Managers Notes: With weather conditions as they were it was a huge advantage to win the toss and play with the wind behind in the first half. Unfortunately for us, we lost the toss and had to kick into the wind and uphill! However, even with that disadvantage first half we showed just how well we can play and how much we have progressed as a team that plays football on the deck, is willing to work hard for each other and gives it our all. Apart from the first 10-15 minutes where we found it difficult to get out of our half, we totally dominated this game.Cast your mind back to the beginning of the season where we drew 2-2! Just shows how much progression you all have made. Reece, with little to do in goal kept Deal out comfortably, the one time he was called on he produced a fabulous save. Reece must also find it comforting to have a back 4 of Ben, Galin, Marcus and Finley (Tom and Charlie H) who pretty much clear everything up in front of him with ease. From this back line, into Del, Ryan and Callum who provide assists to the front men constantly whilst providing a superb defensive line infront of the back 4.Then with Matteusz, Charlie Steine and Sean (Mason, Joey) up front we are never short of goals.When we did have the wind behind, we didn't resort to long ball, we kept playing football on the ground, some nice flicks and back heels from Mason King provided several openings. Man of the Match for me today was Captain Callum Piper with a terrific display picking up 2 goals and an assist. The free kick was a great strike also. In all honesty though, today we had 14 Man of the Match performances. Well done all, 3 more Wins to go to secure 2nd spot and who knows Chartham might not get it all their own way on the run in.
Thanks to Alex again for this weeks match report.
Storm Imogen was on it's way, she was coming for us straight down the pitch. So with the wind in our faces and travelling up an incline, we began our quest of at least winning three and drawing one of our last four games to secure the runners up spot. It was a dry day with a pitch rutted and firm-the ruts were firm too, so passing and ball control wouldn't suit us so well. These poor surfaces are a great leveller; we as a footballing side perform better than others when conditions suit a more skilful style; in a match against the blind school we would probably draw 0-0 if we played on a pitch covered in two feet of cold porridge-get what I mean? Anyway contending with the conditions was handled well. Keeping the ball short, and on the deck was the way to play and we worked a number of early openings, whilst we dealt with their main assaults comfortably.
Galin snuffed out one potential attack, Marcus dealt with another by an intelligent header which he moved onto. The two powerhouses shielding our back line-Delroy and Ryan-were keeping the game simple. Quick passing, running off the ball, and battling hard to win any loose balls. After six minutes a sweet left footed pass by Charlie Steine split the defence with Sean zipping onto it. The keeper, fast off his line-I think the wind aided him-got to the ball and a scrappy touch took it from Sean. he recovered his footing and fired in a shot which just went wide. We had signalled our intent. A couple of minutes later Finley went on a rampaging run and delivered a shot wide-we could bring danger from either flank. Yet two minutes on and they shot over our bar; the attacker was closed in a pincer between Marcus and Galin and hurried his shot.
On eleven minutes another fine Vikings move began with Mateusz levering a man off the ball then finding Charlie Steine. His first time pass found Sean but the chance went away. A moment later Callum-with two 'Ls'-had a great shot which beat the keeper but drifted wide. Mateusz picked it up and found an advanced Marcus but his attempt was beaten away. At the other end Ben was working hard against their skilful winger...I think Ben was more skilful and just kept gobbling up any showing of the ball. What I really like about Ben is the fact he nearly always looks around immediately before and just after receiving the ball-a sign of real football intelligence. They mustered a shot across our goal but Reece carefully saw it to safety.
A lovely move beginning with Del who angled the ball to Mateusz. He skipped down the line, passed to Sean who helped it onto Charlie Steine-the keeper just got there first to clear the ball. One minute later and our goal came; Ryan powering forward passed to Sean and he found the back of the net in an instant, 0-1. Sean had the taste for blood and immediately from their centre kick Callum won the ball. He gave it to Ryan who passed onto Charlie Steine. He went on a direct run at goal and pushed a delicate pass into feet for Sean to strike-but the keeper gathered it safely. The ball went straight out of play and Mateusz as quick as a flash threw the ball in to Charlie Steine, his left footed hooked shot was again held by the keeper. Just a minute later and Delroy's pass to Callum was moved onto Charlie Steine who carried, turned and poked a through ball to Sean-the keeper kept out his snapshot with his feet-Sean was a dagger in their defence's side at this point.
They were having just isolated attacks which were invariably smothered by the midfield trio of Del, Ryan and Callum-can there be a more hard-working and skilful group than these three in any other side? I think not! Whenever those three were bypassed albeit with the help of the gusting wind, then the four stalwarts in defence weighed in with timely tackles and clearances, Reece marshalled his area well too-these conditions ask for exceptional concentration for a keeper with a ball likely to come at you from an unexpected position, and always likely to swerve or move. As we crossed into the second period of the half Ryan battled to win a ball, he gave a quick pass to Charlie Steine who looked up and slid a weight-perfect pass through to Mateusz. He controlled it and tucked it away clinically, even before the keeper moved it was hitting the net, 0-2. We were now in the driving seat.
A few minutes on from here Callum and Sean combined to force a corner. Mateusz took it and Sean met the in-swinger with his head, but the keeper claimed it. The remainder of the half saw a controlled Vikings defence fielding the ball well, and a toiling midfield grafting constantly. The forwards battled up the pitch and despite the prevailing gusts by and large kept the ball low and direct. Their keeper was arguably the busiest man on the pitch. Ryan and Sean worked well to force a corner. A ball worked through from Finley and Delroy found itself at Callum's feet. He was closed down but managed to move the ball onto Charlie Steine who had a reverse snapshot which the keeper saved by virtue of his positioning rather than making a move to save.
On the half hour mark Callum was fouled on the halfway line. Straight after Ryan was fouled as he carried the ball forward. Then a nice move which came from Charlie Steine winning the ball, gave to Ryan, he worked it to Callum and he to Sean, but the keeper was out speedily to hack away. On from there Mateusz to Ryan to Sean to Ryan to Mateusz and a shot wide. A fast flowing move. Marcus came across to make a crunching tackle soon after, A sweet move with fast feet from Delroy saw him find Callum, he slipped it through to Mateusz who had a stab at goal. As we closed on half time Charlie Steine, picking up Ben's pass carried it across field before being fouled. Callum took the kick. Nothing came of it but they broke from there and a stinging shot on goal asked for a super save by Reece. He flew full length and with strong hands pushed the ball away. Mateusz and Fin exchanged passes to move us further down the field. From the throw the ball went back into the midfield then Delroy eased the ball to Callum. He knocked the ball out wide to Charlie Steine who collected and ran at their defence. They back pedalled but seeing the opening he slid the ball between the full back and centre back where Mateusz ran onto it. His shot was instantaneous, the keeper parried, but Mateusz followed up to drill the ball into the net, 0-3. A minute later the whistle signalled the end of the half. HT 0-3.
Within a minute Marcus met the ball, Ryan worked it to Callum who found Charlie Steine, his shot was palmed away for a corner, Callum's kick was held by the keeper. With the wind at our backs it was non-stop Viking action. Sean passed to Mateusz who shot past the post. Then Ryan won a corner. It was fed into Callum who shot on the turn which went wide of the near post. Mateusz received a pass from Del and hit the keeper's legs with his shot. On forty six minutes Callum on the edge of their box stepped over and turned his man this way and that, finally his trickery was rewarded with a foul. He took the kick himself and blasted the ball deep into the goal, 0-4. Within a minute Ben passed down the line to Charlie Steine, he carried it deep into their territory and as a man closed he hit a reverse shot which cannoned off a defender for a corner. Callum's kick fell to Marcus who just toed it wide on the stretch.
Three minutes later Callum received a ball from Galin. He carried it and almost lost it but won it again. Suddenly he was in the box and his attempt was blocked but it ran to Ryan who hammered the ball in to make it 0-5. Just a minute on the clock and Callum again worked his way into the box after good work by Finley. He had a dig at goal, it came back to him and he secured his brace with the most delicate of dinks over the keeper, 0-6.
With the game won David brought the subs on Mason, Charlie Howard and Tom Skinner. Naturally the shape of the team altered and we struggled to gain any more of an advantage, though on numerous occasions we went close. David kept three at the back-a fourth wasn't necessary. As much of our play had again gone down our left-most right footed men have a propensity to move the passes to the left-he toyed with the idea of bringing Charlie Steine infield but reverted to original positions pretty quickly.
For the last half hour it was total possession by the Vikings. Galin in particular swept everything before him-Marcus gave way to Tom Skinner for a while, and he took a throw in(sorry Tom). The defending was a little chaotic on occasions naturally but we still appeared pretty strong. Despite us being in total control the usual calamitous circumstances followed. People hogged the ball without moving it speedily; long adventurous passes when a simple pass was evidently the best option; shooting when a pass may have put a teammate in and the conclusion was a give away a minute before time when a lone break by a forward, a quick through ball, and Reece was called upon to pick the ball out of the back of our net, 1-6. So no clean sheet, lads. The circumstances were special in that David needed to give game time, and it is always difficult for newcomers to slot in seamlessly, so all is forgiven. It is only mentioned as a warning for future occasions. Not for the first time the excitement of scoring makes for a naïve, 'charge of the light brigade' approach, invariably goals are not scored and we are always prone to concede.
As a post script I think everyone was impressed with the total commitment and hard working endeavours of the entire squad. You performed so well. We drew 2-2 here on the opening day of the season, we've crushed them recently 7-2, and now 6-1, satisfaction obtained, gentlemen! Last week I put out there that we needed three wins and a draw to confirm runners up position, and that to go the rest of the season unbeaten was clearly an intention and well within our capabilities-we've just chalked one win off that list fellas-Dynamo watch out!
Goalscorers: Mateusz-12: Charlie Steine-10: Callum/Finley/Sam-5: Sean/Delroy-4: Ryan/Joey-3: Mason-2:
Assists: Ryan-11: Charlie Steine-10: Callum/Mateusz-4: Delroy/Sam/Lewis-3: Finley-2: Sean/Marcus/ Galin/Mason/Joey-1: