Welcome to Surrey university. The rain hammering down and the cold wind blowing only added to the excitement of this game.;-)..the boys were truly spoilt with the most amazing football surface and granted access to their own changing room. We were honoured.
The pitch was a factor in this game with the widest pitch I've ever seen and pretty much full length too. Such a surface and pitch gives good passing teams the advantage, which is normally good news for phantoms . Today however we came up an academy team who really knew how to play the game. Their pass and switching play, with all 11 players always in the game, was thrilling to watch. They made use of the big pitch like no other team we've seen...
We started well with some good possession, before Aldershot exerted themselves on the game after 10 mins. They scored a first from a really clever deep run. Second goal was a fortunate free kick which went straight in. Opportunities arose for phantoms to get to 2:1 but not to be. The third just before half time was caused by panic in defence allowing their impressive striker to score again. 3-0 half time..
No lectures at half time, we just talked about the game. The players knew they were getting pulled around, but the key was to stay compact and press together. Midfield in particular were working so hard across the wide pitch, so the subbing was helpful.
Midway through second half they scored a 4th a really clever move to create the space for the striker to run into and slot home. With 10 mins to go, phantoms deservedly scored, graduately some good pressing led to an Aldershot mistake for Phantoms to score from well inside penalty area. Final score 4-1.
A fabulous experience for the phantoms today. Unlikely that we will come up against a collectively more gifted 11 again. Other teams may have conceded double figures in chasing the ball that was pinged around the pitch... However it was another disciplined and mature performance, looking compact with the team offering good cover throughout.