1 - Charlie W 9 - Zach L
3 - Louis F 10 - Charlie T
4 - Tom A 11 - Sam M
6 - Harry H
The visitors to the lane today were Maldon & Tiptree Tigers, a team that had narrowly beaten the Piranhas towards the back end of last year so the boys were keen to get a good result today. Maldon had arrived in their away kit which was orange, meaning we would play in our blue kits today.
Cameron M was away on international duty and Leo M had been struck down by illness during the week leaving him unavailable, meaning no subs for this game.
In training on the Friday, we had worked on a couple of specific things – keeping possession at throw-ins and working the ball out from the goalkeeper. We also re-emphasised this during the warm-up.
There was a last-minute change of match official due to Darren having to look after the sick Leo M, so Mark ‘Halsey’ Francis stepped in. Mark called the two skippers together and the match got underway.
From the first minute, the Piranhas looked comfortable. They played the ball around well on a very sticky pitch with Tom A and Sam M looking really assured in defence. The midfield trio of Harry H, Zach L and Louis F had the game firmly in control looking for the willing runner, Charlie T, up front.
In our Friday training sessions I am learning that I need to give the boys much more credit. They like to have a mess around but they are clearly taking the messages on board. Every single throw-in was played short to feet and returned back to the thrower, keeping possession.
Charlie W in goal was passing out to Tom A and Sam M and instead of a hopeful passes forward, they were driving into the available space. Zach L, Louis F and Harry H were creating great angles for the next pass and moving the ball between them. I could not have asked for any more. Superb.
The deserved Piranhas goal soon came with a run down the left from the tricky Zach L who then switched the play to Harry H on the right. Harry played the ball into Charlie T who didn’t connect as he came on to the ball but he got a second stab at it and slid the ball past the Maldon keeper with a neat finish.
The game continued to half time in much the same fashion. The team were firmly in control. During the interval I heaped praise on the lads and told them to keep working hard. It was always going to be tough on such a pitch with no subs and the lads were starting to look tired. Charlie T and Charlie W switched positions and the second period got underway.
The second half followed the same pattern as the first. Zach L and Louis F were trying to make things happen down the wings and the passing football was exceptional. Tom A and Sam M were outstanding in defence, supported by Harry H and Charlie W harried the Tigers’ defenders constantly. It would now be about whether the lads could maintain such a huge effort until the end of the game.
In the very last minute of the game, the tired minds allowed Maldon a final chance which they converted. It was really hard on the boys as they didn’t deserve it with the way they had played. There was another indication of how unlucky it was with the opposition managers calling for the final whistle as soon as the equaliser hit the back of the net!!
The boys did have a couple more chances in the game with the busy Charlie W’s shot being saved by the keeper and with almost the last kick of the game, Zach L powered a free kick towards the goal and in the resulting scramble, Harry H stabbed just wide.
The lads came off the pitch looking a little disappointed and I can understand why, however, I came away from the match very pleased with what I’d seen. A fantastic performance which deserved more but that’s how it goes sometimes.
I’m extremely proud of the boys and they should be proud of themselves!
Man of the Match today was Zach L. Zach was a constant menace to the Maldon defence not giving them a minute’s peace.
Thanks to Mark for stepping in as referee and thanks as always to the Piranhas faithful for all the encouragement and support they provide the team.
WELL DONE LADS!
Next Match - Away v Valley Green Hotspurs. KO - 13:30.