With the mild start to Autumn hanging in, it was another nice morning at Hartletts Park as the Tigers welcomed Churt Harriers on something of a roll from recent matches.
Immediately noticable with the Harriers as the first quarter started was the sheer size of the players and how quick and strong they were. Right from the start, the Tigers were pinned in to their own half for almost the entire period with some resolute defending and a couple of nice saves from the 'keeper keeping the Tigers in touch. Unfortunately, the second quarter was where it started to go wrong.
Across the pitch, Harriers were very capable on the ball with some lovely passes and strong individual runs that put the Tigers on the back foot. However, Hook helped Churt by not playing the way they can. There was a distinct lack of desire to press the opposition, indeed a number of times Tigers actually backed away from the opposition making the spaces even bigger, and the positioning was often non-existent. The last man was regularly left to contend with the very quick attacks by the Harriers for himself. No surprise that the Harriers were 2-up at the half time break.
Again, Tigers proved that they never let their heads drop and the second half brought a lot of energetic displays from a number of the players, however, they needed to focus there energy in the right way. There was a lot of running to chase the opposition but often too much jumping in to challenges. There was often more than one player attempting to go for the same ball, or alternatively, no-one going for it. The balance of the nearest player pressing the ball with the other Tigers holding position to offer support was missing.
That said, the Tigers' 2 goals came from different, but equally wonderful, types of play. The first was a delightful lob from just inside the attacking half as L C took a moment to look up, see the goalie off his line before uting a very nice ball over the top. The second, a well worked team move that highlighted what the Tigers can do so well. Four players involved with no more than 2 touches each, nice fast passing that weaved through the Harriers, culminating with a calm delivery of a positive finish. More of the same please!
There was no intent for a MoM award by the manager, however, in the end, he opted to reward D S with the accolade for some resolute defensive work. Often trying to hold things on his own, he made a considerable number of blocks, interceptions and tackles and kept his play simple, turning away from the goal and either pushing the ball out of play when under pressure or looking for a pass down the width when he had time. Simple football works.
More to look at in training, but focus is the key! With that, all of the positional discipline, communication and pressure that was lacking today will come. It's probably fair to say that the Tigers have had some good results but been slightly flattered at times; teams like Churt won't let them get away with it. If the players paid attention and focussed more in training, they would get the results on the pitch. Individual player reviews will start next week ;-)
Win, Lose or Draw, Tigers Roar!