So I haven’t really kept up to date with my match reports this season so I’ve decided to do a mini summary of the season so far.
A new adventure for the Under 11’s going into the newly created New Forrest 9 a-side league based at Brockenhurst College, but a wise decision which I’m sure will benefit the boys improvement as players over the next few years.
Over the summer the original squad was nearly halved in size and it was a slow process to build those numbers up but now I’m in the fortunate position to be able to turn people away with a bulging 14-man squad. The down side being the group clearly needed more time to gel by the time the first game of the season had come around.
First game up and we played Brockenhurst. The opposition were a well drilled and a cohesive unit and this told as we succumbed to a 1-4 defeat. Every player individually played exceptionally well but that lack of familiarity and teamwork shone through in our defending and general link play.
Come training we have concentrated on improving passing and moving, teamwork and communication on the pitch. All of this shone through in our second game against Hordle but only in our attacking. An impressive team on the attack but lacking any bite in defence a pulsating game was played out and eventually lost 4-5. Again individually no player let themselves down but as a team poor positioning and teamwork again was our downfall.
The next two games I was unfortunately unavailable to take the team due to work and illness, but my invaluable right-hand-man Paul was able to hold the fort. Fortunately for my place as head coach two heavy defeats to Hythe Wasps, 1-8, and Hythe Strikers, 2-5 followed. The same general theme from the first two games, creative direct attacking but a lack of bite in the tackle in defence. However there were beams of shining light with everyone recognising a gradual improvement in our approach play, and more tactical awareness in defence with some sublime individual defensive performances.
On a cold afternoon at the beginning of winter, on the day the clocks went back but no one turned up at the wrong time, saw us take on Lyimgton. Some players were put into positions they probably were not expecting to or practiced in playing in but they all exceled. For most we looked solid in defence and well organised, but did occasionally lack conviction in the tackle, a reoccurring theme and something we will have to address in training, possibly with some reverse anger management training! The midfield pushed forward and tracked back as a unit and played the ball across the park with some wonderful combinations of passing and moving and direct runs when needed. Upfront we terrorised their defence creating shooting chances almost on every attack. A well deserved 5-3 and first win of the season saw the boys go home ecstatic and a result our fluid passing and sharpness up top deserved. Two of the goals we conceded were due to individual magic from their best player but the last was somewhat disappointing as we had several chances to clear the ball and get our tackles in. However all in all a clear big step in the right direction and signs that the things we are practicing in training are starting to be brought to the matches.
All in all great improvement as individuals and as a team so far this season and if that continues I am confident more and more success will come our way.