Sam M Cameron M (C)
Etien H Harry H
Charlie T Leo M
The pitch over at Laundry Lane had started to show signs of real wear and tear for the first time this season. The excessive rain had turned the surface very muddy and the drier weather made for a solid, bobbly surface with no grass. Really difficult conditions to get passing football going. There were also some strong gusting winds which meant the ball would need to be played on the deck, which was highlighted to the boys.
The team were looking in confident mood as they warmed up, hopefully they could take this into the match. With no training to determine the captain, the armband this weekend went to Cameron M who would also take his turn in goal in the second half of the game. The only absentee today was Louis F who was away on international duty.
The team lined up in familiar fashion, with Charlie W starting between the sticks, Sam M and Tom A at the back. The midfield trio was Cameron M, Harry H and Etien H, with Charlie T starting up front. Leo M started on the bench, but, as always, every player would get the same playing time.
Now this could be the shortest match report ever! The Piranhas looked sluggish throughout and were unable to really get their passing game going. Partly due to the pitch but also due to the ball spending a lot of time in the air.
In the first half, the boys had the game under control without really threatening anything themselves. There was lots of effort and endeavor as always but without really hitting top gear.
Charlie W was rarely troubled in the goal such was Tom A and Sam M’s control of the defensive situation. Leo M also came into the defence and helped form a solid barrier. Harry H was trying his hardest to get the ball under control but the bobbly surface made it extremely difficult.
Etien H was showing strength in the tackle and trying to get the ball under his spell. Cameron M was also trying his trademark bursts forward but his efforts were just off target and Charlie T was not given a clear site of goal.
The lads came in at half time and we tried to explain they needed to get the ball on the floor, as difficult as that was proving to be.
The second half saw Cameron M go in goal and Charlie W provide his high energy out in midfield. The game followed a similar pattern as the first, however, as more space became available, the Piranhas had a few chances to take the lead - chances that on every other week nestle in the corner of the net, but this week were just wide or hitting the post or cross bar.
It felt like it wasn’t going to be the Piranhas day and as the game was meandering towards a goalless draw, with five minutes to go, Braintree scored two freak goals which left the team in Orange ruing their earlier missed chances.
It was hard on the boys but sometimes that’s the way it goes. We will use the example of this game to the boys in training to show why they need to focus on the messages we are trying to put across.
I cannot ever question the players’ effort as it is always 100% however, they need to also learn that whilst we will always make football fun for them, the training we provide needs to be taken on board and displayed on the pitch.
All the lads came off smiling which is great - this team are united in victory and defeat and the enjoyment of the game is what really matters.
MOTM today was Leo M who showed his versatility in a number of different positions.
Thanks to Ross for his assistance with the boys and to Darren Mantle for his first-class refereeing display, helping players from both teams. Thanks, as always, to the Piranhas’ faithful for agreeing to the fixture change and supporting and encouraging the team.
Well Done lads!
Next Fixture - Sunday 26th March. Away v Dunmow Rhodes. KO - TBC.