Finally with the weather changing (at long last) a great morning with the Vikings against Heybridge. 7 of our 10 Vikings were available and following the last time we played them, we knew a challenge with the missing 3 of Angus, Cullen & William.
Starting off with Josh in goal, Henry, Bastien, Joe & Jess we started well with plenty of effort and structured passing. Bastien with his mazy runs and strong defence, Joe running up and down, finding space to stretch his legs, Henry the modern day Maldini with his alertness and positional play and Jess showing a steely determination to mix it with the best of them. We had some half chances and could have scored. They took the lead from a cool stroke into the corner. Undetered, Vikings stepped it up and we quickly scored 2 goals, the first from a corner, where Henry scored a lovely goal, slotting it home from a corner and the 2nd, a peach of a run from Joe from the half way line before calmly placing into the bottom right hand corner.
That spurred them on and Josh was called into action, smothering a couple of shots and a 1 on 1 chance. Bastien followed Joe's approach and made a great run only to be blocked out near the goal. Jess had a half chance and was close to a strong connection but the defending was good. They then got the break and after a poor clearance, scored to level and then we switched off and they got another, before a rocket of a corner came off a Viking for an Own Goal. Maksim & Rohan, having come on were energised, with Rohan putting in the hard work to shut down their players and Maksim looking for the opportunities up front. Getting the Vikings to keep switched onn was key.
They scored another before the break. After the break, with one of our best players on the day, Joe going in goal, we knew we had a bigger challenge. Starting with Josh, Henry, Joe, Rohan & Jess, we went at it and again plenty of passing and dribbling which was good. What we probably missed was the finishing not effort. Josh had a few runs and was showing of some skills he has picked up which he seemed to enjoy. Henry made a great chance and just a slight over stretch took the ball off target but could have been. Bastien & Maksim came on and we continued to threaten. Unfortunately we let them score 2 un answered, before a Joe goal kick to Maksim, who controlled with his chest swivelled and buried it in the middle of their goal. I was so chuffed as exactly why we have been learning controlling the ball over last couple of training sessions.
Rohan was showing good development with his tackling, and as he progresses, the balls he was winning will start to give the opportunity to start counter breaks for us. Jess, was continuing to tussle and challenge in the middle of the park and was a true team player with her defensive duties. At the end, we let them get a final goal. Tough game, especially with 3 of the Vikings misssing, but next week is another chance to continue the development we are making in the first year.