On a cold, frosty morning the Foxes were away to top of the table Bessingby Park Rangers. This was always going to be a tough game, especially with the squad being depleted due to holidays and injuries. With only 9 players the boys set out to work. All that was asked of them was to focus on the closing down around the area and their tackling, the focal point of our sessions over the last few weeks.
We had to start the game with 8 players due to an unforeseen incident that meant Ethan was held up on public transport. However we adapted our formation and the game got underway. We knew the pressure would be mounted on us early so we set about sitting back to tried and soak up the pressure then catch Bessingby on the counter. We had this locked down very well and everything Bessingby threw at us we dealt with. It was a great start from the visitors. Ethan managed to arrive 10-15minutes into the game and we were still 0-0. This then allowed us to play with our one striker and try to push on.
20mins in and we were holding on, however a lapse in concentration allowed the home striker to tuck away a shot after wriggling into space. It wasn’t 100% deserved as we had done so well to fend them off for so long. The home side managed to score again after an attempted block took a horrible deflection and rolled into the bottom corner.
We still battled on and worked tirelessly to get forward, which saw a great through ball into the path of Elis who eventually saw his low drive saved. This still gave us the belief that we could grab a goal. Bessingby still piled on the pressure but tackles from Luke and Ethan saw their attacks thwarted. Just before half time the home side took a 3-0 lead. It was a dubious goal as it looked slightly offside and the striker took full advantage by sliding the ball through the Keeper’s legs. 3-0 down at half time but we most certainly didn’t deserve to be after the hard work the boys had put in. Alexis had done well to keep the score line down with some great shot stopping. We spoke about keeping the formation tight and close together to squeeze the space so it didn’t allow much room for the strikers and attacking midfielders.
The second half kicked off and Bessingby had an advantage of using subs, which was something we couldn’t do. So we knew it was going to be even tougher with the legs started to tire.
We started again brightly but it was difficult with the fresh legs coming into the game. The boys did well to create a few attacks and get forward by using the wingers well as well as bringing Elis into the fray with a few central passes. Bessingby gave away a couple of free kicks, which gave us a great chance to score. Unfortunately we didn’t follow up the cross, which evaded everyone and needed a quick thinking reaction from the home defense to clear. If we had reacted quickly we could’ve snatched a goal back.
As it was we were picking the ball out of the goal for a fourth time. Possession was given away in the middle of the park to easily and the midfielder who picked up the ball took one touch before rifling into the roof of the goal. What was frustrating was we had worked hard to not concede for around 15minutes but the tiredness and lack of energy kicked in. Applying pressure to the man on the ball around the area is crucial, as we can’t afford to allow any shots on goal. However we didn’t do this and another long-range effort found its way into the goal.
It wasn’t like we had given up because we hadn’t. We still persisted with trying to get forward and find that goal. Elis was sent free down the middle once again but this time the Keeper was quick to react and closed the space down, which meant the angle for Elis’ shot became smaller. As a result the shot went wide. The final goal soon came after when a cross was put into the area and nobody reacted quick enough to clear the ball, unlike the striker who was sharp enough to stab the ball home.
6-0 was the final score but it most definitely shouldn’t had been if we had managed not let little mistakes become punishable. It was a valiant effort by the team and they pushed themselves to the very end of the game. I’d like to think with a fully fit squad we could’ve got something out of the game today especially after last weeks performance. However it wasn’t to be.
I just hope that the New Year brings us a bit more luck and all those injured recover well so we can take a full squad into each game for the remainder of the season.
Big thanks to all of those who braved the cold to come and support the boys. Special mention goes to Basil who ran the line for the team today and did a great job. It was much appreciated.
I hope everyone has a great Christmas and New Year, I look forward to seeing you all in 2015.