This was the battle of the bog as the pitch thawed out leaving a really squidgy pitch underneath....Quite an ugly game of football to watch today, aided by the pitch conditions and the tendancy for the Panthers to get drawn into the Tigers style of play... In the first half Panthers were the stronger team, with Tigers looking dangerous on the counter. Often though the ball went forward too quickly and into a crowd of players. With the muddy conditions that was a slight reluctance to play backwards as when we did that a couple of times our defenders lost their footing and suddenly pressure mounted. Difficult situation, as want to encourage the lads to get on the ball, but I sensed a few were wary of the conditions. A terrific referee ensured that we could all observe the football rather than wrestling that took place last time. Corners etc he knocked it on the head.... Deserved 1 nil lead, but unfortunately we gave the goal back straight away, a key moment of the game. With 5 Panthers covering, somehow the ball got to their winger who finished well. Tigers are all about momentum and territory and this was a big lift. Second half conditions deteriorated as the frost melted leaving a bog of a pitch. Once again we were playing more (but not that much more) football and Tigers were countering through their very clever striker...Shots were fired in at the Tigers keeper, one in particular that was heading for the top corner... Then a bit of random play, and a ricochet that landed at the feet of a goal hanging striker 5 yards from goal, who had the easiest tap in. Tigers compressed the play into a small muddy area in the middle of the pitch and we struggled to get width and depth to our play. Reminded me of the second half against Beacon Hill. We missed the combative nature of EH in that situation. Tigers played for the final whistle playing the ball into the corner and the delayed throw ins. Final score 2-1 to Tigers. We rotated the substitutes as much as possible, so that everyone got at least 30 minutes. We had little defensive cover, so most of the rotations were with the attacking focussed players. I thought the boys really committed themselves today in difficult conditions. However, they just couldn't quite get their game going. We didn't play that well by the the standard that the team sets itself nowadays, yet a draw was a minimum they deserved from this game. The boys are more critical and aware of their performances too. They were the ones stating that players need to take a touch, stop going long all the time, not turn into trouble etc.. This is key to how the boys develop as footballers. There is no real value in telling them where to be, what to do in the heat of the game. They need to understand how to play, the challenge is then applying that and make the right decisions within the match itself.