This was put into practice in the pre-match warm up with the team working on positioning and marking from corners.
The game kicked off with the captain for the day Christian J leading the team. From the start, it was a very tight even encounter, with very little space afforded to either team.
Freddie G in goal had very little to do with the defensive pairing of George D & George W standing firm in front of him, allowing the opposition no chances of note.
With the midfield three of Sam S, Christian J and Ollie W covering every blade of grass / patch of mud, they were making the opposition work hard to keep the ball, and when winning the ball, working together with Ryan E who was leading the line to play some great give and go football.
Halfway through the half, substitutes were made with Jasiu C, Oliver R and Spencer S entering the field. Little changed in the shape of the game, with space still at a premium for both teams, with the new players working just as hard as the team mates they replaced.
For the Stingrays, it was very difficult to break down the visitors defence, primarily due to an opposition defender who’s job seemed to be to be permanently stationed on the edge of their box, making a couple of last ditch tackles on Ryan E to prevent an opportunity on goal.
Late in the half, a long-range effort from the opposition flashed into the box. Unfortunately, with the ball appearing to be arrowing straight for his head, Spencer S did a very good impression of a Michael Jordan defensive block, putting his hands in front of his face, resulting in a penalty to our visitors.
The penalty was taken and hit with so much power; it left Freddie G with no chance to save.
The half time whistle came - 1-0 to the visitors.
The half time talk was really to carry on as they were. The whole team were working hard; the boys had taken on board our pre-match comments and were implementing the previous day’s training exercises to be stronger in the challenge.
The second half kicked off, with Sam S taking up the position between sticks and Freddie G taking up his position in midfield.
It was much of the same, again with both teams working hard, with little space available to either.
With 6 minutes gone of the 2nd half, the visitors were awarded a free kick to the right hand side of the penalty box, close the side line. A speculative effort looped over Sam S and nestled in the net at the far post. 2-0 to the visitors.
This did not dishearten the boys, in fact, it seemed to fire them up even more, continuing to work hard and play great passing football when in possession.
With 12 minutes of the second half gone, the killer blow came with the one momentary lapse in defence, the ball going straight to a Meadow Youth player who finished the chance to make it 3-0.
Again, the boy’s heads did not go down and they continued to play great football, working as a team, pass and move, great little triangles, running with the ball, beating players and creating chances.
Unfortunately, one difference throughout the game was the Meadow Youth goalkeeper who stopped all that was thrown at him - he had a top performance.
The final whistle came - 3-0 to the visitors - but a game that was very evenly balanced, with a couple of key moments and a top goalkeeper being the difference.
The post-match talk was to ignore the result - there were plenty of positives to take from the game and the performance was a great reaction by every single boy to the disappointing performance of last week.
MotM was Ollie W - with a great work rate in midfield, fighting for every ball, carrying the ball forward and beating players along with great interchange football with his fellow teammates.
Well played Ollie!
Well played to all - very happy with the way the boys played and if they can continue to play that way, the results will come.
Thank you to Kevin for refereeing and thanks to all who help set up / put away the goals.
Next week: No match.