Back at our home ground that we have made a fortress this season and we welcome back midweek football....
Our opponents are rivals of ours and I have no doubt they are still moaning now about the game....
We really wanted to carry over our positivity into the game that we showed on Sunday.
We trialled a new formation with 2 holding CDM's and this freed up the full backs (Oscar and Oli H) to really push on. This will take a little more work to get the balance right but with a good pre season, I think we can improve on this....
Connor and Rio provided a really good insight to their team mates before the game about how certain roles need to be played and this carried in to the game.
Full of energy and we ripped them open time and time again.... Rio / Owen / Aiden literally were unstoppable.
However, we see ourselves getting frustrated at the lack of shots and goals and through a stoppable long range strike that seem to beat our keepers time and time again this season. I know there is always the point that outfield players could close earlier etc but the basic shot stopping is something we have to be able to rely on.
That said, Oli Lucas' distribution from his drop kicks really helped alleviate any pressure we faced and also dealt well with the pass backs that came his way with long kicks upfield.
The back 4 looked solid and even though we will be working on the more composed build up play from the back as the pre season kicks in, we definitely hit some great through balls through.
Our striker for the evening, Antos, was full of running early on but as the ball didn't come to him, the further back he dropped. In our set up, the striker has to be high at the top of the pitch.... .The ball will come but you have to be patient and strict on yourself in these situations.
Now, Aiden Powel, who has been playing higher up the pitch,tormented his marker all evening and used his strength and pace to go past him in to the box and the only way they could deal with him was to bring him down.
PENALTY SHOUTS AROUND THE GROUND AND THE REF GIVES IT.......
Connor, who missed a penalty on Sunday, was placed in charge and as Kaysha and I knew, he dispatched it brilliantly.
1-1 and surely we would kick on again........ Oh no, a simple to deal with long ball in to the box, under no pressure but no call from the keeper until very late and a fumble led to their striker getting possession and Oli brought him down.... PENALTY.
Superbly saved by Oli but then the recovery was a little too much and the ball ended being palmed back in to the net.
We came in at half time with our heads down, knowing we deserved more.... A common occurence for most games in 2023.
I really went in on the players at HT as my frustration had been building through the half..... Mistakes happen in grass roots football but they cannot keep happening when it comes to the basics. That was my theme. All of the good work for 39 minutes of a 40 minute half is undone by moments of embarassing play...... It cannot keep happening if you want to win games!
Second half, much like the first, was dominated with Black & White shirts in possession for pretty much 40 minutes. Oli didn't have a save to make and we had countless chances.
It was great to see Owen getting another 80 minutes showing leadership and maturity and Tommy also back to his best with more aggression with his running and getting crosses and shots away.
With Tommy, Liam and Aiden making runs for Owen to pick out he guided a throughball in to the area that Liam didn't give up on. A few bumps and bounces and he got his rewards by toe poking it home... That is the equaliser that we deserved.
We needed to freshen things up and like I said to the lads countless times, subs are there to make an impact......
Bringing back on Aidan, Antos, Ben, Connor & Rio - MOST TEAMS DON'T HAVE THAT QUALITY ON THE PITCH LET ALONE TO MAKE AN IMPACT
Within moments, we had another corner, expertly delivered by Rio and smashed in with a bullet header from Antos.... That silenced their trappy subs bench and the celebrations that ensued were a combination of relief, anger and joy as we felt like we had done the job.
Once again, Antos making the movement off the ball and latching on to another glorious Owen Draper through ball...... Lashed it over the helpless keeper to make it 4-2 and game over.....
Well done to the boys that really played their hearts out tonight..... Win / Lose / Draw we are proud of this team but the feeling is always a little sweeter when you win a tense and close game.
Up The Hawks