Home league match played on 17 January 2016.
Kicked off at 2:00 PM

Managers Notes: Great performance today from everyone. Hit the ground running after Christmas and played some great football. Really need to keep these consistent performances up now. With Faversham losing it gives us a great chance of finishing in the top 2!

Also want to say well a huge well done to the Referee for the way he handled a very difficult situation. Also well done to the Canterbury Eagles players who I thought done themselves proud today!

Man of the Match : Charlie Steine

Thanks to Alex for the Match report below.

It was a still afternoon, dry, and the pitch was firm; it was a good day for speed-merchants and speedy passing, so it had to suit us. We began this game as we shall all ensuing matches, knowing we must win to get amongst the medals at season's end. David had given the instruction to feed Charlie Steine as often as possible; Charlie's speed and close, direct ball control takes defences by surprise. He had scored early goals in the previous three matches setting us on the way to victory-he made us wait five minutes for this one. Reece, newly returned between the sticks, sent an arrowed ball up field. Callum anticipated, then leapt to intelligently head the ball onto Charlie Steine. He took it in his stride leaving the defence static, and fired it fiercely into the net, 1-0. A few minutes later Ryan picked out Callum, and his shot hit the goal stanchion. Two minutes later and Ryan, once more beginning the move, touched a pass to Galin who found Callum in an advanced position. He ran at the keeper-the ball rebounded into the path of Charlie Steine, but a defender just managed to toe away the ball as he closed on it. We meant business, and our back line of Ben, Galin, Marcus and Finley hadn't been tested in any serious fashion. On fifteen minutes one of the sweetest passages of play this season occurred. Ben brought the ball forward from the back, checking and looking for the pass-he found Charlie Steine down the line. He gathered the ball, outran a defender and put in a very good cross into the box. Callum arrived, received, controlled and slipped the ball to Mateusz who calmly lashed the ball into the goal, 2-0. Delroy was winning the ball constantly, he and Ryan broke up so many intended attacks and cleverly and speedily released the ball-our passing and movement was top notch. On nineteen minutes Callum played an overhead kick which Joey took really well and passed to Mateusz, who deftly controlled the ball, but his snapped shot was held along the ground by a fully stretched keeper. A moment later Finley weaving as he went, carried the ball across the field and passed to Charlie Steine. His run and quick cross fell to Mateusz who managed a shot which again the keeper saved. On twenty eight minutes Charlie Steine ran onto a bouncing through ball wide on our right, he stooped his head to nod it past the defender and the opponent caught Charlie's head with a high boot. The Free kick by Callum just faded past the left hand post. On the half hour mark Ryan's corner was met by Galin but his shot was saved. A minute later with the ball bouncing loose in the box Charlie Steine suddenly appeared and latched onto it, he arced his left leg and delivered a swinging shot. It left the keeper standing as it hit the back of the net, (this was the left footed goal I'd personally wanted) 3-0, and we had a winning margin.

Just after this Galin dealt with an attack by giving a cheeky back heel to Reece, a moment later the ball went for a corner and the joint effort of both Galin and Marcus won the headers to clear the danger. Then again Marcus headed a throw to Ryan who had to play it over his head, Charlie Steine made the header and Joey ran the ball down forcing a corner. Joey had taken a huge buffeting as our front man throughout the half, but was unsettling their two centre backs enough to drag their full backs in to support; both our wide men benefitted by the extra space it gave. As we approached the end of the half Ryan piled in like an express train and came away with the ball-doesn't he always?- slipping it to Charlie Steine, he in turn played a delicate pass to Joey. Joey side stepped a defender and laid the ball to Mateusz. His fine shot hit the side netting with the keeper flat footed. There was still time for Charlie Steine to make another run on goal after a really fine pass by Finley, the ball hurtled goal wards but deflected off a defender for a corner. Beyond clever anticipation, and swift gathering Reece perhaps hadn't had a shot to save-a fine testimony to our 'team defending'. Throughout Marcus and Galin were a stunning central defensive unit; once more the positional sense of Marcus was evident, and the fierceness of Galin's tackling was remarkable. Half Time 3-0.

We began the second half like demons. Charlie Steine carried the ball and clipped it to Callum, his shot stung the keeper's palms, and a moment later Finley took a pass from Delroy and fired in a long shot which the keeper held. A couple of minutes later Delroy won the ball in a crash tackle, steadied himself and picked out Callum. He dinked it to Mateusz who shot just wide of the upright. On forty six minutes Ryan won the ball, went into a second tackle, won that and then slid the ball through to Joey. Del came onto Joey's pass and his shot just drifted wide. At this stage in a boxing bout the corner man may have thrown in the towel. A minute later Finley had a cross field carry and found Del, he kept the move going as he fed Mateusz but once more the shot went high. On fifty minutes Ben played the ball inside to Galin. He poked it forward and Del-as Marcus made a dummy run-was on it in a flash. He angled a pass to Mateusz who had his shot blocked. Finley picked up the rebound, jinked towards the edge of the box and was brought down. He took the free kick himself which just cleared the bar. A minute later Mason for Joey, Tom Skinner for Marcus, and Michael for Ben were the substitutions. Both new arrivals quickly came to the fore, Tom swept away a loose ball, and a moment later Michael intercepted a wayward pass to knock the ball infield to Delroy. Mason immediately pushed on to their back line, creating space behind for our midfielders to use. Within two minutes a really nice goal came about with Charlie Steine zigzagging into the box on one of his slalom runs, he finally met a blocked tackle and went to ground. He had the agility and presence of mind to play a left-footed pass from the deck into Callum's path. The lad with absolute poise calmly placed the ball into the bottom right hand corner of the net, 4-0. Three minutes later and it was 5-0. A poor goal kick was seized upon by Delroy. With great foresight he quickly passed to Mateusz who knocked it confidently past the keeper. From the centre they attacked and the ball bobbled in and around the edge of our box. Michael and Charlie Steine laboured to get the ball away, Galin added his support and the referee suddenly awarded a penalty. It was blasted past Reece, 5-1. We continued to dominate and Tom Skinner won a good header on the half way line. Our defence was so strong today, with Michael a seamless replacement for Ben, likewise Tom for Marcus, helped by the defensive midfield shields of Del and Ryan.

On sixty three minutes Callum gave a short pass to Ryan, he carried the ball forward as defenders surrounded him. It broke loose off Mason and Charlie Steine picked it up and ran at goal-calmly placing it beyond the keeper for his hat trick, 6-1. A thrust from our other flank soon followed as Galin played the ball to Finley and he sent the ball to Mateusz. He ran directly down the line leaving two defenders in his wake, the ball came off a defender in a last ditch tackle. The corner was lofted over by Ryan, and Finley was there to superbly fire in our seventh, 7-1. We moved inside the last ten minutes and it was noted that Charlie Steine chased the ball for around forty yards to force it out for a throw. This typifies the team spirit we have. On seventy two minutes Marcus replaced Galin and Joey replaced Del. A minute later Ben came on for Charlie Steine who received a well-deserved round of applause from the spectators as he left the pitch for a 'Man of the Match' performance-how much of this was down to the Manager's game plan? I leave you to decide. As the referee looked at his watch Ben found space and hit a curved shot with the outside of his boot which just curled wide of the far post. Full Time 7-1.

Post Script: David's instruction to feed Charlie Steine whenever possible paid dividends today, and once more we got off to a flier and recorded our biggest victory of the season. As an observer we normally play a 'V' central midfield formation with Delroy as anchor and in front Ryan to the left and Callum to the right. Today we played an inverted 'V' with two men behind Callum, who played at the apex. This allowed for extra cover to our defence but also allowed both Del on the left and Ryan on the right-our two lion hearts-to advance independently as support attackers-perhaps this is the winning formation? It was noticed that we began to lose our shape in the closing minutes-it became a 'charge of the light brigade' period. I even heard a sub saying he wanted to get on so that he might score. That is quite natural, however had we not added to the score and perhaps lost a silly goal, possibly two it would have altered the score line dramatically; keeping our discipline and shape might have led to an eighth goal, 8-1 or 6-3 which was the alternative outcome, the other side of the coin. Which would have been the most satisfying? A little more maturity required gentlemen, as goal difference may yet play an important part in the title's outcome. Faversham were beaten, so we now sit second, and are in a medal position.

It now appears that our squad has been depleted and we are functioning with a number of fifteen. Even more emphasis on commitment gents, the title could be there for the taking-so who wants a medal?

Final point in a question. How did this side draw 5-5 with Chartham? Have Chartham dropped away-we are certainly a much better side than them but even so, or did they have unusual circumstances i.e players short, key men missing? The other alternative is that Canterbury Eagles brought a weaker side on Sunday. If so then we need to guard against complacency for next Sunday. We have established a tremendous psychological advantage over them-already they are dreading the visit to Broadstairs in order to get thumped again-but a too casual approach will undo that benefit which we worked so hard to attain. Go out as fighters in the next game. A new game, new opponents, another win to work for. A controlled, disciplined and patient approach will lead to another victory- listen to David and follow instructions and you will win, you are that good! A tailpiece is that the last three training sessions have been excellent, I think in everyone's opinion. Another good application on Thursday evening will prepare us well for the three points on Sunday. Oh and I am sure I speak for all spectators, once more it was a joy to watch, so thank you fellas.

Goalscorers: Charlie Steine/Mateusz 9: Finley/Sam 5: Del 4: Callum/Joey/Sean 2: Mason 1:

Assists: Charlie Steine 8: Ryan 7: Callum 4: Mateusz/Sam/Lewis 3: Finley/Del/ 2: Joey/Mason/ Galin/Sean 1:

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