Pumas Run Out of Energy
Good first half performance not enough for Pumas
Pumas 1 (Tom Lyon) Pro Direct Whites 3
A perfect morning for football saw the Pumas come up short against Pro Direct Whites. Despite a very good first half performance we just couldn't maintain that level for the whole match, in the end Pro Direct running out 3-1 winners.
I have to say I was very impressed with our playing style throughout the first half. We took the game to the opposition throughout the and used the ball well.
Lucas came in at right back to cover for Toddy, with Ethan moving to the left. Daniel returned after a month out injured.
Rudy made a big difference in his new midfield role by anticipating, breaking up play before laying off a good ball forward. I counted at least five or six of these in the first half and it really helped to put the team on the front foot.
Archie was looking dangerous down the right wing with two or three good runs and crosses. Reece had a run from his own half, beating numerous players before crossing in from the right hand side of the penalty area but the chance could not be taken.
At the back Tom Vits was commanding his area and defence. He made a very good save and it was good to see Gene following up to clear the ball into next week to stop any follow up chance! Tom L and Gene have formed a good partnership in front of Tom V at the back.
The breakthrough for the Pumas did come though after Jackson sent in a good corner which Tom Lyon powered a header home. A goal for us and from a corner! Happy days.
Unfortunately (said that quite a few times this season) changes were enforced straight after we took the lead. Gene had to come off injured and Rudy's non stop running meant he'd run out of energy and needed a breather.
Changes made with Jamie coming on for Gene and Alex for Rudy.
Jamie made a couple of good tackles at the back as Pro Direct pressed for the equaliser but generally we looked comfortable. We'd kept their main attacker up front quiet but that was about to change. Their leveler came when a simple tackle in the midfield wasn't made (two players on one) which allowed the ball to go come into our area with defenders caught out of position. In the end the ball was finished well but the tackle in the midfield needed to go in a few plays before. 1-1. Half time.
Phil and I were both really impressed and asked the boys for more of the same. It was going to be a tough ask though as the players were clearly tired and asking for a rest. Indeed I had trouble with players not wanting to come on in the second half as tired!
I asked Archie to cover for Lucas for the start of the second half so Lucas could have ten minutes off but this never worked out. Archie didn't want to play this role and didn't track back. It wasn't going to be for the whole half, just while Lucas got his energy back.
Within five minutes of the restart Pro DIrect took the lead when a hopeful ball into our half found their main attacker who turned and got onto his front foot. Jamie covered well though as was first to the ball, however instead of just clearing it away, tried to turn and play the ball back to Tom V. Cannot do that when faced with the desire of the Pro Direct striker who muscled his way past Jamie before shooting past Tom V. Again another soft goal where we had the chance to clear. 1-2.
A goal saving tackle from Ethan was a defensive highlight of the half (a Charlie M styled last ditch tackle!).
The boys were working hard but were clearly getting tired. Rudy wasn't having the same impact as in the first half, I'd had to move Charlie M to the back as he was knackered; we were struggling energy level wise.
I can't remember the what happened for Pro Direct's third goal but it came not long after their second. 1-3.
Jamie came off and Tom L moved back to centre back. Looking back on the game that is the mistake I made. I should have kept Tom L at the back and played Jamie in midfield as Tom L seemed to have their strikers number. I did put Charlie M in the midfield to start with but both boys (Charlie M and Jamie) looked tired yesterday (just back from ski trip).
We had three really good chances to score in the second half. Reece just had to play the ball through to Kai to put him clean through but held on to it. Archie put it in a perfect cross for Kai but the usually calm finish wasn't there and the shot didn't threaten. Tom L had a header cleared off the line. Again plenty of good chances.
It's not happening for the strikers at the moment. I think in Kai, Reece and Archie we have three excellent goal threats. Kai will run all day and track back but I feel he's losing heart because he's not being picked out for the pass enough from his strike partner Reece, that said he does have to get further forward when Reece has the ball. Reece is desperate for a goal and it's just not happening like it was earlier in the season. I feel you are holding on to the ball too long when a simple pass out to the wing or back and then make your run forward would be more beneficial. Archie is a bit of an enigma in that you do good things every game but I want you more forward when we attack and back further when defending. I get on your case because you are quite capable of doing it the whole game, not just in patches or when you want to. I'm always going to maintain this.
Full time 1-3.
Clearly the boys have worked hard. They've come up short but they've tried in hot conditions.
What I take from the game is the very good first half where we passed and moved. I felt Tom V was very good organising and commanding from the back - the loudest boy in the team now by a long way. Rudy really impressed for the first half hour.
I feel there was one stand out player today and that was Tom Lyon. When at centre back today he looked strong, sure and as if he's taken his game to the next level. He stood out as a player of a different level. That's why he's today's MOTM.
A little frustrating as it's still not clicking for the whole 80 mins. If we are going to have a serious team next season then I feel pre-season fitness training is a must. Also you best be getting on Tom V's case to persuade him to stay. We have one more season potentially at youth level.
Right, see you at training on Wednesday. The senior side have a game and Phil and I will be putting on drills as well as having a look at how the first team set up.