GK - Charlie W
DEF - Tom A, Leo M (C)
MID - Etien H, Louis F, Cameron M
STR - Charlie T
SUB - Sam M
A trip away to familiar territory for the team this week as they headed over to Braintree to face Notley Youth Hawks. Despite the slight upturn in the weather, the pitch still was not in the best condition and the lines were particularly difficult to see. It would certainly be difficult for the Piranhas to play their usual flowing football.
The team welcomed their newest recruit, Louis F, to the lineup and it would certainly be a baptism of fire, facing his old team on his Piranhas’ debut! You couldn’t write it!
The team also welcomed back Sam M who is starting to get back to full fitness and was looking forward to get a run-out with his team mates. The only absentee today was Harry H, who was last seen out partying on the slopes! A well-deserved holiday.
The lads looked focused the day before in training, working on short passing routines and they had carried that into the warm-up session for today’s game.
Leo M was captain following the effort he showed in training. The referee called the two skippers together and the Piranhas were ready to get the game underway.
The team have been a little guilty of starting games slowly in recent weeks but that certainly wasn’t the case today. The Piranhas came straight out of the blocks and the football was flowing from the off. Leo M and Tom A looked solid at the back, protecting Charlie W in the goal. Louis F slotted into the midfield like he has been a Piranha for years. Etien H and Cameron M were providing the width and Charlie T was busy up front.
To be fair to the Hawks, they created a couple of good chances in the first half but came up against Charlie W who was in inspired form making some really great saves. Those who see Charlie regularly will have come to expect such performances from him, In my opinion, one of the best keepers in our league.
The first goal wasn’t far away, the boys had moved the ball forward to Louis F who shifted the ball inside to Charlie T, Charlie hit a shot with his left which cannoned back off the post to the feet of Cameron M who finished well with his left foot.
Sam M came into the action replacing Leo M at the back. Sam started well and managed to get a few minutes on the pitch but his lack of match practice left him feeling short of energy and he was soon replaced by Leo again. Great to see Sam back in action, even if it was brief. His strength will continue to build over the coming weeks.
The Piranhas continued to play out from the back with Charlie W knocking the ball wide to Tom A or Leo M who both showed great composure, looking to pass wide. It is not in our nature to hit long balls and we are proud of the lads for being brave and looking for short passes.
Goals two and three soon followed and they both went to the debutant, Louis F. The first one came when Tom A played the ball wide to Charlie T. Charlie beat his defender and sent a cross into Louis to finish smartly.
The second came when Etien H picked up the ball in advanced position and with his Messi-like skill he beat a defender and passed into Louis F who finished with his left foot.
The game had opened up a little as the Piranhas’ got a little carried away, leaving Tom A and Leo M a little exposed, but between them and Charlie W, the Hawks were kept at bay.
Goal number four came via the penalty spot. Charlie T picked up the ball on the edge of the box, he hit a shot and the defender put his hands up to block, leaving the ref with no choice but to point to the spot. Charlie stepped up to smash home the penalty, giving the keeper no chance.
The half time whistle blew and the team needed the break. It gave Ross and I a chance to explain to the boys that they were pushing forward a little too much and leaving lots of space at the back. Tom A went in goal meaning Charlie W came out on pitch to play in defence.
The second half picked up where the first finished. The boys in Orange had taken on the half time words and tightened up at the back, whilst continuing to be a real threat going forward.
The Hawks had a few chances as the game went on but now they had Tom A to contend with between the sticks who was also in great form. Charlie W plugged the defence alongside Leo M whose energy saw him getting up and down the pitch.
After a short second half stalemate, the Piranhas scored again with Cameron M bursting through to smash home his second.
The Hawks pressure paid off and they did manage a goal back before Louis F found a pass into Cameron M who completed his hat-trick to round off the scoring.
Another really good team performance from the Piranhas, with free flowing attacking football and lots of hard work. Boys need to learn to defend a little better as a team, but it is impossible to criticize these lads as they always give 100% effort and they entertain their loyal fans week in, week out.
MOTM was Louis F. A potentially difficult first game against his old club but he battled really hard and was clinical in front of goal.
Thanks, as always, to Ross for his help with the team and to the supporters who should be proud of their young footballers!
We certainly are.
Well Done lads!
Next Fixture - Sunday 26th Feb. Home v Wilvale Rangers. KO - TBC.