A foggy start at Hartletts Park, a last-minute venue change due to the amount of rainfall in the week. With all elements in place, an earlier KO was achieved with relatively little fuss. The opponents were CPR Tigers for a 'friendly' match as part of the Cup Month of November - however, last time out Hook managed a late resurgence to steal victory in a tense 3-2 result. What would happen this time out...?
Pre-match, the manager urged the players to take their much-improved performance from last week in to this fixture and ensure they maintained their positions, as well as the usual pressing of the opposition. The match started with CPR taking the game to Hook, instigating some good early pressure and testing the resolve of the Hook players with some bold runs. As the first half went on, Hook got in to the game more and more, although they went in to the break 3-down. Two of the goals came from the defensive line holding too far forward allowing a CPR player to sit 5 yards behind the defence, and clear on goal anytime a ball was played through or over the top. The other goal came from a corner where a rather static Hook team watched the ball come to rest 3 yards from the goal line and everybody stood still waiting to see what would happen next...a CPR player stabbed it home.
Never to let their heads drop, the response from Hook in the second half was superb. Easily the strongest team, with the majority of chances, Hook played with much more discipline, attacked quickly yet covered each other well at the back - not often did the manager have to encourage the midfield to track back. With 2 very deserved goals recovered, it was a little disappointing for the boys that the equaliser never quite materialised. However, as worked on in training, there was a lot more 'attacking' the ball in the opposition's area - perhaps there could be a little more of that in their own when under pressure...?
One further observation was the number of times a Hook player got closer to a team-mate in possession, in effect getting in each other's way, rather than pull away in to space to allow a constructive pass to be made. If they remember, when in possession they should "Spread like butter"...
A D - First half goalkeeper but a real nuisance to the opposition as he bossed the middle of the pitch in the second half. Must ensure he allows his team mates room on the ball, at times.
O M - Made some excellent covering runs and blocks, calm on the ball with some good distribution. Must keep looking over his shoulder to make sure no-one is behind him but his own 'keeper.
T L - Played a stint in defence and up-front. Ran at the opposition to chase everything, moved in to the channels well and really attacked the ball in the area. Little wonder he got a goal and an assist today.
S G - Another player who saw defence and midfield responsibilities. Such a powerful player and strong in the challenges. Made some good runs and nice link passes. Must ensure he doesn't turn back towards his own goal with the ball when under pressure in his area.
J R - Assured second half goalkeeping with confidence coming for the ball. His first half midfield role was sound with some good tackles won and simple passes to keep the ball moving. As goalie, when distributing the ball from his hands, he should keep the ball wide rather than through the middle.
D S - Such an industrious role in the midfield with some able assistance in defence. Covers the ground so well and reads the game impressively, he made a number of strong blocks when Hook were under pressure. Must ensure he stays on his side of the pitch when in a 2-man defensive role.
M R - Played up front and on the right of midfield. Ran his heart out chasing forward and back, and across when playing striker. Chased everything, pressed the defensive opposition winning the ball on a number of occasions. Can afford to make his passes a little quicker then look to run on to receive the ball back in an advanced position.
B E - Played throughout the midfield and up front. Chased well and very quick to get back when necessary. Always wanting the ball, drove at the defense and made some very intelligent passes and not afraid to lay the ball back. Often had a heavy touch which went for a throw or played in to the oppositions possession.
L C - Played left midfield throughout. Caused the opposition panic with his pacy runs and he's is not afraid to put in a decent, strong tackle. Unforunate to hit the bar with a superb shot from the left channel, outside the box. Can afford to consider the simpler pass in to the middle before thinking of the trickier shot from distance.
B W - Incredibly reliable, playing on the right of midfield as well as a stint at the back. Stands his ground well and always forces the opposition outside rather than allowing them in to the middle. Made some strong tackles and invariably makes the right pass out down the wing. A naturally big thrower of the ball, he must make sure his feet stay down and his hands go all the way back for throw-ins.
MoM this week went to M R. As well as his efforts this week, he has steadily increased his presence over the last few matches and works hard at his positioning. Very unselfish in his play. Well done!
Win, Lose or Draw, Tigers Roar!