However, with only seven players and no subs available today and an opposition with a squad of 11 who looked decent in the warm up, the pre-match fear was the Stingrays might struggle for the full 50 minutes against this opposition. Only time would tell!
With the pre-match chat out the way, the Captain for the day Oliver Wood met the ref and opposition captain at the centre circle. The Stingrays won the toss and with Sam S starting in goal, Ryan E kicked off the game.
From the kick off, the Stingrays dominated. The midfield 3 of Jasiu C, Ollie W and Spencer S were running the game, with Ryan E proving to be more than a handful leading the line. All four were combining fantastically, working together, pass and move, and running with the ball when appropriate to break through the opposition. When the opposition did have the ball, the team worked hard to win the ball back. The opposition keeper made a couple of good early saves, but it did not take long for the Stingrays to open the scoring.
On 6 minutes, Ollie W won the ball in midfield and played the ball to Jasiu C on the right hand side, who in turn played a couple of give and go passes with Ryan E, the second of which Jasiu hit first time with his ‘weaker’ left foot into the back of the net giving the goalkeeper no chance.
The Stingrays continued to dominate, creating chances but a very good - and busy - Mayland goalkeeper was thwarting them. On the odd occasion the opposition did break through the midfield, the defensive two of Oliver R and George W were more than a match, giving the opposition no sniff of a chance. When winning the ball, both Oliver and George were getting their heads up and passing to their counterparts further up the pitch - both looking very assured.
On 16 minutes, the Stingrays added a 2nd. Again good passing play between Jasiu C and Ryan E allowed Ollie W time and space on the edge of the box to angle a shot towards the far post, but a deflection on route directed the ball towards the near post, wrong footing the goalkeeper. Two nil Stingrays.
One minute later, the Stingrays added a third. Jasiu C passed the ball through the opposition defense to leave Ryan E 1 on 1 with the keeper. Ryan calmly sidestepped the keeper and passed the ball into the back of the net. Three nil Stingrays.
The Stingrays continued to dominate, creating a number of further chances, but no further goals added in the first half. Half time 3-0 to the Stingrays, with Sam S having no save to make in the first 25 minutes.
With Jaffa cakes and drinks consumed, the half time talk was about carrying on as we are but conserving energy where possible - the boys had all worked so hard in the first half, it was difficult to imagine that they would be able to keep up the same intensity and work rate for an additional 25 minutes.
With Ryan E putting on the gloves and Sam S leading the line, the hosts kicked off the second half.
The Stingrays started as they finished the first half. The midfield three continued to dominate.
It was very rare for a Mayland player to come away with the ball after a challenge with Spencer S, Ollie W was winning the ball and driving the team forward with run after run, and Jasiu C was being cool in midfield, getting his head up and passing the ball to his teammates time after time. Oliver R and George D continued to stop everything Mayland threw at them - only allowing them long shots that were all off target or hopeful long balls into the penalty box, giving Ryan no saves to make.
The Stingrays continued to play football, with Sam S working fantastically with the midfield. From front to back, the boys were playing as a team.
As the half progressed, the boys (as expected) started to tire a little, but still they dominated most of the play. Little gaps started to appear for the opposition but none that allowed them to create any real chances of note. It took until 5 minutes from time before our hosts had a shot on target (direct from a free kick), which was given though it was a perfectly timed tackle from Oliver R. The shot look destined for the top corner but Ryan E was more than a match and produced a fantastic save - one that he made look easier than it was.
The final whistle came - 3-0 to the Stingrays.
What a fantastic performance by all the boys. They all worked their socks off and really played as a team when both attacking and defending.
As well as the well-deserved goals, it was another clean sheet - that is five from the last 6 games - and still undefeated in 2018. This only comes from the boys playing as a team and all playing their part as a Stingray.
MotM could have gone to a number of players but it was Jasiu C who took the award.
As well as a fantastic left foot finish, he worked hard when defending to win the ball back for his team, and was playing the ball around the pitch with great passing. Well-deserved Jasiu - well played.
Thank you to all the parents who brought the boys to the game - I know it was a very early start but I am sure the performance made it more than worth it.
Have a great Easter all!
Next game: Sunday 8th April. Details TBC.