After last weeks reverse against AOM we challenged the boys to win their remaining 6 Cup games to ensure we reach the final in May. First up was a home game against a good Wilmslow Town Cougars team who had been involved in 4 tight games so far this season and David their Coach always has them playing attractive football so it was going to be a difficult encounter given previous matches between us. We started with a 3-3-2 system with the boys who where Champions last season all starting plus the addition of Josh G to make the three at the back. The boys started strongly, pressing all over the pitch to win the ball back when Cougars had possession. When we had the ball we needed to show better decision making and improved quality with our passing in the final third as we were creating opportunities and openings with regularity. Flynn, Thomas Da, Nathan and Thomas M all had shots at goal which were either blocked, saved or missed the target. From a deflected shot we had a corner which Thomas H delivered into the box and Josh G was in hand to bundle home after a goalmouth scramble to put us 1-0 up. They played with 4 in midfield against our 3 plus when we switched off at the top end of the pitch they added a further 'holding player' which meant 5 against 3 !! This caused several problems, particularly when we didn't keep the ball in forward areas. Thomas Dy, Thomas M, Ben S (Who had replaced Josh G who was feeling unwell) and the skipper Daniel W, stood firm and strong at the back with the 3 boys in midfield Nathan, Ryan and Thomas H working their socks off. We made a number of changes and from a silky run by Ben G he was fouled inside the area and the referee rightly awarded a penalty. Thomas H stepped up and smashed it into the net to give us a 2-0 half time lead.
We told the boys that they had shown a massive improvement on last week with their hunger, desire, attitude, willingness to run, compete and win their individual battles. We now wanted them to show a little more quality on the ball and to be more ruthless in front of goal. We would be making changes in the second half so give everything when you are on the pitch. We changed the system to play a 2-4-2 but told the front boys that they had to work extremely hard when there Cougars had the ball for this to work. Well, the second half was pure one way traffic and a joy to watch as the boys systematically tore the Cougars apart with some outstanding football, fantastic movement off the ball, wonderful decision making and quality goals. Ben G got the third after he made a wonderful run from midfield to beat the offside trap and was found with a pin point pass and he cooly slotted home. Soon afterwards Ryan made it 4-0 with a decisive finish inside the box after we won the ball back in the final third. Ben G then added a fifth with almost a carbon copy of his first when he burst clear and was found with another wonderful pass, this time from Nathan and he rounded the keeper before finishing. Ryan then scored possibly the best goal of the day with a special strike when he was first to react as the ball came out of the box and he kept his composure and smashed it first time into the the very top right hand corner from 20yards giving their keeper no chance. The boys were no rampant and the Cougars had no answer to our hunger for more goals. Flynn, Josh S, Daniel H and Henry all had chances that were well saved or blocked before Josh G got his second and our seventh when he headed in from a wonderful Thomas H corner. From another defence splitting pass Daniel H beat their offside trap and raced clear to smash home from just inside the area to make it 8-0. Another contender for goal of the day was our ninth and last goal when Nathan, from 25yards, struck a fabulous left foot 'missile' that flew past the keepers outstretched righthand into the far corner of the net. Flynn, Thomas Da, Henry and Josh S worked tirelessly and created opportunities for themselves and others during a wonderful second half. The Cougars never gave up and were rewarded when from a rare attack with only a couple if minutes to go they got a consolation goal. A little disappointing for our boys at the back who wanted and deserved a clean sheet. The game ended in a 9-1 victory for us.
We told the boys how proud we were of their efforts today and they had now set the standard in terms of work rate, teamwork, attitude, desire, willingness to run and being ruthless in both boxes. Everyone played a key role in the result today, but it was felt that Thomas Dy had shown quality in all aspects of his play and his decision making was outstanding.
We have no cup game next week but a friendly has been arranged by the league against Hale Utd Montpellier (Leaders of Group C) at our ground with a 9.30am kick off,