Sam M Cameron M
Louis F Etien H
Charlie T Leo M
Tom A (C) Harry H
Family connections brought the two teams together with Charlie T’s cousin Travis playing for the Vipers and Travis’ Dad, Kieran, their manager.
The Vipers are a very strong U8 team who are currently playing in an U9 league and competing really well with those teams so the Piranhas would not be taking anything for granted and that message was relayed to every player during training and in the match.
Now, I don’t know whether there has been something in the air this last week but the boys seemed extremely giddy during training and the pre-match warm-up. It was hard to keep their focus and attention, perhaps they were all a little excited that the weather has warmed up a bit. Who knows?!
Tom A was skipper for the day, following his penalty shoot-out performance in training on Saturday. The theme for the lads was defending and being a little more aggressive in their tackles, whist staying on the right side of the rules obviously!
The line-up would start in a more familiar fashion with Charlie W in goal, Tom A and Sam M in defence. The midfield was made up of Leo M, Harry H and Cameron M with Charlie T up front. Etien H and Louis F started as subs, but, as always every player would get the same amount of playing time.
The plan was to always start like this and mix the team about a bit in the second half, for a couple of reason really - a good opportunity to experiment, getting the lads used to making changes mid-game, and to also show them there is a reason that we favour them in certain positions because we believe that is where their natural strengths lie.
Mark Francis had kindly agreed to ref today’s match and got the game underway.
The Piranhas learnt very early that they were not going to have things all their own way as the Vipers came out battling. It was clear to see that playing up an age group has prepared them for any physical battles they may come across, something we could learn from in our team.
As the Piranhas got into their stride, they started to take control of the game. Charlie W was relatively untroubled in the first half and anything that came his way was dealt with efficiently as Charlie always does. Defensively the Piranhas looked solid with Tom A, Sam M and Louis F not looking to concede many today. The defensive reading of the game from those three in particular was exceptional.
Harry H, Cameron M, Etien H & Leo M were getting on the ball and keeping possession well, looking for intricate passing moves between them and feeding the ball forward to the lively Charlie T up front.
The pattern of the first half was set and that was really how it continued.
At half time we explained to the boys that everyone would be playing in all different positions and that they needed to listen to instructions every time there was a substitution so they knew where they were playing. I think it would be fair to say this unsettled the team a bit and a bit of shape was lost.
As the game went on, Sumners brought on an eighth player which also caused a few problems but for the most part the Piranhas dealt with it well. It did highlight to the boys how lots of changes in a game can disrupt the flow and that they need to be ready for the unexpected in games. Etien H went in goal second half allowing Charlie W to come out on pitch.
Goals today came from:
Charlie W x 3
Charlie T x 2
Harry H x 2
Many thanks to Ross for helping with the boys, Mark for his Clattenburg-like refereeing display and to all the Piranhas’ loyal supporters.
Thanks also to Kieran and the Sumners Vipers for a good test and good luck for the rest of the season.
Well Done lads!
Next Fixture - Saturday 18th March, Home v Braintree Town Hornets. KO - 10am.