Great performance in the first half from all the team today. Also very pleased we didn't react to the awful challenges that were going in from the opposition.
With Chartham coming up we needed to keep the momentum with us, today we did that. However the second half performance we seemed to lose our way a little. We can't afford to do that against the better teams as we will get punished. Overall, we got the job done.
It is also a huge plus that we have the consistency of players week in week out and this has shown over the last 4 matches where we are unbeaten.
Man of the match today for me was Galin, thought he was outstanding at the back and was instrumental in us keeping our first clean sheet of the season.
Thanks to Alex as ever for the below match report.
This is going to be a slightly different match report-I hope it registers in a positive way with you all. It is convenient that it is written off the back of a 6-0 victory, rather than a 0-6 defeat so I hope that softens any criticisms offered, but mentioned they must be. Firstly a rhetorical question, 'What is a report?' A report is nothing more than an individual's observation, sometimes with interpretations, these are also personal rather than being necessarily correct. I am reporting, ergo these are my observations and interpretations. Correct? Well I back my football pedigree, so wouldn't I believe them to be?
With a firm and dry surface the conditions again favoured us. The opening exchanges were a little scrappy and after three minutes Reece gathered a through ball comfortably. A minute later a foul on Mateusz gave us a free kick-Ryan fired it into the side netting. A few minutes later a long ball by Reece found Callum, he helped it onto Joey who shot over the bar. Just another minute on the clock and a ball Played through by Galin to Ryan allowed him to cut inside and make a cross field run. He played it to the feet of Mateusz, he passed to Callum and as Charlie Steine arrived there was just the time to hurry a shot which cleared the bar with the keeper stationary. Two minutes later Del clipped the heels of an attacker but the referee waved appeals aside. Finley intercepted a ball down the line and played it infield to Del, his pass didn't quite find Mateusz. On fourteen minutes Ryan received a ball played through the middle by Galin via Joey, but the keeper pushed the ball out for a corner. Mateusz sent over the kick and Ryan met it with a thumping header crashing it into the net for his first goal, 1-0.
On eighteen minutes they won a corner which Delroy defended and headed out for a second successive corner kick. This one was met but was flashed wide by a forward. A minute later Mateusz shot wide. The resultant kick was helped on and met firmly by Marcus who sent the ball up field. Callum controlled the ball and swept it to Ryan. Ryan slipped his marker and fed a sweet pass inside the full back for Charlie Steine. On it in a flash he carried it forward, moving away from defender before burying it deep into the corner of the net, 2-0.
Entering the second period of the half and Joey took a pass from Mateusz, his cheeky flick was saved. Finley was winning most tackles in that corner area of the pitch. On twenty four minutes Charlie Steine won a ball on the right. He carried it forward for twenty yards before releasing it to Del. He crossed a superb ball and Callum met it to head powerfully past the keeper, 3-0. The next ten minutes of the half saw a run by Mateusz who hit the ball over the bar; Ryan played an exchange with Callum and fired over; Joey battled and the ball broke loose, he found Callum who also fired over. Then Ben fed Ryan who was fouled. He took the kick quickly, it went to Joey but a defender snuffed out the threat. A great run by Charlie Steine saw him deliver a telling cross into the box, but the chance went away. Marcus cleared the ball to Callum, then he, having controlled the ball brilliantly, passed to Joey who forced a corner. Mateusz went to take it but before he could a defender questioned the ref's decision rather too forcefully and received a yellow card for his trouble. The next couple of minutes saw Canterbury translating their angst into fouls on our boys-the ref had a word! A sweet move followed soon after when Ryan passed to Charlie Steine, he turned and lost his man then slipped the ball to Ben who had joined the attack, he was then clattered by a defender. Callum took the free kick which went past the post.
Before the break Galin came forward and tried a long shot which the keeper held. Then a push on Callum allowed the free kick to be angled into the box but Del rushing in couldn't quite control the high, dropping ball. As the ref looked at his watch their first serious shot clipped the top of the bar. HT 3-0.
Within a minute of the restart Galin hit a pass to Charlie Steine, he carried the ball thirty yards outrunning the defence, and slipped it infield to Callum, his shot cleared the bar. A moment later and Reece was asked to make a really good save-palming the ball around the post. Marcus dealt with the corner confidently, sweeping it forward to Joey. Ben had been struggling with a hip injury-he'd never really recovered from the clattering he took in the first half-and was replaced by Charlie Howard on forty three minutes. A sweet move which originated from Ryan's pass to Mateusz, he played it back to Finley, he sent it into Callum who forced a corner off a defender. On forty seven minutes Mason came on for Joey and Sean replaced Del. It was just a minute later when Ryan registered his third assist of the game when his floated cross was met cleverly by Mason, he'd come away from his marker to leap to head the ball deep into the net,4-0.
The next twenty minutes saw a passage of play which was lofted long balls played through and into a packed central area, with a number of chances falling our way, and occasional breaks by them. Ryan was replaced by Sean after fifty eight minutes. Like Mason the central striker before him who scored immediately, Sean notched a goal soon after coming on. On sixty one minutes Marcus, striding forward intercepted a ball and released Sean with an intelligent pass. Sean was past the last man and struck a shot, the keeper parried but the rebound fell kindly to Sean and he crashed it into the net, 5-0. Sean was doing a great job in holding up play for our players-he is a master at this technique. On sixty seven minutes Ryan returned to the fray for Delroy. As the game moved to a close a move involving Callum, receiving the ball from Galin, carried it around two players and set up Mateusz, he calmly side footed the ball into the net-beating the keeper at the near post, 6-0. A couple of minutes later Joey came on for Mateusz, and the game was seen out as a 6-0 victory.
That was the report of the actions on the pitch, here are my personal observations and the interpretations, and the ultimate opinion I formed. Last week David instructed the team to feed Charlie Steine whenever possible, as he was the outlet. You didn't do that this week, in fact both he and Mateusz were starved for much of the game. Therefore we played with no width-everything went through the middle. Canterbury were a mediocre team and we got away with it, against a better side we could have come undone quite easily. I will say this, David was hard pressed to name a Man of the Match as much was happening at the end of the match with the fiasco due to the other coach's behaviour-Galin was a great choice. Twice the coach has misbehaved, expect much of the same in our final game with them. The essence of a report is to highlight poor directions of a team and to that end your contributions were limited. Ironically you all worked so hard and my comments must come as body blows, don't let them. It is a little like a group trying to lift a load by brute force and another suggests that hydraulics may make it simpler. The final paragraphs will summarise.
Historically this season has seen a very good squad, certainly better than anything else in this division and able to become champions, begin to implode. After a very good start we began to play with a naivety which undermined the season's prospects. We began playing for our own personal glory, fell into obvious traps, and stopped playing as a team. You were rescued from the brink and our last four results bear testimony to that fact. A solid defensive midfield shield of either one, or two men, playing to the wingmen to open up the whole playing surface; fast movement, quick and accurate passing with simple passes, releasing the ball faster without dwelling on it; these are the simple facets of a winning strategy. We are second in the league-in a medal position-with an outside chance of still gaining the crown. The major faults are these, on Sunday we resorted to a long ball approach and couldn't/wouldn't change it; every ball was launched forward, often our opponents gained possession. We have the most skilful bunch of players in the division, so why kick the ball over their heads to the opponents defence? There are times to go long-it mustn't be a pattern of play. Faversham play a long ball game and do it quite well. When we played football against them we played them off the park. When we went long ball they beat us-a good enough example? We held onto the ball too long; step overs, dribbling in ever decreasing circles, flicks and tricks gentlemen do not make a side top dogs-they become show ponies. It is a bonus to be able to play artistically but football isn't just that at the expense of all else. As a child I remember a music hall act where a chap juggled the ball constantly-I was deeply envious...but he couldn't play football, he was a vaudeville performer, an acrobatic juggler! Please go to youtube for an example of my point. Omari Hutchinson is a 12 years old Arsenal 'wonderkid'. He can do the tricks lads, but there is also footage of him playing. He is direct, has fast passing, quick feet, and speedy movements, and he thinks. He sees opportunities-he is a footballer and has every chance of becoming a top player. That blueprint is what you need to strive to attain.
In summary, David will tell you whether he wants a shield of one or two men. He will ask you to spread the play wide feeding Charlie Steine-but also utilising both flanks. He will ask that you play your football-the fast, accurate passing-and not to go long except when our play needs to be mixed up a little. He will ask you not to hang onto the ball, and to release it speedily to play a simple ten yard pass when it is on, rather than a forty yard hopeful pass when it isn't necessary. Do this and you will win the match, don't and you as likely as not will struggle. Your choice. In our last game against Chartham you were head and shoulders above them-2-0 up inside twenty minutes having missed a couple of golden opportunities to go further ahead. Then mentally we switched off, thought the job was done, and they came back. We were cheated out of a result-Delroy's goal was onside and would have seen us lead at 4-3, we probably would have closed out the game. Let's try to put that right this weekend, lads.
To end on a positive note we recorded our fourth consecutive victory-our best record this season and better than anything last. Our first clean sheet of the season too, thank you Reece and the defence. We have scored 24 and conceded just 4 in those games where we have enlisted a midfield enforcer/s in Delroy/Ryan-3 of the 4 conceded being penalties, so only one goal from open play in 320 minutes. We sit 2nd in the table with designs on top spot-with five games to play. We have a settled squad of perhaps 16 men. Stay focussed, work for each other and the title is there for you. Chartham beat Faversham 2-1, so a lot to do still but clearly that score line was a close result-they have to meet once more before season's end, therefore anything is possible. As Faversham lost we benefitted from more breathing space from the chasing pack. I hope some, if not everything that I have written resonates with you all. Thank you for the game gentlemen-and for reading this. Well done the Vikings!