After only 1 match played in the last 5 weeks due to weather issues, it was great to at last get another fixture played in 2015...even if the referee pulled out the day before the game! With a volunteer referee agreed by both sides, all was set for the Tigers to take on the Manor Colts in Alton, on a fine morning, and look for an improvement from the last time the 2 sides met in the Cup rounds.
With 3 goals conceded in both halves, without return, the result, again, was less important than the performance. Manor Colts offered themselves as a fast, passing team but with more than a little physicality (!?!) as some of the Tigers will attest to. Unfortunately, despite some decent aspects to individual performances, some basic team elements were, yet again, lacking which resulted in a Tigers team that struggled to impress themselves on the opposition.
Communication (by way of putting a name on the ball, giving team mates a call to advise of time or not, and calling who was being passed too) was lacking for the vast majority of the match despite the Tigers demonstrating this in training and in pre-match warm ups. There was an overall lack of desire from a number of players to want the ball, instead the opposition took control and often bypassed players very easily. There was a distinct lack of pressing the opposition, particularly from corners, for example, such that a quick short corner turned in to a waiting game by the Tigers to see what would happen next.
A D - A decent performance in goal as he looks more and more comfortable in commanding his area. In the midfield, he was ever-industrious and always put himself on the line. He must, however, give team mates more space when they are in possession and offer himself as an option in space.
O M - The defensive consistency; ran hard and covered well with some good blocks and tackles - improving significantly with both feet and his composure. He must ensure he turns away from goal when he has won the ball, and be positive with clearing when the team is under pressure and not try and play out from the back.
D S - First half defensive display as strong as usual. Great covering of his partner and made a number of blocks and tackles. Made a good handful of saves in the second half as he becomes a more regular goalkeeping option; can afford to be more positive in getting his hands to the ball to kill the game when under pressure.
T Bu - Looked his usual comfortable self on the left of midfield and did a reasonable job tracking back to help the defence. Can afford to be more direct in the attack and move the ball on a little quicker before being closed down by the opposition.
T B - Despite his MoM-winning performance for his amazing energy in covering the pitch and making countless blocks and tackles, as well as keeping things simple when under pressure, he must allow his team mates space to play when in possesion and not get drawn in to chasing the ball, rather hold position more to ensure he doesn't leave a gap.
C N - Worked hard on the right side of midfield and made some intelligent passes behind the opposition players rather than to team mates' feet. Must be quicker to get back to assist his defence, almost as a priority over his attacking duties.
T L - Did a lot of running, as he always does, leading the attacking line. He must ensure he positions himself closer to play to allow himself the opportunity to be reached by his team mates. Needs to cover left and right side of the pitch as play dictates.
L C - A lot of running down the left flank and some really good defensive work too. Linked well with other attacking Tigers and made some intelligent passes behind the opposition defence. Must be a little more composed when he breaks and ensure he checks all options, and not rush his shots.
B E - Played up front and on the right of midfield... Tried hard to keep possession and the play going forward, and made some good covering runs. Occasionally ran in to a dead-end when going forward, can afford to be more direct on the goal and cut across defenders, rather than always take the outside route.
S G - Did a sound job on the right of midfield before covering defence in the second half. Strong in the tackle and quick to move past players, he needs to be a little quicker releasing the ball before being crowded out by the opposition. Can afford to play more centrally when in defence, and move to one side or other to cover the direction of play.
Win, Lose or Draw, Tigers Roar!