Holly Lane entertained Chase FC Scholars for the first game of the new campaign. A difficult opening fixture against a proven division one team from last season who found themselves relegated but will be formidable this year. They beat us convincingly in the cup last year, they are competitive and physical. However, Holly Lane has improved pre-season and was given a confidence boost after producing a superb performance against Holly Lane under13’s.
In very windy conditions, Holly Lane won the toss and elected to kick with the wind in their favour. The boys started very brightly, closed down and battled for the ball in a very physical battle. Confidence grew with every pass; the team looked very good coming forward. In the 8th minute, Callum Hall found himself on goal and laid the ball to Tobias Andrews who blasted into the roof of the net. Two minutes later, Holly Lane conceded a free kick just outside our penalty area. Chase equalised with a sublime free kick that gave Charly Glass no chance.
Holly Lane scored in the 20th minute after creating many scoring chances. However, the goal was scored by a fortunate but very well taken volley from the half way line. Simon Chin connected with a perfect strike that saw the ball dip in under the goal. Fantastic!!
After yet another run by Callum Hall & the strength of Khari Slue up front, Holly Lane was now in the driving seat. The ref awarded an indirect free kick after a pass back decision. Ettan Korpal laid the ball off to Jordan Pyrce who drilled the ball low into the net.
At half time the boys were excited to be winning although I reminded them the game was not yet won. Now playing against the wind, Holly Lane had their work cut out against a team who would not stop competing.
I made a couple of changes in the second half; one or two players were beginning to flag after working so hard. Superb performances from Nathan Howarth, Ettan Korpal, Simon Chin & Kurtis Murphy in defence were encouraging. Khari Slue was asked to give a bit of height at the back; he did ok but needs to stay in position when playing at centre half.
Holly Lane did soak up some pressure in the first part of the second half and although we did concede a second goal, the boys managed to hold on to secure the 3 points.
Highlights for me were the industry and particular hard work of Lewis Roche in midfield. I have high hopes for a great partnership with Gabriel Stevens. It was also very refreshing to see Simon Chin rediscover is reliable form.
It was important to get our first 3 points on the board, well done Holly lane! The boys really did play some good passing football, it was very pleasing to see so many chances created.