Top communicator: D S
A last-minute decision for the match to go on, after another wet week, and the Crookham Rovers Lightning welcomed the Tigers to Cody Sports Ground. A wet morning turned brighter but the cold was still there…
A good start to 2016 for the Tigers, and the manager enforced that more of the same would be needed today, especially against a side that had apparently not lost so far this season.
The Tigers started slowly, with Crookham taking control and laying on a number of attacks that left a decent amount of last-ditch defending and action from the goalkeeper. With the Lightning tactic of leaving a lone strike deep in the defensive half, it kept the 2 Tigers defenders pinned back deep, overly-occupied with the solitary player, and the overload in the main area of play, well and truly to Crookham’s advantage. That said, almost on the stroke of the end of the first quarter, a quality corner from B E found T Bu who attacked the ball with a first-time touch that tucked the ball inside the near-post. 1-0 Tigers, against the run of play.
At the break, the manager told the defence not to man-mark the striker, but ensure 1 of them had him covered, and allow the other to push forward and fill the gap behind the midfield. From the start of the second quarter, Tigers dominated, with D S pushing up from defence and utilising the space behind the midfield as the Tigers pushed attack after attack, but not quite having the grit in front of goal. With the second quarter running a couple of minutes over, Crookham snatched an equaliser after a quick break following a loss of possession in the middle third of the pitch. 1-1.
The second half brought a lot of entertainment, with both teams attacking and counter-attacking with regular frequency! The Tigers often losing out due to under-hit passing, but led with a central role played very well by S G, who often won the ball over the excellent Crookham #7, the Tigers managed to win the ball back more than during the first part of the season. However, the Tigers do need to ensure a more aggressive approach to their attacking play, still allowing the ball to run across them, or trying ‘flashy’ flicks, the Tigers must get the ball quickly under control and then move it on…quickly. Too often the decisive ball came too late.
Top communicator was D S. Playing his second successive match as captain, he led by example with constant encouragement to his team-mates, good tactical awareness, notably at defensive corners, and some good off-the-ball direction.
MoM went to M R… Not just for his display today, where he grew in to the match, becoming more and more potent with diagonal balls through to the front players and some really good tracking back to help out well in the defensive role; he has also been a strong candidate for the last 2 matches. Since a move to a more regular right-sided midfield role at the end of November, M R has been involved in a number of strong counter-attacking plays, delivered some good crosses, and has help create a number of goals.
Win, Lose or Draw, Tigers Roar!