GK - Charlie W
DEF - Tom A, Leo M
MID - Etien H (C), Harry H, Cameron M
STR - Charlie T
The Piranhas opponents this morning were South Woodham Ferrers Pumas, a team that have been on an incredible run since the last time the two teams met, so the boys knew they would be in for a really tough game today.
The two team completed their warm-up routines away from the muddy pitch to try to preserve the goalmouth areas. The lads looked up for the game as they always do.
Etien H was captain for the day after his birthday in the week. The team was again without Sam M who is still laid up with illness. Get well soon Sam, the lads are all missing you. The team lined up in a familiar pattern and it would be Charlie T who went in goal second half to allow Charlie W a run-out on pitch.
Darren Mantle kindly offered to referee today’s match and the two captains were called up for the coin toss. The game got underway.
It would be fair to say that the Piranhas made a slow start to the game. It was not the usual high intensity that we see from the boys and the team shape looked a little off. The Pumas made a really quick start and had a shot at goal within the first few seconds, following a good kick off routine, clearly practiced on the training ground.
The early chance seemed to kick the Piranhas into life and the team quickly found their shape. Tom A, partnered in defence by Leo M, was marshalling the back line. Leo provided the defensive energy, hunting the ball down leaving Tom to clear up anything that came into the middle. Charlie W didn’t have too much to do but kept the team moving forward with quick and accurate distribution.
The two wide players, Etien H and Cameron M stuck to their defensive duties well, whilst also trying to make things happen going forward. The team were building out well from the back, just as we have looked at in training.
Harry H was starting to get on the ball and was controlling the midfield, picking out some great passes to get the Piranhas moving. Harry picked up a ball just inside his own half, and played a perfectly weighted ball through the middle to Charlie T. Charlie raced away and did what he does best, slotting the ball past the on-rushing keeper.
The game became really tight with the Piranhas just edging it with the better chances. The Pumas pulled one back when a well struck corner bounced around in the box and an unfortunate ricochet ended up in the back of the net.
The half time whistle went and the lads came in for a drink and a chat. The boys had worked really hard as they always do, however, they had put themselves under a bit of pressure due to the shape looking a bit ragged. Charlie T went in goal, giving Charlie W an opportunity to play as striker.
The Piranhas kicked off in the second half. The match followed a similar pattern to the first half. The shape of the team was much more solid again and it was the team in orange who created the majority of the chances.
Charlie T had to make one save with his feet. Tom A and Leo M remained solid at the back. Harry H was still running the midfield, spraying balls out to Etien H and Cameron M who were up and down the flanks. Charlie W added renewed energy up front and it was Charlie’s pass which gave Cameron M the opportunity to strike home, a well-deserved goal.
The tired Piranhas did their best to see the game out, and really looked in control up to the last five minutes when the tired legs and minds kicked in. The Pumas managed to get a goal which was probably a little hard on the boys but deserved for SWF who were pressing.
In the last couple of minutes, the match really could have gone either way but it was the Piranhas who had the best chances with Charlie W, Harry H and Cameron M all going close.
The final whistle went with a draw probably being a fair result on the balance of the match. South Woodham Ferrers Pumas are a great little team and it is easy to see why they have been on such a good run.
The Piranhas have been unlucky late-on in some games, although it is not surprising considering we haven’t had a sub in any match all season. We have a new player, Louis F, signing over the next few weeks and with Sam M still to return, the Piranhas should be optimistic of a strong finish to the season.
Cameron M was MOTM today for sheer hard work, determination and a great goal to top it all off.
Many thanks to Darren Mantle for a great refereeing display. Thanks to Ross for assisting with the team and to the loyal Piranhas’ supporters for coming out in force in horrible weather! Myself, Ross and the boys really appreciate it.
Well Done lads!
Next Fixture - Saturday 10th December. Away v Maldon & Tiptree Panthers. KO - TBC.