Our first premier league match of the season, the first combination of these particular players, for some their first 11 a side league match: the season was properly about to get underway!
The whole match was a closely fought affair, with the teams relatively evenly matched and possession closely contested. Sevenoaks had some skilful central players who stretched our defence and good, low tackling defenders, who often repulsed our attackers as they tried to dribble through. However, we continued to press their defence and maintained an acceptable ball speed. When we passed the ball out wide and switched the play quickly, and when we tried to pass it round their defenders, we were much more dangerous. Josh T got a good outcome in the D about 10 minutes into the first half - our first short corner.
Having just done our first training session on shorties in the last Friday’s training session, the coach was most delighted when Ben A smacked his shot cleanly into the left hand corner and we were 1-0 up! Sevenoaks didn’t stop, however, and scored a scrappy equaliser within 5 minutes. To our credit, we continued to battle and Henry B scored a nice poachers goal to take us into the half time break 2-1 up.
The second half continued as before, with little to separate the two teams. We were sometimes guilty of leading too far ahead, particularly in the back line, which enabled them to break at us with numbers and space, but our defence scrambled back and Ollie B and Barnaby B both tackled well to keep them out. Ollie B displayed a great piece of skill to get round 2 to 3 players down the side line, with an aerial flic-flac to beat the last man. The coach couldn’t help it, shouting out “sexy hockey”, much to the embarrassment of his son on the pitch and the hilarity of the rest of the team, and the opposing umpire!
However, they managed another attack down the bye line and squeezed an equaliser in at the left hand post. We quickly responded, with a shot from Ollie de G W rebounding agonisingly off the post. But we won another shortie and Ben A again rifled the shot into the goal in the same left hand channel: it must have been an excellent training session! 3-2, around 10 minutes to go.
In the last 5 minutes Sevenoaks placed us under great pressure, winning 3 or 4 short corners and constantly attacking, with their coach constantly exhorting them to attack to our left feet, press hard etc. However, the boys showed great spirit and it was heartening to see how hard they worked for each other, running back fast at each shortie and helping each other out. We can still show more composure when under pressure and try to maintain possession, but the boys excellently closed the game out.
Our first game, our first premier league win: a great start to the season.
Ollie de G W