Well, we did it! Our first three points on the board in week one. If you had said to me on Saturday morning, you're going to come home with three points and some FINE individual displays, I would have bitten your hand off!
I'm not one for match reports in the third person, here's just the managers view of a very hot sunny day at the beginning of August;
Defensively, we gave everything for this clean sheet, incredible displays across the back four but also as a collective meant we came out with what was the main target for me once we'd scored that third goal - A shut out! Bodies were being thrown left, right and centre in order to protect Charlie's goal but it was our organisation and discipline that really impressed me. The boys stuck to their half press really well, holding their shape and pressing at the right times once the ball had become engaged in our midfield.
Going forward, we were a little more direct than I would have liked, but with pace to burn and Ste Peacock's physical presence down the middle, we played to our strengths really well. Mo Davies and Joe Pantony were hugely influential in wide areas, making penetrative runs from wide and feeding positive deliveries throughout the afternoon. Clive Akem-Che came on in the second half to add even more pace, he just lacked that final pass that comes with a few more games under his belt.
Down the middle, Robbie Slack, Ryan Whyte, Josh Smith and Cameron Miller gave us a strong backbone when it came to winning those personal battles. My sidekick on the touchline Jack Medhurst said it completely right before the start of the game; the core of the side and the additional creative players such as Aaron Rowland, Mo Davies and substitute Dan Melville had to earn us the right to play our football.
Our full backs Ali Dickie and Jordan Rowland weren't able to get forward as much as I would have liked, and we sometimes missed out our number 10's in Aaron and Dan Melville, but considering this was our first competitive game, I felt our professionalism and concentration was completely on point! Ali and Jordan won their 1v1's and played simply but effective forward passes into our front line.
In terms of stand out displays, there were a few names being mentioned for the man of the match award. Charlie Lusty had a great game in goal, his kicking was great and his awareness to slow the game down at times was intelligent. Cameron Miller isn't known for his creative flair, but his tight turn to lose his defender and positive forward pass for Ste's opening goal was very impressive. This, partnered with his forever energetic and combative movement off the ball gave us that backbone we needed towards the end of the game.
Ryan Whyte and Robbie Slack as a back two got huge mentions from the club and team captains this week. Having never played together before, they were smart, organised and direct in their forward passes. Mo Davies won two of the votes (out of five voters) this week. His defensive work was just as important as his attacking phases of play, he soldiered on through cramp for the last ten minutes and caused Chessington's left back headaches all afternoon. A very positive performance.
This weeks MOTM goes to Ste Peacock. A fantastic turn in the box and the composure to clip it around the keeper from a tight angle got us our opener, this was after a frustrating first half where he was working in tight area's for the most part. Ste then went on to win us our penalty for the third goal, having been bought down in the box, Ste fell awkwardly on his shoulder and damaged his neck in the process. After being stretchered off the pitch Ste managed to recover in time for a drink and a hot dog after the game. Its safe to say he got spoiled by the WAGS in the stands, while substitute Brad Brown came on and finished the game with a tireless effort chase and harry the Chessington and Hook back line. He too wasn't far away from hitting the net on more than one occasion.
My last mention this week goes to the two lads we couldn't bring on from the bench. Adam Edwards and Sam Wood have both had a good pre-season of football behind them and both remained hugely professional when it became clear they weren't going to be called upon. Its safe to say that I believe we're going the right way to building a strong squad mentality this season, its not about the individual, its about the final result and the performance from the group that matters.
Well done once again to all involved, from front to back a fantastic group effort, topped with some great individual performances.
Pictures supplied by Richard Milam (TGB Photo)
Updated 13:45 - 7 Aug 2018 by Ross Allston