I felt today was a better performance from the midfielders than in previous weeks, we won most of the midfield balls today however we let ourselves down by not clearing our lines from corners and crosses. This alone cost us 2 or 3 of the goal alone.
What we did lack was the ability to open up the opposition defence, we seem to forget that we can play the ball into space for a player to run on to. We need to practice this and get better at it. When we did do it in the second half, Charlie Steine split the defence with one pass and Sam Lowton struck the ball with his left foot low and hard into the corner of the net.
Man of the Match for me : Tom Barker – Great performance at the back today!
See you all Friday. Thanks to Nick Brown for running the line today as well.
Thanks to Alex for the below match report.
We began with a 4-4-2 set up-thanks for the numbers Thomas Skinner-which in itself gave us more solidity with Galin playing the deeper role. On occasions I felt that because of this Callum was a little marooned in his central role and his workload was very demanding. Remember gentlemen, when we play twin-strikers it is all about balance and one can drop into a deeper role whenever necessary so talk to each other as it can be done on a rotation basis, or one can elect to do so more regularly; in general all worked hard in the team, as expected. Possibly the team talk on Friday impressed on some that the energy levels-high at the start of the season-needed to be increased, and were. The day was overcast and quite cool, but the long grass-still growing?-must have sapped the muscles. Despite this we matched our higher division opponents competently. Our back line of Marcus, Charlie Howard, Tom Barker and Michael looked very composed, and their joint performance was of a high calibre throughout. Later in the game Thomas Skinner replaced Charlie Howard, who in turn a little later replaced Tom Barker-the central pairing was largely seamless throughout. The two wide men, Mateusz and Charlie Steine worked hard, tackling back and giving much more support to our full backs. This made for a far more compact game by our boys, despite the strong opposition. Sean was very mobile and held the ball up extremely well, and Del's probing runs unsettled their central defenders on occasions.
The game was relatively physical-it seemed to me on the touchline that our opponents got a few too many, 'benefits of the doubt', with pushing the main tactic. The fouls were infrequent but always likely, and on the thirty minute mark a double foul on Charlie Steine brought protests from the line. Charlie Steine, who carries the ball became a bit of a target for this behaviour as did Sean, and later Sam, who both held up play for their teammates and attracted pushes in the back for the duration. Callum was also regularly buffeted. One positive aspect of our opponents was that they were very audible, calling and shouting to each other-something we rarely do. Within a minute of winning a free kick the ball was speedily transferred up our end and a shot asked Lewis to make a stupendous finger-tip save, seeing the ball just over the bar. Three minutes later from a corner we never cleared our lines, and the ball finished in the net from close range, 0-1. David then subbed Callum and Delroy for Mason and Joey. Marcus and Michael were restricting their wing play, and Michael was making his customary sliding tackles aplenty.In the thirty seventh minute Joey was on the receiving end of a wild boot in the stomach. Charlie Howard sent in a very good free kick, which nearly found his namesake Charlie Steine speeding into space. Just before the break a really strong saving tackle by Tom Barker eliminated that threat. Half time 0-1.
Within a few minutes of the restart Mason made a defining tackle inside our box; the resulting snapshot bounced off the top of our bar. In the forty eighth minute Galin won a header but the lines weren't cleared and Charlie Howard couldn't quite get the tackle in before the ball was struck past Lewis from close range, 0-2. Sam then came on for Sean. Sam did a similar holding job to Sean, each have differing styles but both performed to a similarly high level. Within six minutes Sam scored to bring the game alive at 1-2. Charlie Steine had picked up the ball and after a carry of some twenty five yards found space to dink a delightful pass to Sam's feet, who deftly placed the ball beyond their keeper. Once more a case of deja vu, Sam's third goal of the season, Charlie Steine's third assist for each. There were some on the touchline who believed we might win it from here, and our play did suggest we had plenty left in the tank to do so. Within a couple of minutes Tom Skinner came on for Charlie Howard, and at last we had a voice. Within a minute he had made two clearances in full bloodied style. On the sixtieth minute we were undone by a very good delivery from a corner, Lewis couldn't get to the ball and it was suddenly 1-3.
Although that third goal rocked us we stuck at it and played some very good football. Tom Skinner made one of the passes of the game to Mateusz who was channelled away from their goal by some good defensive work on their part, and the chance came to nothing. Around this time a ball dropped from the sky, and Joey killed it on his instep so perfectly it was a joy to witness. In the seventy second minute our move of the match cut through them. Marcus began it, he found Sam, who laid it off to Mateusz, he slipped it to Del, who took it around a defender and returned it to Mateusz. We couldn't fashion a chance from this but the passing sequence was superb. Ironically a minute later a long shot seemed to catch Lewis out-perhaps his feet were a little forward?-but stretching backwards he couldn't quite get enough onto his fist and though diverting the ball it still crept into the top corner, 1-4.
Tom Barker perhaps had his best game for us, he played superbly throughout. There were a number who were close today in performance terms-I believe the entire back line performed as one man, such was their unity.
The score flattered them but it was clear the game had gone away from us. Despite this, a foul on Mason saw him take the free kick himself, which was comfortably gathered by the keeper. We continued with admirable spirit until the final whistle but an exit from the cup may be beneficial in the long run, now we must focus on the league.
The trials and tribulations of a manager was evident on Sunday. We currently have sixteen fit players-seventeen when Ryan re-joins, and fifteen were there on Sunday. The manager must try to play a strong side in their specific positions, but also endeavour to balance it by giving others a run whenever possible. The drawback of carrying too many substitutes can be a disruption to the rhythm and cohesion of the side. Patience and understanding of this dilemma needs to be taken on board by all.