Reserves Update: 4 matches and more!
Fetcham Reserves AWAY 5-2 (1-2 HT)
It was a long journey to Leatherhead from our usual stomping grounds at Motspur Park to where Fetcham Reserves play at their ground. The pitch were quite big but bit heavy. Had a good squad to pick from apart from the captain who got a hamstring injury. Decided to pick the regular players to keep the momentum. We started off well by playing neat football. According to the captain that we played “sexy” football. You better ask him what he mean by that!! We had few chances but did not simply grab the clinical finish. Our centre forward finally scored goal from good football around the team. 1-0
Somehow we let Fetcham Reserves come back to the game by making basic mistakes at the back. It showed that our focus on the game is not good throughout 90 mins. Eventually we let 2 goals in by poor clearance from the defenders. 1-2. At half time, I told the players to keep pressuring on the defenders as I felt they were slow with the ball. The pitch were really heavy and our legs were tiring early.
Later in the second half I decided to come off to put a subtitute who have not played football for a while due injury. The tactic plan seemed working as he made quite few slick passes around. Made other change to put sub to replace left winger as he got injured by tackle. Sub made immediate impact as he scored a goal which meant to be cross! Well a goal is a goal! 2-2. That goal gave us boost morale. We decided to go attacking all the way. It worked as strikers simply kept pressuring and made 3 more goals. 2-5. It was a great game to watch. I was pleased to see us win away game which was positive.
Norton Reserves AWAY 1-4 (1-2 HT)
We played against a team who is the top of the league. Decided to change formation 4-5-1 to tighten the midfield to make defending stronger. We started off well and kept our focus well. We were really under the pressure from their wingers. Our right back made a tackle in penalty area and it led to penalty. Our Goalie failed to save it and he failed first time after saved 3 penalties in previous matches. 0-1
We knew it will be hard game as we made a lot of tackles all the times. Our left winger scored a goal from rebound which their goalie made a save from our striker. 1-1. Norton Reserves kept using the wingers to supply the crosses which it gave us real pressure. Just before half time they scored a goal from the cross when their striker headed the ball in the goal. 1-2
At half time, told the players to stop the crosses from the wingers which gave us real trouble. That was our weakness. At the start of second half we immediately made a lot of attacks to get back in the game. Norton Reserves goalie made a lot of saves from our striker. We could not believe it but we did not give up at all. Made a few changes due injuries. One of the subs almost made impact but the goalkeeper still wonâ€™t let us to score goals! We were getting tired towards the game. They scored 2 goals at the end where we did not defend properly because we were getting tired. 1-4
After the game, one of the Norton Reserves players made a comment to me as he was saying that the game would be draw if it was not for their goalkeeper. It was a positive comment for me to hear about the team and knowing that we gave them a good and hard game.
Trinity A HOME 1-3 (1-1 HT)
We were asked to play at home instead of away because of problem at their home pitch. I had problems with a few players as some of them were carrying injuries. I decided to play the players who carry injuries. So I can replace them later in the game with fit players on sub bench. Trinity A made a good start and made threats at corners. They practically almost score a goal at every set piece. We could not cope with the set pieces. That was the weakness of our team. You can guess that they eventually scored a goal from the corner. 0-1
We could not get in the game properly as we keep losing the plot in the game but we kept going on and tried to be positive to get back in the game. One of the centre midfielder saw the opportunity at the goal where it was about 40 yards away and he did it and scored a beauty goal where goalkeeper failed to reach the ball. 1-1. At half time, I told the players not to give the corners or fouls away as Trinity A will use the set pieces to win the game.
We still were struggling to defend the set pieces and they eventually scored 2 goals from set pieces again 1-3. Our goalkeeper had made amazing saves to keep the score down. Trinity A started to drop back to let us back in the game and we made a few chances to get back in the game but we did not grabbed it well. 1-3. I was pleased to see the team who kept their head up where they were struggling to defend the set pieces and get on with the game.
Old Plymouthians AWAY 4-0 (1-0 HT)
It was a beautiful day in December! I had problems with team selection during the week as some players were not recovering from injuries well. I had to wait till Saturday morning to make a final selection. The players who got injuries and they decided to give it a go as they knew that they will have a rest in Christmas period to recover from the injuries. I arrived at the changing rooms to find out that one of my players were held in prison overnight! I had to shuffle the team again, not a good start to the day!
We started off well by playing confidently. We controlled the game well. Somehow Old Plymouthians A made a counter attack and grabbed the chance to score where I thought it was going to be a goal but our goalkeeper made a good save. I was pleased that goalkeeper was on alert from the start of the game. I thought that the save made all the players realised that they have to work harder to win the game. We started to play football better and passed around. Centre Midfielder scored a long range goal which was a beauty. He got the habit to score long range goals lately, 1-0.
At half time, I told the strikers to work harder and move around to give the opponents uncomfortable time. Told them not to be like subbetto players! We played some untidy football for some reasons but controlled the game well. I was hoping to see us to score more goals before the opponents can equalise. Our goalkeeper still had to make good saves. Our left winger scored a goal from the cross and the goalkeeper could not stop his shot and the ball eventually ended up in the net. 2-0
Made a change to give the subs a game. First sub came on and made a good pass which led our striker beat the offside trap and scored a goal. 3-0. From that goal, I knew we will win the game but was hoping for a clean sheet as the goalkeeper deserve it for Christmas present! Made two more changes for the subs. We were getting better towards the end of the game. We scored a goal where we made one touch passes around and led to a goal where centre midfielder scored a close range goal. 4-0.
The game was over and the players were smiling for 3 points and clean sheet before we break up for Christmas. I was pleased to see us to gain 3 points and clean sheet before Christmas break. Hope the players wonâ€™t eat too many turkeys and mince pies as we got first game on Jan 3rd!
Leo’s overall view of the last 2 months
I think we improved a lot in last 2 months to play like a team. All they need to believe in themselves to play football better. My objectives for second half of the season is to see us to improve the defending and get more clean sheets. There are still a lot to do to improve as we still make basic mistakes where it affects in the game. Also to see more players turn up regularly for trainings as it is important for us to improve as a team. The players need to be more committed to trainings like they do for league games. Hope we can progress well in British Deaf Cup as we play against Leeds DFC on Jan 18th at home.