Before the game, I asked that you all play with a bit of pride and some fight, no ducking out of challenges, no pulling out of headers and above communicating and supporting your team-mates by providing a follow up tackle, or an option for him to pass..
We started brightly enough, the first 15 minutes of the game saw us find some of the spirit and passion we have been lacking, and as such we matched and even bettered the opposition in all areas, the early action resulted in both sides seeing shots fizzing over the bar. For some reason though, 20 minutes in, we went a little quiet, and TGI came into a good spell of pressure, which The back four dealt with brilliantly, maximum physical effort, great organisation particularly from Tony saw us deal with their attacks, with Colin only having to make one significant save. We regained the initiative again, however shortly before half time, we conceded a silly goal. We did stress the point that we must not get over run in the full back position, and for the most part we organised ourselves very well to cover that eventuality, however Vik fell victim to just such an attack down their left, although despite my criticism at the time, if I had given Vik a little more protection then the goal may have been prevented. To be fair, it was a well taken goal, with a low shot into the far corner leaving Colin with no chance. We also had another scare, however I managed to hook the ball clear with an overhead kick, with Colin beaten all ends up.. still, we got away with it.
At Half time spirits were high, and again we just asked that we keep playing the way we had started, and keep believing in ourselves.
At the start of the half, a little midfield trickery from me, and a flick on to Ray saw him knock the ball on for to charge into the box and clinically slot the ball home to draw us level. At that point I must admit I thought "Thatís it, we are going to wipe the floor with them now", however - straight from the kick off, their central midfielder picked the ball up, and moved forward unchallenged before unleashing a brilliant shot from 25 yards hard and low to Colins right, leaving him with no chance. From then on, we dominated the game, they were limited to long range efforts, as our back four stayed in top gear and performed brilliantly. I substituted Matt for Vik at right back, this was not a tactical change, merely giving Matt a run. Again Matt slotted in to the well oiled machine at the back, and took up where Vik left off with some solid play.
Alex Cade was unlucky not to score a second half hat trick, and I could have pulled us level with a far post header late on from Alexís brilliant cross - back to the training pitch for some finishing practice. Gary K also went close with a scorching volley from 18 yards which they somehow kept out.
One performance of particular note was that of Jon Allerey, Jon absolutely ran his socks off in left midfield, and was a constant threat to TGI, absolutely wrecked havoc down the left.. even if he did leave Ryan a little exposed at times. Another player unlucky not to find the net.
The second half ended with us losing 1-2 however some the entire team played in exactly the way I wanted us to, with commitment and fight. Our finishing let us down, as I said, between Alex, myself, Ray and Gary, we could have easily scored 6 or 7, another day perhaps?
We are a long way from the finished article, but yesterday was a giant step forward for us as a team.