Collier Row JFC Blue 2-4 Newbury Forest (HT 1-1)
Scorers: Jake 26, 42, Abdullah 33, 55
Assists; Jake, Arun
Player of the Match; Abdullah
Starting 9; Max, Saad, Arun, Pavan, Abdullah (c), Jake, Cameron, Lukas, Stan
Subs all used; Ismael, Leo, Casian, Majus
This fixture was moved the day before the game from Lodge Lane to the Robert Clack Center on 4G astro and it really helped our game. In the first half we dominated play by really putting together some beautiful passing moves. All around the team we effectively moved the ball. Cameron on the left was linking with the midfield really well and creating moves down our left wing. At the centre of all the moves was our central midfield partnership of Jake and Abdullah. Jake especially was putting on a show of his full range of passing. Both players were also weaving their way through Collier Row's defence. Stan was really unlucky not to score as twice he saw himself through on goal. One left foot shot hit the post. Despite this I thought he played really well. Collier Row took the lead on 14 minutes from a corner. We cleared the initial danger but from outside the area a player struck a lovely low right foot shot which zipped through everyone into Max's far corner of the net. This goal really was against the run of play and to be truthful we should have already been two nil ahead. Arun was leading the defence brilliantly. I had asked him to sit deeper than normal as coach Leo had said Collier Row's main threat from the first game in October was their fast number 9 and that they lumped it to him quickly all the time. Arun, Pav and Saad dealt with this threat well and also Abs was showing leadership by dropping deep when he needed to while still supporting all the attacks. What an engine our player has!. On 21 minutes there was a bit of a goal mouth scramble but in the air. Abs hit the bar and birthday boy Ismael received a bouncing ball right in front of goal that he just couldn't control. It was very windy and Lukas out on the right was finding it hard to control passes to him but despite this he beat his left back several times and delivered lovely balls across the area and pull backs but we just couldn't score. After 26 minutes Jake was fouled just outside the area. He got up and after the Collier Row wall had been set he hit it left footed (obviously!) top corner of the net to make the score 1-1. A couple of minutes later and Abdullah was brought down as he jinked past 4 players, again just outside the area. This time Arun stepped up to take. He played a square ball to Abs who just took a touch before striking which meant he was closed down but a good inventive move by the team.
So one all at half time but there wasn't much to say from me except keep playing the way we were playing. The second half saw much of the same from us. After 3 minutes Jake won the ball in the middle of the pitch and passed 5 yards on to Abs who again jinked skillfully through the opposition's midfield and defence to slot home for the lead. 1-2. The half continued with us having most of the play and restricting Collier Row to the odd break, which although was dangerous saw either our defenders led by Arun clear up or Max diligently make saves or see the ball to safety. Collier Row hit the post and the bar once but with 2 players on him Max managed to smother the ball. We had a few more half chances and long shots but after 42 minutes Jake intercepted a clearance (I think it was a goal kick) and ran it back beating several players to slot home to give us a more than deserved 2 goal lead. A few minutes later and Abs found himself through on goal but his shot to the bottom corner was saved by the keeper's foot. As the game went on Collier Row were becoming more desperate and were throwing more people forward. They scored after 47 minutes purely because Arun, who I had asked to play deep, was stranded against 3 oncoming players. 2-3 and now we had to dig deep. Majus came on at that time and was absolutely brilliant at the back. He used his speed to match the fast number 9 as he tore down the right on a few occasions, either making him overrun and go out of play or getting a foot in to tackle. He also crucially got to a low cross right in front of goal to stop a certain tap in by strongly clearing and when the ball came straight back in Leo got a vital block tackle in to again save us from an equaliser. Max made a great low save around this time to again keep us in the lead. It was a fitting end to the scoring when Arun cleared the ball long into Abs path. Abs ran through and slotted home right in front of our fans to secure our well deserved win.
From the first game I had heard their crowd were raucous but our play during the game quietened them down. It was good to score 3 of our goals in front of them :). Whereas Abs has stopped doing his shushing gesture when he scores the whole team effectively did it by playing so well!
Max - solid in goal as usual. No chance with the goals. Again great distribution.
Saad - today brilliant and tidy, defended and tackled so well. His passing in the first half was excellent. He even laughed when he got his glasses knocked off while defending near the end of the game.
Majus - also got his glasses knocked off by a fierce Arun goal kick and as expected just picked them up and played on. Majus as I have said was excellent and really came on to shore up the win by his brilliant defending.
Pavan - was not only great at the back but he also linked up with the attack so well. Both full backs supported their wingers so well especially from Collier Row short goal kicks. We pressed with our wingers and the full backs came up to mark the player who would receive the out ball.
Captain Abdullah - is needed in central midfield. We know he can basically play anywhere but he really keeps the team solid through the middle along with Jake. Abs ran and ran for the full hour and scored 2 great goals.
Jake - again brilliant. In the first half he was the architect of all the passing moves. He sprayed the ball about long or short and was a big reason we dominated this game. When Leo came on behind him and Stan went off he was then playing as a false number 9 staying more forward.
Leo - came on just before half time in the middle at a time when the match was very quick. He got in some nice short passes but was restricted to mostly defending and making it difficult for Collier Row which he did.
Arun - top class performance all round. I know he likes playing deeper to see everything in front of him. He passed brilliantly and was a major factor in the win as he really dominated his opposing attackers. In the first half there was an incident where right in front of the opposing fans he brilliantly shepherded the ball out for a goal kick under pressure from the attacker. Class! After the Collier Row second goal he pushed up further to squeeze the space. Well done Arun.
Cameron - started well. He has been brilliant in training now for weeks and on a nice surface like Robert Clack we saw of his skills and good passes and touches.
Ismael - came on and put in a shift down the left on his birthday! -
Lukas - As I have said played well and was effective. He picked up an ankle injury from a tackle and had to come off early in the second half just when the wind was in his favour!
Casian - Got a good run out down the right and battled well.
And finally Stanley - Good performance from Stan - so unlucky not to score. He shut down his opponents when he didn't have the ball and was so unlucky not to score when he correctly hit a shot with his left that he saw hit the post.
So overall a very good team performance. More than any other game this season we saw extended periods of good play from the whole team. We battled well but to be truthful we held on to the ball a few times just a few touches too long to invite the unnecessary tackle but when we moved the ball we moved it effectively and very well. All our great attributes were on show yesterday. We were, as they say, up for the game. We showed skill, commitment, intensity, heart and desire. Very well done to all.
ONE LAST THING - yesterday we had Emma G a very experienced ref. I have warned you all to avoid any problems that there are regulations for clothing and kit. Firstly metal studs are NOT ALLOWED . Also - skins or anything you wear under your kit that can be seen must be the same colour as that part of the clothing - so if we wear navy shirts you need navy skins. I have seen refs stop a player playing if they are not compliant. Yesterday Emma did not insist on the colour top thing (although I have seen her do that to one of my players before at Newbury) but did ask Max to change his boots.
Onwards and upwards