4 - Tom A 8 - Charlie W
5 - Leo M 9 - Zach L
6 - Harry H 10 - Charlie T
7 - Cameron M 11 - Sam M
The boys only had one absentee with Louis F away on international duty. The rest of the squad were fit and healthy and raring to go. It was back to standard 7-a-side this week after their venture into 9-a-side the week before.
We had two birthday boys in the team today with Sam M and Zach L both celebrating - Happy Birthday Sam and Zach!
It was a very gentle warm up prior to the game as the heat was extreme and we didn’t want the lads burning out before the game. Lots of fluid was taken on board before the final team talk where we encouraged the boys to enjoy their final game.
Charlie T started in goal, with Leo M and Sam M in front of him. Tom A took up his role in central midfield flanked either side by Cameron M and Zach L. Charlie W led the line. Harry H started on the bench today
Darren M was today’s match official and he called the two Captains in before the Pumas got the game underway.
The game started a bit like a chess match with both teams trying to gain supremacy. It was clearly two evenly match sides. Leo M and Sam M were defensively sound and bringing the ball out at every opportunity feeding balls left and right to the ever willing Zach L and Cameron M who were making runs.
Tom A was looking to get on the ball in midfield and was protecting his back two at every occasion. Harry H came into the game and provided an extra attacking threat for the team in orange and it wasn’t long before the Piranhas made the breakthrough. Zach L picked up the ball on the left and went on one of his mazy runs, eventually cutting inside and finishing well continuing his impressive late season scoring form.
A momentary lapse then allowed the pumas in and a shot was just too high for Charlie T who managed to get a fingertip to it before it dropped to the Pumas striker to tap home.
The Piranhas found themselves in front again after a lung busting run on the right from Cameron M gave him the space to cross. The ball landed at Charlie W’s feet who turned onto his favoured left foot and slotted home calmly.
The Pumas managed to equalise again just before half time. The lads came in absolutely exhausted, so we sat them down and ensured they took on more drinks. The message was simply that we were proud of them and to carry on what they were doing.
Charlie T came out onto pitch with Tom A going in goal for the final time.
The game remained extremely tight in the second half with only one goal from the Pumas. The Piranhas had some chances of their own with Charlie T, Cameron M and Harry H all going close. Tom A also came up out of goal for two late corners to provide an extra attacker - someone’s been watching too much Premier league!
The match was a great spectacle with every player from both teams doing well in the blistering heat. MOTM today was Zach L for his constant threat on the left-hand side - unfortunately we didn’t have the trophy to give him because Louis had taken it away on international duty with him!!
It has been another great season from the Piranhas which didn’t start too well with some poor results. Once we had managed to nail down a regular training slot the improvement was clear to see. The weather has played its part with the number of cancelled games unprecedented this term. This has disrupted the momentum at times.
The team all play without fear and we are proud that we have been able to provide an environment which enables them to do that and even more proud that the team have embraced this. They don’t revert to long balls when under pressure, they have learnt to assess the situation and make decisions based on that.
The players have started to really gel into some natural positions over the course of the season and this really highlighted itself when we took our first venture into 9-a-side ready for next season. Yes of course there are things to work on, especially with new players coming into the squad, but the signs are positive for a great season next campaign.
I would like to thank Ross Morley for the great support provided again this season, helping me to keep the lads under control!
Thanks also to Mark Francis, Darren Mantle and Christian Lund who not only have helped with the lads at times across the season but have also been our fantastic referees for the home matches. All three of them have been great, encouraging players from both teams on every occasion. We take it for granted a little but without these guys volunteering, we wouldn’t have matches to play and when we go away, we don’t always get referees who are interested only in helping the players improve - some are definitely only interested in the result! Hopefully with new players coming in next season, we can add to our pool of volunteers as we will need assistant referees too!
And a final thanks you to the Piranhas supporters who come out in all weathers (literally) to support their young footballers. Your conduct at every single game is always exemplary, (sometimes in the face of adversity!) and the encouragement you give to myself, Ross and the boys makes it a very easy job to manage this team. You should all be very proud of your boys, I know I am!
Up next is a trip to Selhurst Park, the home of Crystal Palace and then after that we welcome the new players into the squad as we move into some local tournaments.
Presentation day is 9th June where we can celebrate a great season and reward the boys for their effort, as well as giving us parents an opportunity show where these boys got their footballing talents from (!)
Well Done Everyone - Roll on next season!
Next Match: 27th May. Tournament at Selhurst Park.