Thursday, June 7, 2012

U17 - Focus wins the game

Mental toughness and focus won the game for our U17 boys last night.

Our U17 boys traveled to Flamborough last night for their 4th season game.  I had to take the bench for this one as Coach Ben was stuck at work.

As soon as we got there I knew what we were in for.  The official lined all the boys up to check their equipment and then gave the captains a 5-minute speech.  We warned the boys that we potentially had a ref who was going to worry about the protocol of the game and not actually ref the game.

Boy, were we right!  In the first 5 minutes the referee barked at both benches about our technical area and was a stickler for the boys changing at the half line.  All this while the boys were throwing elbows and sliding studs up.

Our boys just played their game and paid little attention to the official.  The game was getting a bit dangerous and the referee heard from me (briefly).  I was just glad nobody was injured on either team.

The field was a bit narrow so the boys had to work hard to maintain width and create space.  Our GK is nursing some discomfort, so our centre-defender stayed a little deeper than usual.  The first half saw us keep our shape well and the ball was doing all the work.  The game was very physical but nobody lost their cool.  Good players know when a game is not under control and just keep the peace themselves.  I was very proud of both teams.

We took a 1-0 lead from a good, low cross from the goal-line to the top of the goal area.  They responded with a goal off a 1v1 from our keeper.  

Half time score: 1-1

The second half became a bit more physical, but nothing came of it.  The field was also getting more slippery as it was very hard and the rain had been falling since kick-off.  Players on both teams were losing their footing and long balls into the keeper were becoming more difficult to handle.

We started losing our shape and our defenders starting launching balls 40-50 yds every time.  Our strikers have only so many sprints in them and long balls/poor shape leave you vulnerable because of the large gaps left on the field.  It took some work to get everybody reorganized, but they did and that calmed things down.

On a wonderful penetrating pass, our left midfielder got behind the defenders and scored to make the score 2-1.  Flamborough had 2 glorious chances on crosses, allowed by poor 1v1 defending on the wings.  With about 10 minutes left, we scored an insurance goal off a footrace for a stray ball.

We escaped the match with no injuries and only 1 caution for dissent.  With the physical play, lack of a firm whistle and the field conditions, that makes me happy.  And I am proud of the boys for sticking to their jobs.

Final score 3-1.

Notes from the game:

  • The last 4 goals allowed have all been off 1v1 with keeper.  The pass is always coming from a free player in front of the central defenders so we will work on one pressuring the ball and the other supporting.
  • Better understanding of shape.  We still haven’t had a full team practice to work on that.
  • More organization on restarts, putting the right players ion the right place.
  • Three different players scored, 2 for the first time in a LONG time.

No comments: