With no cup match a development game was arranged with the current leaders of Group B, Timperley FC Demons. UnfortunatelyJosh G was unavailable but we welcomed Daniel H for his debut. We started with a 2-4-2 system with Daniel W, the Captain, in goal, Thomas M and Thomas Dy as the back two. Henry, Thomas H, Ryan and Nathan across midfield with the vice captain Flynn and the debutant Daniel H up front.
We began very much on the front foot with the speed of our play and the boys ability to close down and win the ball back caused Demons all sorts of problems. We had a couple of chances through Nathan, Flynn and Daniel H which were superbly saved or blocked by last ditch defending. It was only a matter of time before we took the lead and it came from a great longe range strike from Thomas H that gave their keeper no chance. We were proving too strong and powerful for them, however, our usual passing style was far from what we expect and the standards the boys have set themselves. We were soon 2up when a deflected long range shot fell at the feet of Flynn whose shot was superbly pushed out by their keeper only for the debutant Daniel H to be on hand to tap in the rebound. We made a number of changes with Ben S, Ben G, Josh S and Thomas Da all coming on and the fluency of our play still didnt reach the levels we expect. The passing and movement throughout the whole team was poor and the decision making all over the pitch needed to improve. Demons started to get a fothold in the game and had a couple of long range chances that were well saved by Daniel W. We led 2-0 at the break.
We emphasised to the boys that to play a 2-4-2 system we needed to be better in possession of the ball and that the movement from particularly our forward players needed to be better both when we have and dont have the ball. We understand that new players are involved today and the system is somewhat new, but if our forward players don't work their socks off then we will have difficulty playing this system going forward. The back two need to take more care with their passing and improve their decision making. The midfield four need to make things happen and stretch the opponents wherever we can, continue to dominate their opponent but be more decisive in possession, playing two/three touch and pass and move whenever we have the ball.
The second half started as the first had ended with Demons siezing on our poor decision making to play balls long down our channels to stretch our back two. Thomas M and Thomas Dy were up to the task and whenever Daniel W had to play sweeper keeper he did so with confidence and determination. We tried several permutations to make the system work, however, the movement and anticipation wasn't there and although we had a couple of great opportunities to extend our lead through guilt edged chances for Thomas Da, Henry and Nathan which were wasted we initially tried a 3-3-2 and then quickly moved to a 3-4-1 which gave us more control and ability to move into spaces particularly down our left hand side. Again we had a couple of chances that were well saved and then with 5mins left they scored from a 35yd free kick that beat Daniel W as he couldnt reach it when it looped in just under the crossbar. Demons felt they had a chance, however, this was the wake up call our boys needed and we played some excellent football with Ryan being extremely unlucky when after a wonderful piece of skill on the left edge of the box he hit a curling shot that gave the keeper no chance but unfortunately hit the angle of post and crossbar. With Thomas H continuing his superb form for the day when asked to sit in the back three after an injury to Thomas M they didnt get another chance and we ran out 2-1 winners.
An excellent work out for the boys against a workmanlike Demons team. A lot to be desired in terms of our game play and the boys level of effort, anticipation, movement and decision making. We told them that the systems that are available to us depend on you and it is vital that when you get an opportunity you show us what you can do. As far as the Man of the Match went the boys were asked to vote and two names stood out, yet again Thomas M had a strong game defensively at the back, however, he was pipped by Thomas H with a fantastic all action never-say-die display coupled with an excellent goal and a nasty injury to boot which he played through.
No cup match again next week but a development game has been arranged againstt Stretford Vics at home with a 9.30am kick off.