From the kick off, the Stingrays were straight into their stride, and within a minute, they took the lead. Excellent passing from the back, with George W passing the ball through to Christian J, who in turn passed the ball onto Ollie W. Ollie quickly turned and passed the ball into Ryan E who was through on goal. The keeper saved the first effort but could not stop Ryan’s follow up. A great start and a great goal from the rocket boots!!
The Stingrays continued their excellent play, following all the instructions we had given to them, especially to put pressure on the opposition to give them no time on the ball.
Spencer S, in his new role in defense, along with his partner George W were excellent, sweeping up on many occasions, winning the ball and playing out to a fellow Stingray. Christian J and Sam S, playing in the wide midfield positions, were excellent on the ball, carrying and passing the ball with confidence and working hard to help the team defend when required.
In the 11th minute, the Stingrays deservedly extended their lead. Again, great team work between the defence and midfield, with the ball coming to Sam S in his own half. Sam turned and played a midfield and defence splitting pass straight into the path of Ryan E who was off and running and a finish which gave the goalkeeper no chance.
Soon after, subs were made, with Oliver R and George D coming into defence and Jasiu C into midfield. The boys had obviously been watching the excellent start their teammates had made and continued the fine Stingrays performance - with both defenders just as solid - giving Freddie G little to do in goal - and Jasiu C getting stuck in, winning the ball and being positive when in possession.
Half time came with no further goals added - 2-0 to the Stingrays - and they thoroughly deserved the lead and the clean sheet.
The half time talk was all about just carrying on as we were - playing good passing football and continue the pressing of the opposition to prevent them playing. George W - who had been excellent in the first half in both defence and midfield - took up his third position of the day between the sticks, with Freddie G coming out of goal to lead the line.
The 2nd half kicked off, and within 10 seconds the opposition had pulled one back. Straight from the kick off, they carved straight through the team with ease to score - something the team in the first half did not give them a sniff of doing.
This seemed to hit the Stingrays confidence, and the boys’ performance dipped, primarily the pressing and hard work we’d seen in the first half to stop the opposition playing.
This resulted in a more even encounter, with chances for both teams, with the best for the Stingrays being a great interchange between Ryan E and Ollie W, with the latter’s long range effort being tipped onto the bar by the keeper.
As the game wore on, the feeling was the Stingrays really needed a third goal as the opposition were becoming more dominant and with 5 minutes remaining, this was confirmed with the opposition scoring a scrappy equaliser and a minute later taking the lead straight from a free kick.
The Stingrays were unable to pull one back and the game finished 3-2 to our visitors.
The Stingrays came off the pitch and were probably the most disappointed I have seen them after a game. The clear positive was the first half performance - probably our best this season. Unfortunately, we were unable to carry this through the whole game - it was certainly a game of two halves - and the boys recognised this.
With some good post-match discussion about what went well and what didn’t, the boys recognised they need to work hard and keep to their positions throughout the game otherwise the opposition will take advantage as they did today. Hopefully, this experience will help them in the coming games.
MotM was George D, who was solid in defence, working hard for his team and showing a real fighting spirit - well done George - well deserved.
Next Match: Sunday 26th November 2017. Away to Danbury & Bicknacre Blues. 10am KO.