First class display earns win
By Geoffrey Balmont
Performance of the season.
Starting to get used to these sunny Sunday football matches, both in terms of beings bit warmer on the side line and the fact that the pitches are in much better condition. Hayward’s Heath were the opposition today, nice bunch of lads and coaches and a team who’s results had seriously started to improve. We knew that this would be a tough game and we needed to be on form right from the off.
As soon as the whistle blew we looked sharp and capable on the ball, passing it around with real confidence and retaining possession in a great opening few minutes. We looked like a team close to the top of the table and started to create chances immediately. It wasn’t long before the opening goal duly arrived, a great ball from midfield and Drew latched onto it, easily beat his man and drove into the area. He rifled his shot across the keeper who made a terrific one handed save, but Lloyd was so sharp he had anticipated this and followed up at the far post, 1-0.
We continued to dominate possession and chances, however, we had to be careful as Hayward’s Heath looked dangerous on the break and had a few chances of their own, with the highlight being a vicious shot from the edge of the area that hit the understand of the cross bar and rebounded clear. However, apart from the occasional foray into our half, the first 40 minutes was clearer dominated by us and the only disappointment was that we went into half time only 1-0 up.
We spoke about two things we wanted to try and improve, one was dropping off s little earlier as we knew the long ball was causing us some issues and also ensuring that we delivered the ball with better quality into the box. We also wanted to try and use both flanks as we had been heavily reliant on the right hand side in the first half.
Sure enough, as predicted, Hayward’s Heath came out all guns blazing in the second half and put us under pressure. We managed to stand strong and not give away any real opportunities, and then hit them on the break with devastating effect. Drew picking the ball up on the left and hitting an amazing diagonal ball to Jim on the opposite side. Jim used his pace and control to drive into the area, jinking left and right before firing it opposite the keeper into the bottom corner, 2-0.
Every player continued to do his job well and we were combining well as a team. Defence strong and compact, midfield transition with real effectiveness and controlling the ball and the attackers just causing complete chaos in the opposition defence.
Another great piece of football as Jim broke down the right again, finding a brilliant cross to Drew who was about 5 yard past the far post, he fired the ball across the box and Lloyd was sharpest again to finish the move first time, 3-0.
The only downside was we got slightly slopping in the last 5 minutes and allow Haywards Heath a free shot from the edge of the area to lose our clean sheet. Final whistle came and you could dispute that we were well deserved winners.
Probably our best performance of the season, good retention of the ball, moved the ball quickly, get it out wide and delivered into the danger area without over playing it. Totally dominant in possession and clinical in front of goal. Another big game one Wednesday and we need to play like this again.
The referee also commented about Drew’s excellent display as a captain and how this was displayed in the boys attitude. A high compliment indeed.
Kyle – Brilliant coming off his line and playing as a sweeper keeper, clearing the ball on several occasions and instilling real confidence with his defence. Good handling and didn’t put a foot wrong all game.
Sean – Strong as ever and had to be fully focused to deal with the threats out wide. Some great runs down the line in possession and tried to link up with the attack where is could. Also added some great long throws to his armoury.
Abdul – Took 5-10 minutes to settle into the game and was up against their main attacking threat in the first half. Handled the pressure really well and so comfortable on the ball it enabled us to play out from the back.
Ethan – Another dominant display in the air and on the ground. However, today he offered a lot going forward and drove with the ball several times. Involved in the 3rd goal, offering a support option in their attacking half and played a good ball over the top.
Jake – Fabulous display today of defensive strength. Put in a number of great tackles including a sliding challenge in the area. Played some good football and is growing in confidence, fully adapting our desire to play out from the back.
Liam – Tireless running off the ball today and provided an excellent outlet when on the attack. Calm and comfortable on the ball, he enabled us to retain control of the ball in midfield. His work rate is incredible and today was no different.
Theo – Physical and aggressive pressing of the ball and nearly created the initial break-through with a powering run with the ball from midfield. Transitioned wonderfully and was involved in all areas of the pitch both defensively and attacking.
Tom – Some great one touch passing of the ball that enabled us to switch the play at will. Constantly wanting to be on the ball his gave us a real flow to our first half performance. Almost created another wonder goal as he beat three players in midfield with some great footwork.
Drew – Inspirational as a captain today both in terms of leadership and his footballing performance. Hatrick of assists, including two top class diagonal balls to switch play and create opportunities. Tracked back and did his defensive work as well.
Lloyd – Looked razor sharp today, and although his goals were two relatively straight forward finishes, you need to appreciate the movement and anticipation Lloyd showed in order to get on the end to finish these off. Another who worked incredibly hard defensively.
Jason – Played the target man to perfection today. Strong and powerful in holding the ball up and intelligent in his link up play. Showed amazing tenacity when he did have the ball, constantly closing down the opposition and not allowing them to play from the back.
Toby – Came on and added some physicality to our defensive unit and smashed into a number of tackles. Mainly had to focus on his defensive duties in the second half but was intelligent in taking his opportunities to join in the attack.
Alf- Big impact again when he came on and was pretty much everywhere on the pitch, making a couple of great overlapping runs to take defenders away and open up space. He combined this with some wonderful passing and vision, adding some real determination in winning the ball back.
Jim – Pace, strength and determination were at the heart of his performance today, however, he playing the wide role superbly, constantly making runs in behind for the through ball and reward with a goal. Wasn’t afraid to work back hard and help out his defence, top display.
Parents Man of The Match
Drew - excellent performance today both in terms of his footballing contribution and as a captain. Got praised by the ref for his leadership and ensuring the team kept to the refs instructions. Hatrick of assists and all round first class display.
Lloyd, Theo and Jake.
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