A short trip for the Stingrays to Braintree to the home of our hosts Sporting 77 Piranhas for an early morning kick off.
The only real chance of note for Sporting 77 was a pass across the box, which really should have finished in the back of the net, but the shot went wide of the goal.
Eventually the midfield three of Spencer S, Ollie W and Jasiu C began to gain control of the centre of the park. They were battling with players who appeared to be twice their size – a real David and Goliath – but our boys were determined and began to dominate possession, working with Sam S who was leading the line with hard work and determination, playing nice passing football on the floor which the opposition struggled to deal with. Ollie W started to make his midfield runs, carrying the ball into the opposition half driving the team forward and playing the ball into Sam who was giving the opposition defence plenty to think about.
With Ryan E, Christian J and Oliver R entering the field of play midway through the first half, the team continued to play and dominate possession, and soon after the Stingrays took the advantage. From a Ryan E throw on the right hand side, Ollie W battled with an opposition player for the ball, winning the ball and playing a pass into Christian J just inside the box who unleashed an excellent first time shot into the corner giving the keeper no chance. 1-0 Stingrays.
The Stingrays continued to play football, with the opposition threat coming from the long ball and Pacey strikers, but Ollie R and Spencer S were dealing with anything that came their way.
With the second half coming to a close, the Stingrays extended their lead. Sam S and Ollie W played one-two’s before passing into Christian J who in turn passed the ball into Ryan E who dispatched his shot into the far post – another unstoppable strike. 2-0 Stingrays.
After the goal, one of the opposition coaches approached me and asked whether his team could join our passing and shooting training exercises because way the team passed to each other to create chances was excellent – another opposition manager who recognises the great football our boys are playing.
The whistle blew soon after to mark the end of the first half.
After some considerable early pressure, the Stingrays had managed the storm and then let their passing football do the talking, as well as matching the home team in the physical battle. With half time refreshments consumed, the team talk was to carry on as we were but be prepared for the long ball into our half.
The second half kicked off with Ollie W taking up his position in goal and Freddie G leading the line. Within 2 minutes, the Stingrays extended their lead. With Jasiu C in possession on the left hand side, he played a neat pass into Christian J on the edge of the box. In turn, Christian passed the ball to Freddie G just outside the box who unleashed a ferocious drive into the corner of the goal, leaving the keeper rooted to the spot. 3-0 Stingrays.
Within a couple of minutes, the home team got themselves back into the game. With a long pass into the box from the left hand side, a Sporting 77 player finished by guiding the ball into the net at the far post. 3-1 and still all to play for, inspiring the home team to pick up their game and put some pressure on the Stingrays. However, as usual the Stingrays defenders stood fast with Oliver R putting in some excellent tackles around the edge of the box.
With the Stingrays defenders standing firm, the opposition were resorting to long-range efforts, with Ollie W turning a couple of goal bound efforts round the post. At the other end, the Stingrays continued to play and could quite easily of added to the tally with Jasiu C, Christian J, Ryan E and Freddie G all working together to create chances. No further goals were added and the final whistle blew.
MotM was George D. George was solid in defence throughout, and he is improving week by week in being calm on the ball when in possession and playing the ball out of defence. George played some excellent passes out of defence - passes which were not hit and hope, but were where George got his head up, picked out the player and executed a great pass to them to kick off another Stingrays attack.
George was very close to winning the award last week, and thoroughly deserved it this week. Well played George – and I hope you spent your V-bucks wisely!!
Thanks to all the travelling support – very vocal as usual, encouraging the boys all through the game.
Next match: 6th May 2018
Home vs Sporting 77 Wolves. 10am KO.