Away league match played on 09 April 2016.
Kicked off at 10:30 AM

Top communicator: T L

The footballing Gods had huge grins on their faces as they contrived to match the Tigers, yet again, against their bogey team of Headley Vipers, and again, at Headley. Fortunately, the weather was kind with good spells of sun and warmth, and the pitch was firm despite the recent April deluges earlier in the week. Unfortunately, 3 players unavailable at the end of the Easter holidays meant there was only 1 substitute for the match, making fitness the biggest concern for the manager.

The Tigers know the Vipers only too well; they know they are quick, play good football and like to explore both wings. That said, when put under pressure, like anyone, the Vipers are susceptible to making mistakes, and don't like retreating against a counter-attack.

The Tigers started well, soaking up some reasonable pressure from Headley, but also playing some nice football to try and stamp their own mark on the game. The first goal came after nearly 20 minutes, with a fantastic solo effort from the Vipers left-sided midfielder (a huge threat for the whole game, and a very good player with real pace, 2 good feet and a sound head). 1-0 Headley. Unfortunately, 2 more goals, in quick succession, meant the Vipers went in at half time 3-0 up. The reality was, the Tigers didn't deserve to be that far behind.

The second half, again, saw the Tigers trying to play some nice football, and there were certainly more than enough half chances, although no clear-cut opportunities, for Hook to feel they could still give the Vipers some problems... They just never found that real bite to turn the efforts in to rewards. Sure enough, the pressure from the Vipers in the second half resulted in 2 more goals, both of them from distance, and both unfortunate for the 'keeper with awkward bounces and being unsighted. 5-0 result.

The 2 main points that came from the game, and something the Tigers need to realise and grow from, is 1) the lack of desire to move for the ball. Too many times, especially from throw-ins and set-pieces, players expected the ball to be 'put on a plate' for them. Otherwise, standing and watching where the ball would end up was the best that some could do, rather than move to go and get/win the possession; and 2) pressing! 4 of the 5 Vipers goals came from Tigers watching and waiting to see what the Viper would do, allowing them time and space to do it. Whether the shot, or the cross leading up to the shot, lack of pressure on the opposition led to the Vipers not having to work too hard for it.

Top communicator: It was great to hear some good talking coming from some less likely players. Two or 3 Tigers who are usually quiet certainly made their voices heard. Notably, T L not only made himself heard, he made some good observations, particularly at corners and throw-ins, and offered his team-mates some good direction. That is why he got Top Communicator today.

MoM went to D S for a solid defensive display. Partnered well in the first half by B W, then holding the defence on his own in the second, he made a number of really good interceptions, and on a good handful of occasions, carried the ball in to the midfield before off-loading to start an attack. The best piece of play was when, in the first half, he scampered to keep the ball in, in the back right corner, before feeding a great ball down the right wing to set up a counter-attack involving T L and T Bu.

Win, Lose or Draw, Tigers Roar!

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