Sam M Harry H
Louis F Cameron M
Tom A Etien H
Leo M Charlie T
Today’s visitors to the lane were Wilvale Rangers. A solid, plucky team who have always given the Piranhas a tough fixture on the previous occasions they have played, so we knew we would be in for a battle again today.
In training the day before, the lads seemed a little giddy but still worked well on all we had asked them to. The giddiness seemed to also be carried in to the warm-up for this game as the team were all smiles in preparation for the match.
We were also in the unfamiliar position of having a fully fit squad! For the first time this season, not only did we have enough players, we even had SUBS! Harry H was back from his jollies and Sam M was looking sharp and ready for action. Really great to see Sam back in action.
The lads looked brilliant in their blue strips as they lined up ready for action. Charlie W was selected to be captain today, for his effort in training on Saturday but Charlie decided he would rather pick someone else as Skipper so he chose Tom A. Charlie had also decided he was going to stay in goal for the whole match.
The Piranhas’ kicked off and despite lots of effort, the game seemed to start off scrappy with neither team really getting hold of the ball. The first half seemed to continue like that with Wilvale really having the better chances. Charlie W had to be on his toes and pulled off two or three great saves to keep his side in the match. The Piranhas did have a couple of half chances, without really troubling the away keeper.
Tom A and Leo M started in defence and looked solid. The midfield was made up of Cameron M, Harry H and Louis F. Charlie T started up front. As the half went on substitutions were made to allowing Etien H and Sam M into the action who both slotted in well.
The team were losing their shape a little through the half and this may be because the use of substitutes was moving players into unusual positions, I think they were struggling a little to adapt.
The half came to a close without any real talking points. The Piranhas’ had worked extremely hard, as they always do, but had found it tough to get their passing going. Over half time drinks, this was relayed to the team and boy did they listen! The second half performance was what we had been waiting for!
Charlie W still had to make a couple of fine saves but that is always going to happen with the way the Piranhas play. Open and expansive football, pressing high and looking to get on the attack quickly.
The more defensive trio of Leo M, Tom A and Sam M took control of the game, forcing all the Wilvale attacks out wide. Tom was assured and composed in his work. Sam and Leo both have energy to spare forcing Wilvale into hurried passing and mistakes.
Harry H ran the the midfield, getting hold of the ball and spraying passes all over the pitch. Louis F was showing confidence on the ball, beating players and looking for crosses into the box. Etien H and Cameron M were providing width with Cameron’s powerful runs and Etien’s silky skills causing the Wilvale defenders real problems. Charlie T had woken up and was making some dangerous runs.
Despite being in complete control of the match, it was the Piranhas’ who conceded first after a Wilvale attacker struck home with the team unusually failing to clear their lines. The goal seemed to rally the troops even more and they did not let their heads drop.
The Piranhas’ equaliser came from good pressing when the Wilvale keeper played a ball out from his goal to a defender, whose loose touch saw Charlie T nick the ball off his toes and smash past the keeper who was now out of position.
The second goal came from great awareness by Tom A. Tom defended the ball brilliantly and looked up to see Charlie T running through. Tom played a perfectly weighted pass through the middle which Charlie ran on to and coolly slotted past the onrushing keeper. With Wilvale pressing to get back in the game, the Piranhas were attacking every time they got the ball and forced a couple of corners. The first corner saw Harry H’s quick thinking, playing a ball to the edge of the box which Leo M rushed on to and hit a belter which went just over.
The second corner got a greater reward with Cameron M striking home to keep up his good scoring form. The team dug in to see the game out and got the rewards for their effort.
Another fantastic performance from the Piranhas today. I think the introduction of substitutes played their part in both a good way and a bad way with a little confusion switching positions but also giving the extra legs to see the game out.
We saw a different type of performance today and it is really positive that the boys listened at half time and adjusted their game. Great to have a full squad and great to have Sam M back fit and firing. Lots to look forward to as we go into the home stretch for the season.
MOTM went to Charlie W for his fantastic performance in goal. I said in my last report that I thought Charlie was one of the best keepers in our league, well I was wrong. He is DEFINITELY the best keeper in our league!
Thanks to Ross for another great refereeing display, helping players from both teams throughout the match.
Thanks, as always, to the loyal (growing) Piranhas faithful. Please tell your young footballers how proud you are of them.
Well done to Wilvale on another good performance from them. A great team who will do well.
Next Fixture - Away v Galleywood Falcons. Sunday 5th March 2017. KO - TBC.