The stingrays had a full compliment of players today so it was key that we kept up to last weeks high standards. With substitutes a plenty, it would prove difficult to keep the momentum going through the full game, but the boys were certainly not shy at giving the Lions a good run-out.
So, the game kicked off with Freddie G back between the sticks and James W as captain. The boys quickly got on the scoresheet with an excellent finish from Ryan E to take his seasons tally up to 17, pouncing on the ball from just inside the area. A second followed 2 minutes later with a powerful drive from Ollie W, giving the keeper little chance. The boys continued to stick to their shape and battled hard. Oliver R kept calm when needed and George W made some important interceptions, quickly followed by some neat passing to his wingers. A confident start from the Stingrays, with Christian working hard to push forward and track back and Zach his usual tricky self.
On came the three subs, who were keen to get going. George D remained strong at the back, making some good tackles and Jasiu would take up position on the right. Against the run of play and possibly Lions only venture into our half, the Lions capitalised on a lapse of concentration to fire one home. The game was far from over as the whistle blew for half time.
The second half started with the boys keen to extend their lead. Ryan E took up his role in goal and Zach switched to the right for a change. With some quick distribution from Ryan, the boys had a game plan to play down the channels. It was proving difficult to get the ball down at time but as the Stingrays pressed forward a loose ball bounced around the edge of the area which Zach pounced on and fired a long range shot into the top corner of the Lions goal. A repeat goal from the away fixture and his 15th of the season.
A few changes were made and the boys seemed to lose all shape. Little tracking back at times and lack of awareness is something that we work really hard on and stress the importance [scanning] to the boys, but today proved that we need to address this in training again. The Lions put it to the Stingrays during the last 10 minutes and were undone by a wonderful free-kick from their number 10. Clinging on towards the end would prove a bit of a disappointing way to see the game concluded, considering the high standards set the week before. However, this is the challenge the managers will embrace, to make sure everyone develops their skills, technique and awareness.
The final whistle blew, with some nerves on both touch lines. A fair result in the end, but definite learnings to take from it. However, it was another victory, so WELL DONE STINGRAYS. MOTM was Ryan for his good first half performance and marvellous display in goals, stopping at least two goals from going in.
Thanks to all supporters, both home and away and also to Kevin for his excellent refereeing display, despite almost needing to be stretchered off with a pulled muscle. Well done for running through the pain barrier Mr Ellis.
Next match TBA