Managers Notes: Much better performance compared to recent weeks. The free kick given for handball which led to the 4th goal for the opposition was a terrible decision in my opinion. Ultimately though their best chances came from our mistakes as opposed to their good play.
Couple of really good performances today, Sam, Charlie Steine, Galin also Calum but my man of the match went to Finley Cowell. Excellent performance and linked up well with Matteusz on a number of occassions and provided a good attacking threat.
Massive thanks to Delroy for running the line today. Much appreciated.
Thanks to Alex for the below match report.
Sunday saw us facing Faversham once more-our fourth meeting this season, and our first at Home. Despite Lewis being unavailable and a doubt about Marcus due to a fingers injury, circumstances proved reassuring before the KO. Marcus declared himself fit and took up his position between the posts, and the uncertainty of Galin's fitness was dissipated when he arrived for the game. David decided to reorganise the team by introducing a 4-1-4-1 formation, with Sam and Charlie Steine switching positions. Within a minute Callum was asked to make a headed clearance off the line from a corner. A minute later Marcus made a point blank save, sending the ball for a corner. Two minutes later we conceded a foul and the ball was whipped in for a Faversham forward to head unchallenged into the net, 0-1. It took us a further ten minutes to settle, but there was a good move -started by Callum's overhead clearance. It found Sam and with some skilful control on his chest he crossed to Mateusz. Mateusz steadied himself and fired in an equaliser, 1-1. Sam and Charlie were linking well and Sam found his teammate with a neat pass who flashed a shot into the side netting. A minute later and a corner required a good defensive header by Sam to divert the danger. Then Galin put in a cross but Sam was unable to get a head on the ball, and a few minutes later Charlie Steine made a cross field run, slipping the ball to Callum who fired just over. Meantime our defence looked secure with both Delroy shielding the defenders and Galin breaking up play. Tom Barker and Tom Skinner were better protected than usual and both Finley and Michael were snuffing out any advances down our flanks.
Our fortune changed in the twenty seventh minute, when the player got away down our right, cut inside and passed the ball into the box. Our defence was caught napping and a forward was first to it and simply knocked it past an exposed Marcus, 1-2. It took us three minutes to get back on terms when Galin, having won the ball in a strong challenge released Sam. He controlled the ball in one movement, and set off along the line. Charlie Steine made a darting run into the box receiving a wonderful pass which he took in his stride. He sent in a 'fizzer' which the keeper got an arm to but couldn't prevent the ball spinning past him, on it's way into the goal. Charlie Steine's momentum carried him beyond the keeper and he blasted the ball into the net from close range. That made it 2-2 and there was delight amongst the Vikings-the lads realised it was a well worked team goal. Ben had replaced Michael, then Charlie Howard came on for Tom Barker. We played out a very even half for the remainder of the time. Half Time 2-2.
Five minutes into the second half a foul on Finley gave Callum an opportunity, but his free kick cleared the bar. A moment later and a ball was put into our box and our defenders seemed to hesitate-no challenge and the next requirement was for Marcus to pick the ball out of the net, 2-3. We had gone behind for the third time, could we rescue the game once more? In the sixty fifth minute we were supplied with an answer. Delroy had won and carried the ball well. Callum had latched onto a loose ball, winning it from an onrushing Faversham boy and passed to Galin. A passage of play saw the ball at Finnley's feet and after some trickery from him it was returned infield. We lost and regained possession, two or three times and our hunger for an equaliser was soon to be rewarded. Mateusz and Finnley linked well on our left before the ball was crossed to our right flank. Ben steered the ball into Callum's path and though the ball was lost it fell to Charlie Howard. His clearance was chased out by a Faversham defender who under pressure from Callum and Delroy's presence gave away a corner. Charlie Steine delivered a perfectly dropping corner to just beyond the near post where Sam was arriving to plant the ball deeply into the net for a well deserved equaliser, 3-3. Charlie Steine had returned the 'assist' compliment to Sam. (This was Sam's fourth goal this season, all from Charlie's assists-I wonder if he is on his Xmas list?)
How cruel life can be. After this goal we terrorised their defence. Finnley and Mateusz were running riot down their right flank and we had a couple of chances which were better than 'good' to steal a lead. However in the seventy first minute we were undone by a wicked twist of fate. They won a free kick on our right and the ball sailed into the crowded area of our penalty box. Sam rose highest but didn't quite get enough on the ball, it deflected beyond him and over the fingertips of Marcus and into the back of our net, 3-4. To come back a fourth time was just too big an ask, and with five minutes left on the clock a terrible mishap in defence allowed for a simple tap in. An air shot from Charlie Howard let the ball bounce under him; the forward was stunned to find the ball at his feet and poked it past a helpless Marcus, 3-5. Tom Skinner and Charlie Howard had dealt fairly comfortably with most things the opposition threw at them, barring those two aberrations which gave an unwarranted lop-sided score.Despite sterling work at the heart of our midfield where Delroy and Galin were strong and first to the ball on a number of occasions, we shipped five goals. A 3-5 score line was flattery of the highest order but it shouldn't disguise the fact that our defending was less than acceptable on a few occasions. Defending isn't just the back line gentlemen, it is the team. Win the ball in their half, press a defender, chase down the man receiving the pass-this is all a form of defending, and it perhaps didn't happen often enough.
The final two goals warped the balance of the game's score, but on an observational point I have watched our free kicks all season and rarely are they on target-usually flying over the bar, or tamely being gathered by our opponents keeper. The own goal was a mini tragedy but it was down to the quality of the delivery. A whipped and curled free kick into the danger zone demands that a player meets the ball-it has to be played, and a skimmed effort will find the net whether it is a blue shirt's head or a white shirt's-the ball will not discriminate. The miskick sometimes happens; the ball hits a divot and moves, a swing of the boot doesn't connect and it changes matters. If we have no cover in that instance we are punished severely. Why no cover should be the question, rather than focus on the error itself.
Anyway gents, despite the defeat there were quite a few positives to take from the match. We played some nice football again; it has been a couple of games but we have shown once more that we are a footballing side-and skill is still in our arsenal so let's utilise it! We have to focus on working hard for each other, speed up our passing, (there were still plenty of times when a quicker release may have opened them up), and constantly display the spirit which saw us claw back a one goal deficit, three times. Callum with better support and protection around him seemed to benefit in his creation of chances, he was more like the Callum of earlier in the season; Charlie Steine got the goal that David asked of him; Finnley played really well in defence and Ben offered the same on our other flank. Delroy and Galin were placing more emphasis on defending and winning the ball which helped galvanise the team. We are scoring goals, and good ones at that, so we have to prevent what we concede at the other end. Our League and Cup goal scorers currently are:- 4 Goals, Delroy; Finnley; Charlie Steine; Sam. 3 Goals: Mateusz. 2 Goals Joey. An abundance of players with successful strikes evenly shared. So we need to do the defending Vikings!