You would never had guessed it was November as the Tigers gathered at Jubilee Fields for their match against Manor Colts Thunder, such was the glorious sunny weather that greeted them. With the lessons identified from the previous week's defeat against Churt, Tigers were looking to get their season's progress back on track.
Right from the start, however, Manor Colts demonstrated exactly the type of football the Tigers are trying to achieve; very quick to press the opposition, fast counter-attacking and very good positional discipline that ensured they always had 2 defenders in readiness for any Tigers attack. Due to this, the Tigers found themselves constantly under pressure and the sheer number of opportunities created by Manor Colts inevitably led to a hatful of goals.
Goals aside, the Tigers must take away the lessons from their performance if they are to continue to improve. Overall, their effort cannot be questionned, however, again, the effort was not always in the right areas, or, indeed, the work made harder due to neglecting some of the basic principles:
- Positioning was certainly better than it had been of late, but there were a number of occasions where some players either walked when they should have run, or just stood watching rather than close the opposition - this even happened in the Tigers area when Manor Colts were attacking.
- Players must move the ball on more quickly; this will keep the pressure off themselves whilst forcing the opposition to keep running. There were some nice moves where a Tiger took on and beat a Colt - something that will always be encouraged - but then another players was taken on (often without success) when a simple pass would have been a better option.
- Some players are getting the ball and turning straight in to opposition players; they must get their heads up and play simple passes - even if that means the ball moves backwards or sidewards. Keeping the ball is most important.
- Quite often today, players jumped in to challenges rather than hold the opposition up. They need to stay balanced, able to change direction quickly, and show the opposition to the outside (wings).
- There were a handful of occasions where a Tiger was under pressure deep in his own half. Rather than a simple, quick clearance down the line (or even knock the ball out), a Tiger turned inside and passed the ball in to the middle, even in the penalty area, putting even more pressure on the team. This situation led to at least 3 Manor Colts goals.
There is no doubt that the Tigers have the willingness and drive to get forward and attack the opposition; the key now is for them, as a team, to ensure they do this in a coherent manner, yet still get back and carry out the defensive responsibilities when necessary.
It is not lost on the manager that the Tigers have clearly faced 2 very strong teams in the last 2 weeks - this report is not intended to be all 'doom and gloom' but the manager has seen that the Tigers have the capability to step up their performances. These points will be talked through at the next training session.
MoM went to B E this week. He has had a lot of pressure put on him by the manager over the last few weeks but has responded well. He was central to many of the Tigers' attacks, linked well with a number of players, notably T Bu, B W and A D, with a variety of passes, some superbly uted such as the cross-field ball to T Bu in the first half, and drove forward when leading the attack, ensuring he was in the box when the ball came in.
One final note is the Tigers' spirit. It doesn't matter what has happened on the pitch, the players show a great solidarity and team ethic and it was great, again, to see them huddle and 'roar' after the match - that is something you just can't teach!
Win, Lose or Draw, Tigers Roar!