GK - Charlie W
DEF - Tom A & Sam M
MID - Etien H, Charlie T, Cameron M
STR - Harry H
A long trip over to South Woodham Ferrers was on the agenda today to face the newly promoted South Woodham Ferrers Pumas. This would be an interesting test for the Piranhas as they had never faced the Pumas before.
The terrible weather didn't seem to dampen any spirits in the team as the lads looked enthusiastic in their warm-ups, working on overload situations. The team looked like they were really up for the match following a break last weekend and worked really well on what we were asking from them.
The captain today was already chosen, Harry H, for two excellent training sessions over the last two weeks. The second half goalkeeper needed to be agreed between Harry and Cameron M so a 'best of three' game of Rock, Paper Scissors before KO decided that this week it would be Cameron to take over from Charlie W at half time. In the team talk before the game, the message today was to try to have a bit of fun in the game and talk to each other and celebrate success.
Before KO, the lads lined up against their opposite numbers for a minutes silence to pay respect to young footballer, Jack Atkinson, who tragically died during a match for his Clacton based side, Holland FC. The lads from both sides observed the minute impeccably. Well done both teams.
Down to business. The match got underway. The Piranhas made a great start to the game and the passing was looking good. Cameron M was getting into really good spaces down the right and trying hard to get balls across into Harry up front. Charlie T and Etien H had the early midfield battle won and Tom A and Sam M were immense at the back as always, protecting Charlie W in goal.
Cameron M came close with a couple of powerful shots and it wasn't long before the Piranhas got the goal they deserved, some great work down the left from Etien H found Harry H in space. Harry cut in field and played a ball into Charlie T who struck a shot low to the keepers' right, to keep up his good run of scoring form this season.
After the goal, the Piranhas seemed to switch off a little and left Tom A and Sam M a little exposed and whilst both were showing their amazing defensive quality, Charlie W had to make an exceptional save before the Pumas equalised.
The Piranhas woke up again and a long range shot from Harry H found its way through the keepers' legs. The Pumas then scored two goals that were a little lucky with the first being bundled in after a couple of ricochets and the third a punt from half way which caught the wind and bounced over Charlie W. Charlie turned and made a great save and swears it didn't cross the line but the goal was given. The second time the Piranhas have been caught out by a lack of goal line technology!
The boys came in at half time a little deflated, however, they needn't be. They were performing very well in patches of the game and they would certainly get their reward if they continued. Cameron M went in goal and Harry H's energy was being wasted up front so he moved into midfield, meaning Charlie T went up front.
The renewed energy brought by Harry H and Charlie W in midfield put the Piranhas firmly back in control and a goal soon came. Some trickery from Etien H gave him space to unleash a shot which the keeper saved but Harry H followed up to grab his second of the game, followed by the lads standing perfectly still for their 'mannequin challenge' celebration for the fans. Brilliant!
Tom A and Sam M were commanding at the back and had now started bringing the ball out of defence. Sam found a pass to Harry H who slipped a great ball into Charlie T on the left. Charlie calmly slotted past the keeper from a tight angle for his second.
The next goal saw an overload situation and the lads showed exactly what they learnt before the game. Charlie T on the left played a ball back to Harry H in space, Harry drew in the defender and slipped the ball into Charlie W to finish it off.
Tom A picked the ball up in defence and steamed forward beating three players before unleashing a ferocious drive which flew just wide. Cameron M didn't have much to do in the goal but remained concentrated and cleaned up where he needed to.
The final Piranhas goal game from their now trademark short corners. The quick thinking Etien H and Charlie T took the corner, Charlie knocked the ball into skipper Harry H for him to complete his hat-trick. The Piranhas corner routines are an example of why coaching is so rewarding. They can play short or long but the ball is never just lumped into the box aimlessly. Fantastic!
The lads were brilliant today, inspired by a real captains' performance from Harry H which rightly earned him MOTM. Thanks to Ross for his assistance and thanks, as always, to the Piranhas loyal supporters for coming out in the miserable weather. The lads and I really appreciate the support.
A mention and well done also to SWF Pumas who did really well in their first game in this league. A great little team who will do well I'm sure.
WELL DONE LADS!
Next game - Home v Maldon & Tiptree Panthers. KO - 12:30.