This last weekend saw the Silvers take on our club mates and training partners, the Foxes Orange.
This would be a battle between two teams whom both know each other’s strengths and weaknesses, a battle between two unbeaten teams and a battle between 1st and 2nd. The winner would go top.
Both teams lined up in a 2-4-2 formation, the Silvers started with Harry in goal, Jonah and Remi in defence, Ossian, Alex, Adrien and Cameron in midfield and Sasha and Georges up top.
The game began with the Oranges and as predicted they moved the ball straight to their back line in an attempt to draw us out and exploit space between our lines of defence. To counter this the Silvers refused to press them in their own half, instead we overloaded our own half and challenged them to play through us.
This tactic saw the Orange players have to adapt from their normal patterns, this was gaining positive results for the Silvers.
Due to the Orange players unused to this approach by the Silvers they were still trying to play the ball into the midfield, the midfielders were finding space limited and therefore possession was turned over.
This happened on a number of occasions, on one occasion Ossian, Adrien and Jonah combined well on the right hand side to get behind the Orange defensive line. With space opened up the ball was whipped into Cameron who saw his shot and the best chance of the half saved by the Orange’s keeper.
The Oranges did have one shot, a 30-yard drive from Raul which flew harmlessly over Harry’s crossbar. With half time drawing near I was becoming increasingly happy at how well we were nullifying the Orange’s threat, as it stood it would take either a brilliant piece of football or a large stroke of fortune for the Oranges to break us down.
With the last kick of the half, they were given an extremely large slice of fortune. The ball was in our defensive third and Jonah gathered it up and without looking played an overhead kick towards our keeper Harry, Harry was on his way out to claim the loose ball saw the ball fly over his head and into our net to give the Orange’s an undeserved and unjust lead.
With that the final whistle of the half went.
During the break the whole squad was shocked, we were all in disbelief that after executing the game plan perfectly, performing perfectly and controlling the space flawlessly that we found ourselves a goal down.
We spoke about now getting the wingers higher up the pitch and the midfielders to offer more support for the attackers so we can break the opposition down, we knew we needed a goal as a loss would see us slip 5 points behind the Oranges in the table and take the destination of the league title out of our hands.
We began the second half and this time we pressed, forcing them to play quickly. This was going well for 10 minutes until their left winger was able to squeeze a ball into their striker whom turned the ball in at the near post, this gave the Oranges a two goal lead.
Still we refused to be beaten and through ourselves further forward however, the CM’s were being caught to high when our attacks broke down. This meant space was left in front of our defenders for their CM’s to exploit.
Twice they had time and space to put two lofted shots into our net, taking the score to 4-0.
With our enthusiasm and chances of victory crushed, we were playing for pride. We continued to try and make something however, another mix up between Jonah and Harry saw the Orange’s striker slot home to bring the final score to Foxes Orange 5 Foxes Silver 0.
After the game we spoke of what went wrong, what went right and what we shall have to improve. We all agreed that communication breakdown led to two of the goals and poor positioning led to another two.
Whilst this game left me feeling depressed and upset, after reflection and reviewing what had happened I was filled with hope and a sense of pride.
The reasons why I was filled with hope and pride is that for every second prior to the final kick of the half we were the better team, we controlled the space well with smart positional discipline and our link up play was good when building attacks. This for me shows that we are versatile and effective when it comes to having to attack or defend. It also filled me with pride because everything I asked the players work hard to achieve and for that I am beyond grateful.
It was my belief that the first goal changed the game however, after reflection I feel it was my decision to open up and try to attack them that really cost us. In hindsight continuing with our game plan would have continued to protect Harry and the backline, as space in midfield would have been limited.
By asking them to attack spaces were created for the Orange’s in midfield, going into the game I knew that space should not be giving to them as they will exploit it.
So know in my opinion the first goal changed very little, we still needed to score as we did when the game started and so I should have stuck with my plan. My decision to attack was what really cost us.
For this I apologise to my players who had to endure and tough second half where they were exposed to situations and a beating they should not have been exposed to.
I also want to apologise to the parents whom not only had to endure a tough second half but also I imagine a tough journey home.
I would like to thank all that attended, your support as always is greatly appreciated and I again am sorry that the result was as bad as it was.
I shall work even harder to iron out the issues of both the players and myself that occurred on Sunday in the hope that we can turn our draw and loss into a wins.
Again, thank you all for your support, enjoy your break and I look forward to tackling the next challenge with you after half term.