1 – Russell L 2 – Rufus G
3 – Louis F 4 – Tom A
5 – Leo M 6 – Harry H
7 – Cameron M 8 – Charlie W
9 – Zach L 10 – Charlie T
11 – Sam M 12 – John R
14 – Thomas R
We had given all the players extended holidays, to allow proper rest and recuperation, although this did mean that training time was short leading up to the first match. The lads had a lot to deal with going into the new season – new team mates, 9-a-side, bigger pitch and of course, the dreaded off-side rule.
The visitors to the Lane today were Galleywood Eagles. A tough side, well established in Division 1. The full squad was available for selection, although Charlie T was suffering from a sickness bug which left his energy reserves a little depleted.
After a short warm-up routine, Ross and I sat the boys down to discuss what we wanted to see from them. The changes in rules did not mean we wanted the team to change the expansive passing football they are known for, however, they would have to realise that they won’t always be able to play out from the back. New keeper Russell L was encouraged to assess the situation in front of him and decide when it was right to play out and when he needed to go a bit longer.
The team started with a 2 – 4 – 2 formation with Leo M and John R starting at the back. Tom A was the defensive shield allowing Harry H, Zach L and Cameron M to push on to support two strikers in Charlie W and Thomas R.
Christian Lund was the man in the middle today and he called in the two captains. Leo M led the team in Charlie T’s absence from the starting line-up.
The game got underway.
It would be fair to say that although the Piranhas didn’t start badly, it was Galleywood who grew into the match much quicker. They managed an early goal which seemed to really unsettle the team. All of a sudden, the lack of training time had become apparent and the boys looked apprehensive and a little frightened to get on the ball and play. The Eagles took full advantage of this situation and were clinical in front of goal.
Russell L in goal couldn’t do anything to stop the onslaught and kept the score looking fairly respectable with a number of brave saves. John R and Leo M were adapting to the off-side rule well and Tom A and Harry H were full of energy in midfield. The attacking players were looking threatening but the problem was, nobody wanted to get hold of the ball.
A few changes were made and the team did manage to get a goal back in the first half as a great kick from Russell L found Cameron M who battled well to get Charlie T away. Charlie beat the offside trap and raced through before slotting home with his left.
We got the team in at half time and explained that they looked a little scared to have the ball. We asked them to stop focussing on the new rules and to just play the way they can. We also told them to press Galleywood into their own half and make them make mistakes.
The match kicked off for the second half and the change in performance was unbelievable. There were a few alterations made – Tom A went in defence, and Louis F became the shield. Between them, the midfielders of Rufus G, Harry H, Zach L, Cameron M and Charlie W took control of the game. Charlie T and Thomas R pressed high up the pitch and Galleywood looked rattled.
The team looked solid. They took the ball down and started playing passing triangles, slicing through the Galleywood defence. It wasn’t long before the pressure paid off with Charlie W battling his way down the left, he fed Thomas R who raced into the box and finished in the top corner.
Charlie W soon bagged himself a goal, with a left foot shot that took a small deflection to wrong-foot the keeper. The Piranhas had chance after chance with Zach L and Cameron M both coming close. Anything that did come through, Tom A, Leo M, Sam M, John R and Louis F dealt with comfortably. Russell L barely had a touch of the ball in the second half.
Talk about a game of two halves. I know the team were disappointed about the score, however, we told them not to worry about it. The performance we saw in the second half was all the encouragement we needed. Yes there is plenty to work on but that was far out-weighed by the positives. As far as we were concerned, we lost the first half and won the second half.
Thanks to Galleywood for a great opening test and thanks to Christian for his superb refereeing performance, keeping the game flowing and taking no nonsense from the opposition managers! Thanks also to Darren M for running the line.
Thanks, as always, to the growing Piranhas supporters club. There was one voice we could hear louder than anyone else (we’ve missed you Kerry!). Please keep encouraging the team as they get used to the new format for the season.
We have introduced a new award this season – Great team mate. This is for the player that encourages the team on match days and also puts into practice what we have learned at training. Today that award went to Sam M. He played in four different positions and showed he had understood what we wanted from Friday’s training session.
Man of the Match went jointly to the two Toms. Tom A and Thomas R who gave all their energy and effort to get the team back into the match. Unfortunately there was no trophy to give them as somebody forgot to bring it back!!
Next match – Away v Dunmow Rhodes Tigers. KO – TBC.