The game kicked off, and the early pressure was from our hosts who managed to keep the ball in our half, putting pressure on our defence. However, as we have seen in recent weeks, the defensive duo of George W and George D stood firm, with ‘keeper Freddie G not having to make any save of note.
As the half progressed, the midfield trio of Christian J, Jasiu C and Ollie W began to get into gear and the Stingrays started to dominate possession and create chances. With Sam S leading the line, he was unlucky with a couple of chances, first hitting the post, then denied with some great goalkeeping when one on one.
Christian J was also denied by the ‘keeper when one on one, but with 15 minutes played, it was Christian who broke the deadlock. With great teamwork on the right hand side of the opposition box, Sam S played the ball perfectly into the danger area for Christian to pass the ball into the net from close range. 15 minutes gone - 1-0 to the Stingrays.
The half continued with the play fairly even, with the our hosts working hard to get back into the game, with the Stingrays maybe giving their hosts a bit too much time on the ball at times, though Spencer S continued to show his progression and diversity as both a battling midfielder and a strong solid defender, covering both positions for the Stingrays with ease.
Half time came with no further goals - 1-0 Stingrays.
The half time talk was about working that bit harder to close down the opposition when they are in possession as they had a little bit too much time and space at times. On the positive side, the boys were playing excellent passing football at times, which on a difficult pitch like this, it was great to see.
The 2nd half kicked off, with Sam S going in goal, and Freddie G leading the line.
The Stingrays started well, putting pressure on the Kestrels from the re-start, and it did not take too long for a second to be added. With time and space, Freddie G and Christian J played a short corner. Christian carried the ball into the box and passed it back to George D on the edge who powered a first time shot which was too hot for the keeper and it flew into the top corner. 2-0.
A third soon followed. From a Kestrels long goal kick, George D won the ball in our half and immediately played a fine pass into Christian J who carried the ball into the box, avoiding a couple of challenges, and shot across the keeper into the far past. 3-0.
With 15 minutes of the second half played, Christian J completed his hat trick. With a pass out of defence from George W to Freddie G just inside the opposition half, Freddie carried the ball forward and played a perfectly timed pass into Christian J, who shot cleanly into the far post. 4-0.
The Stingrays continued to play great football, as well as staying solid from front to back. The final whistle came - 4-0 to the Stingrays. Overall, a well-deserved victory for our boys against a spirited Notley Youth who did not give up the fight until the final whistle. Well played to all the boys from both teams - a great attitude from both sets of boys.
MotM was Christian J, not for his goals, but his overall work rate and contribution to the Stingrays performance today. Well played Christian - well deserved.
Next Match: Sunday 4th February. Home V Rayne Youth Hawks. KO 12:30PM (To Be Confirmed).