What a great way to start the new season in the new format 9v9 matches, a 2-4 away win.

I think there was a little nervousness from the start given the new format and formation we are playing but the boys got stuck in from the start and we looked the better team for the first 10 minutes or so. We were playing a good passing game at times with Joe doing particularly well in winning or picking up the ball and passing down our right for Leon and James to run on to. This led to a couple of decent chances for us one of which was when James was put through as was one on one with the goalkeeper but the keeper did really well to spread himself and deny James a goal.

After the first 10 minutes Welland Valley started to show they were a decent team with some skilful players. On two occasions they broke through our defence and our keeper, Tom, had to come off his line and make excellent saves. I am still not sure how he kept one of these attacks out as it looked a certain goal to me with two of their players against Tom. Tom narrowed the angle down and stayed on his feet to make a great save. Text book goalkeeping.

It wasn’t long after that that they took the lead after we had been caught slightly out of position. After this the boys showed excellent character and pushed forward and within a few minutes we had equalised. We had made a good move down the right and stretched their defence which allowed some space on the edge of their penalty area for Joe to get in and when the ball came across from the right wing he had no hesitation in striking it first time high into the net. It was quite fitting that Joe had scored after his excellent early contribution to the teams attacks down the right wing.

The first half finished with the score 1-1. The second half started off fairly even but it wasn’t too long before we took the lead through a good run from Ross who released the ball for James to slot in. Excellent work from both of them.

Robert and Stirling had been doing a good job at the back and trying to get to grips with the offside rule which was helping us to prevent them from attacking. Unfortunately we did get caught in possession in our own penalty area which led to them equalising.

However, we looked like we could go on and score more goals. Liam and Leon were looking lively and James was always looking to get on the end of a cross or through ball. We won a free kick midway inside their half which Stirling took. He played it into the area and Ted got on the end of it with a first time touch to direct it into the net. A quality touch from Ted.

Welland Valley weren’t out of it although we were looking the stronger team as the game went on, but we sealed the victory when a good long range shot from Liam took a slight deflection off one of their defenders to make it 2-4. A great shot Liam.

It was a good performance from all the boys but there is still plenty to work on in training to get them used to this format of football. They all tried their hardest, played fair and helped and encouraged their team mates. Several performances stood out including Joe and Robert particularly in the first half, Tom’s for his saves coming off the line, James and Ted for looking really sharp in attack, Ross for his effort and skill but the man of the match this week went to Stirling. This was for a very disciplined performance in terms of his positioning as well as being very effective in his tackling and subsequent distribution.

Well done to all the boys. Thanks to Nick W for running the line, it is appreciated.

Andy.