The game kicked off and the Stingrays were straight into their stride, playing pass and move football and battling for the ball when not in possession - the boys were dominating the majority of play. The midfield trio were working their socks off to dominate the centre of the park.
Ollie W was covering every inch of the pitch to win possession for the Stingrays -including a perfectly timed sliding tackle on the edge of the box, Spencer S battling for the ball and bull dozing through the opposition at every opportunity and Sam S constantly up and down the right hand side of the pitch, defending when required and supporting the forwards when in possession.
Ryan E and Freddie G were taking turns doing a great job of leading the line against a very stubborn Tiptree defense, and though the Stingray’s dominated the majority of play, not too many clear-cut chances were being created.
One effort of note though that deserved a goal was a fine display of pass and move football from our box, up the field and into the opposition box, culminating with a shot from Sam S which was heading into the bottom corner before being smartly saved by the Tiptree GK - it seemed like every player played their part in the move - it was a joy to watch.
Oliver R and George D were proving to be a solid last line of defense - working perfectly together as a defensive two, with Tiptree not having any chances of note, so with the first half drawing to a close it was a surprise when Tiptree took the lead against the run of play. The first half came to a close - 1-0 to the home team.
The half time team talk was all about the Stingrays carrying on as they were - the performance was there, it was just the goals that were missing.
The 2nd half kicked off - and again it was all Stingray’s, but the Tiptree goalkeeper was stopping everything that was thrown at him. But 8 minutes into the 2nd half the equaliser came. A fine through ball by Jasiu C set Ryan E free who raced into the box and finished smartly - a goal the Stingray’s more than deserved.
Unfortunately, the Stingray’s were still celebrating when almost immediately the home team went back down the other end to regain the lead.
This did not deflate the Stingray’s - they continued to create chance after chance but the Tiptree GK continued to stop everything - including at least 3 one on ones.
Deep into the half, fine work by Christian J on the left hand side of the box saw him brought down and the Stingray’s were awarded a penalty. Christian J, winded by the challenge, got up and was determined to take the penalty himself. He stepped up and hit it low and in the corner, but again the Tiptree GK was a match to the shot, getting down to save - he was certainly the best keeper we have come up against.
The game finished 2-1 to the home team, but the Stingray’s were certainly the better team on the day with a mix of battling hard for the ball, fine passing moves and a number of excellent chances created. The Tiptree management and a number of opposition parents were gracious enough to say we did not deserve to lose and recognised the difference was the performance of their keeper.
The great thing to see this season - and it really showed today - is the Stingray’s are playing as a team - all working together and supporting each other throughout the team. Even though we did not get the result, there were a lot of positives to take.
MotM - a difficult one this week as there were a quite a few who staked their claim - but the choice of the parents was Oliver R, who was outstanding. Oliver did not just defend fantastically, consistently timing his challenges to perfection, but he also carried the ball out and distributed to the midfield probably better than I have seen him do before - well deserved Oliver!!
Thanks - once again - to our fantastic travelling support. I am sure you enjoyed the game, though the result was not quite what we had hoped.
Next game: Home vs Tollesbury Juniors.