With no cup game we arranged a friendly against Stretford Victoria who are in Group B like Timperley Demons who we played last week. It was an ideal opportunity to try a couple of different formations and give boys a chance to show their credentials in other positions. We started in h a 3-3-2 with Daniel W, the captain, in goal, Josh G, Ben S and Thomas Dy at the back, Thomas Da, Henry and Ben G as the midfield three with Flynn and Daniel H up front. We told the boys we wanted a better attitude than last week and not to think its going to be an easy game. We wanted to see a hunger and desire to win a football match and the boys who started needed to show us what they are about.
We started on the front foot and put Vics under pressure from the first whistle. We took the lead inside two minutes when a poor clearance from Vics fell to Ben G who curled a beautiful shot inside the far post to give the keeper no chance. Instead of our boys asserting their authority on the game Vics started to get a foothold in the encounter. They had two strong physical players in midfield who started to win second balls and knock it over the top to get our back three turning as we tried to play a high pressing line. They also had a neat and tidy player up front who tecnically was very good. Our front boys were finding it difficult to connect the play and our midfield were struggling with the physicality. It was no surprise when they equalised with an excellent lobbed strike after we hadn't dealt with another long ball played forward. This was a wake up call for our boys plus we had to bring Thomas M on to replace Josh G who was feeling unwell. We started to compete and play some of the football we know the boys can do, still the two boys upfront Flynn and Daniel H were finding it difficult to break the shackles of a determined Vics defence. As we were about to make changes we got our noses in front when our ace marksman Flynn got back among the goals with a cool finish after the ball was bouncing around in their box to make it 2-1. With 10mins in the half left Nathan, Ryan, Thomas H and Josh S replaced Ben G, Henry, Flynn and Daniel H respectively with Thomas Da moving upfront in a 3-3-2 system. The fresh legs plus the physicality of our boys was evident for the 10mins as we scored two goals and indeed could have had two or three more. The third goal was a wonderful strike direct from a free kick 30yds out by Thomas H that flew past the keeper after Ryan had been fouled. We then should have had a penalty when Ryan who along with Nathan and Thomas H had totally dominated the middle of the park since coming on with their physicality and strength was then about to strike a right foot shot from inside the box when he was literally cleaned out by their centre midfield player whose frustration was increasing by the minute, to our astonishment the referee waived play on. We did get a fourth before half time when Nathan was alert to finish after the ball broke to him in the box. So the score was 4-1 at half time.
We told the boys that we would be making more changes in the second half and boys need to show us they want a starting shirt after Xmas. The attitude and quality of play has been so much better than last week and we need to continue this in the second half. Plus as they are tiring and becoming frustrated they have put some nasty tackles in on you so move the ball quickly by playing two and three touch football. The second half started as the first had finished with the four boys at the back totally dominant, the midfield three winning all the first and second balls and the two boys up front working their socks off both in and out of possession. We missed a couple of wonderful chances through Josh S and Thomas Da to extend our lead following some wonderful football. More substitutions were made and direct from a corner Ben G scored with an inswinging right foot delivery to make it 5-1. Vics were now out on their feet and getting more frustrated as the game wore on, unfortunately a number of tackles were a little reckless and the referee tried to let the game flow but should have stopped it. Our boys were playing some great football with our midfield boys Nathan, Ryan, Thomas H, Henry and Ben G anticipating, passing and moving with speed and accuracy. Anytime Vics got past our back three our skipper Daniel W was in excellent form in goal, making a couple of super saves and acting brilliantly as the sweeper keeper. More changes were made particularly upfront to get some understanding and goals into Flynn, Daniel H, Josh S and Thomas Da, they had opportunities but didnt take them and it was Nathan who made it 6-1 with a lovely left foot strike that arrowed into the bottom corner. The only question now was could Ben G complete his hat-trick and when their keeper came out to clear a through ball it landed at his feet some 35yds out and he struck a wonderful right foot shot that evaded the keeper as he tried to get back to his goal for his hat-trick and to make the final score 7-1.
Their coaches were extremely complimentary of how our boys had played and indeed the manner in which they had conducted themselves which was really nice to hear. We told the boys that their attitude, willingness to run, desire, competitiveness and quality of play was significantly better than last week and what we expect every week. The boys who had started did well as its not easy playing in a system with a couple of new players against a physical and strong set of boys for the first 20mins as they wanted to knock it long,mix it for the second balls and had fresh legs. The remaining 40mins was excellent from all of you, maybe we should have been more ruthless in front of goal and scored 3 or 4 more, we need to get that in our play for the big games coming up. As far as Man of the Match went the boys voted on three names that we put forward Thomas Dy who had an excellent game both defensively and backing up the wide player when going forward, Thomas H who is back to his best with his anticipation, combative nature, understanding of his role and he added a great goal too. However, the boys decided that for his wonderful hat-trick Ben G was a deserved winner of the award.
We have now finished returning to training on the 4th January with our next game, a Cup game, against Ashton On Mersey away on the 7th January with a 9.30am kick off.
Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and all the best for 2017 from the Management, Coaches and Players of BDJFC Lazio U11's.