd had several close encounters since. We started with a 3-3-2 formation with the captain Thomas H in a more advanced position. The game began with us on the front foot and dominating all areas of the pitch. The boys showed a hunger and desire to win first and second balls plus the movement off the ball was better than last week. In the first 10mins we had a couple of good opportunities through Flynn, Thomas H and Henry but last ditch tackling and good keeping kept the game goalless. The boys started to show signs of frustration as Phoenix kept two lines of four and defended deep, not by design it was just we had them hemmed in, so it was a relief when Thomas H hit a wonderful free kick from 30yards out on our left into the top corner of the net to give us the lead. No sooner had we gone in front that we conceded another soft goal, another long punt from their backline was not dealt with initially so we ended up conceding a corner, from which, our near post marker completely missed his kick and it hit their player in front of Daniel and went in to make it 1-1. This seemed to galvanise the boys and from a wonderful pass from Ryan, Flynn beat the offside trap and coolly finished when one-on-one to put us 2-1 up. We made changes with Thomas Da, Josh S and Ben replacing Nathan, Flynn and Ryan. The boys continued to play some excellent football and it was great to see Josh S get on the scoresheet with a wonderful left foot strike which gave their keeper no chance. So we led 3-1 at the break.
We told the boys to keep playing with the same intensity, aggression and anticipation whilst also moving the ball a little quicker by playing two and three touch football. Although Phoenix were finding it difficult to compete against us we encouraged the boys to continue to be ruthless and clinical in all areas of the pitch and to maintain the standards they had set for themselves.
The second half was 30mins of one way traffic with Daniel, Josh G, Thomas M and Thomas Dy dominant at the back and composed when in possession. The midfield of Nathan, Ben, Ryan and Henry were inventive, creative and supportive in all aspects of their play. The forwards of Flynn, Thomas H, Josh S and Thomas Da showed wonderful movement, hunger and awareness to be a constant threat to the Phoenix goal. It wasn't long before we added the fourth and possibly best goal of the game, when after fine play from Daniel, Thomas Dy, Nathan, Flynn was put through on the left and his first time cross was met beautifully by Thomas Da on the run with the outside of his right foot to give their keeper no chance. Flynn soon added a fifth with another cool finish after some good football, then Thomas Da volleyed in at the backpost from a superb Thomas H corner to make it 6-1. We made a change to the system going 2-4-2 which enabled us to play with even more width and stretch an already tired and weary Phoenix defence/midfield. From a wonderful run and cross by Nathan Josh S got his second goal with a cheeky back heel. Flynn then completed his hat-trick with a great header from a wonderful corner by Ben. Nathan then got on the scoresheet with a fine finish before our ace marksman Flynn grabbed his fourth to complete the scoring and a 10-1 win.
Both the referee and the opposing coaches were extremely complimentary about our boys, both in terms of the football they played but their attitude and willingness to work for their team. This was so good to hear as the team had bounced back superbly after last week, granted the opposition were not the strongest we will meet, however, their results so far have been quite close apaert from our two games. Credit to Phoenix as they never gave in and kept going to the final whistle, unfortunately they met our boys in a ruthless mood. Every boy contributed to an excellent win but for his two goals and constantly being a threat the birthday boy Josh S was awarded the Man of the Match.
Next Saturday 15th October we are at home to Sale Utd Storm with a 9.30am kick off.