Top communicator: B W
A very chilly start at Headley Sports Ground, the Vipers welcomed the Tigers for their cup fixture being played on the Silent Weekend…! What that meant was there would be no chance for any real tactical changes, encouraging comments, or reminders/prompting from the manager. It was always going to be a tough match with the Tigers having played the Vipers 5 times in the last 2 seasons, without a win or a draw.
Following last week’s performance, the Tigers were prompted to be more positive in their passing, try to ensure their passes reach the intended team mates, and work to win the loose balls, not be second or wait to see what happens.
The match got underway with the Vipers quick to settle in to a calm, patient style of football. The Tigers found themselves chasing the ball a little, but did well to force the moves from Headley. And move they did! A wonderful team build-up saw the Vipers take the lead as they played the ball around the Tigers with 5 excellent passes that resulted in a nice finish. 1-0 Vipers.
Within 5 minutes of falling behind, the Tigers were unfortunate to concede a penalty, by way of a hand ball. A very well struck spot-kick, and Hook were 2 down. The buoyant Tigers were now less so, and a little on the back foot. Despite the enforced silence from the side lines, the players did well to encourage and organise each other. Led notably by B W, B E and D S, there were some great instructions and direction to ensure the players were aware of what they needed to do, and it was fantastic to hear the players making their own decisions. Unfortunately, another slick Headley move led to another goal, and ensured the Tigers were 3 down at the break.
The half time talk from the manager focussed on the Tigers being quicker to move the ball when they had it, pressing the Vipers quicker to stop them having time on the ball, and for a quicker track back from across the formation when possession was lost.
The second half was a much improved half. All of the points were taken on, and it was clear to hear the Tigers reminding and directing each other of that. Despite 2 further Headley goals, yet another unfortunate hand ball decision for a penalty, and a very direct approach from Headley ‘hoofing’ the ball through the middle and the striker getting the lightest of touches to just turn the ball direction from B W in goal, the Tigers looked much more likely to score with 2 – 3 efforts so close before M R tapped in from 1 yard out following a great counter-attack, set up from the back, played and run down the left by B E with his shot parried in to M R’s path by the ‘keeper. 5-1 result.
Top communicator was B W. Again, 1 of 3 consistent communicators, the silence from the side lines highlighted the excellent direction and encouragement that was given.
MoM went to B E for a solid all-round performance with the addition of some high level communication and encouragement. Swapping between leading the front, and the 2 wide midfield roles, he made a great contribution to the defensive efforts whilst still being at the heart of most of the Tiger’s attacking play.
Win, Lose or Draw, Tigers Roar!