Reserves’ autumn roundup
Round up of the last six games by Leo Mansell
It was a mixed month for Fulham Deaf Reserves as we had a good start in Oct as we drew with Fetcham Reserves then lose to opponents for 3 games in a row at end of October which was mind-boggling as I thought we were getting better. So I have decided to make a few changes in the team and it worked as we have gained 4 points from last 3 games which is very positive. I hope we will continue with the good form for the next couple of matches.
For the first time in this season, I have kept the same team for last 2 games which was good as we need consistency throughout the matches. Hope we will keep it up like that. For the next few games in this month I am aiming to see our team to improve our position in the league and to score more goals in the league! Also to see the players to improve their fitness as we were always getting tired towards end of the matches as we always let goals at the end of the matches. Also I would like to see the players to come to training more regularly.
11th Oct v Alexander Forbes 1-6 (league)
It was the game that I want to forget! As the players were sleeping for no reasons and we were already down by 3 goals in first 15 minutes! The defence was relying on offside positions where it went wrong. The team did not gel together well. The referee was bit unfair to us as the opponents had a penalty and our goalkeeper saved it but it was retaken because one of our players had enter the box before the kick was taken. So the goalkeeper did not save it this time. We had a similar incident for us but the referee did not decide it was appropriate to award the team a penalty. Our centre forward scored a goal from outside the box which was a beautiful goal.
18th Oct v Croydon Greenside U23 2-7 (cup)
We were playing against a very young team which they are quite fit compared to our team but I believe that we gave them a good game despite the result. They simply got better finishing than us. We did not give up till the final whistle. I think our players realised that they need to be more physical in the game to win balls from the opponents. I was pleased to see the players gave themselves 100 per cent in the game. Our captain scored his first goal of the season and he was a happy man! We scored the second goal by keep pressuring on the opposing defence where they lost it and our centre midfield man grabbed the chance and put it away. Our goalkeeper played well and kept himself focused throughout the game despite the score.
25th Oct v Woodmansterne Hyde A 0-4 (league)
We had no qualified referee for this game so the opponents provided the referee which we were not happy as he was bit biased for the home team throughout the game. We had some chances to score goals but the luck was not on our side. Our centre defender was playing in centre forward position because we were thin on forward positions but he played well. He hit the cross bar with header where the crossing was made from the right winger. Their goals were rather down to our bad organised defence where we need to improve on that area. Our regular goalkeeper had to play on left midfield because we had some absentees and injuries in the squad.
1st Nov v Park Boys 1-1 (league)
I decided to make some few changes with positions and some tactical ones. The weather was bitterly cold! Again we had no qualified referee so we had our coach to be referee for the match. In first half we controlled the game and had some chances to score goals. We kept pressuring at the defence all the times. In second half we kept on pounding forward to find a goal. There were some good crosses from the midfielders but the forwards were not reading the game well, in order to capitalise on the crosses. One of our centre midfielders decided to be “David Bentley” for a moment and scored superb goal like Bentley did against Arsenal which could be the goal of the season. We were hoping to score a second goal but could not clinch the finishing touch. The defence made a bad clearance which led to the opponent’s equalising goal. I was pleased with the team performance as we kept focusing and stuck to the game plan throughout the game.
8th Nov v Croydon Greenside B 3-2 (league)
For the first time that we kept the same team from last game which was positive for me. The match was touch and go as some part of the pitch was waterlogged. Our groundman and players made efforts to ensure that the game to go ahead.
In first half it was hard to play on the pitch as some part of the pitch were bit waterlogged. Our left winger had a go at the goal and hit the crossbar which would have been a good goal. I would say the game were even. In second half I told the players to play on the outside where there are dry parts. Centre Midfielder made a good cross for the forward to pick the ball up and put it away easily. 1-0.
We kept pressuring to get second goal and we did get the second goal. Forward scored outside the box where he picked the ball from long pass and simply scored at the goal. Opponents were starting to get annoying. One of the opponents decided to kick one of our midfielders for no reason and he retaliates back. Referee decided to send him off but did not send the opponent off at all which was rather wrong. From that free kick, the referee did not even blow the whistle and opponents decided to play the ball which lead their first goal. 2-1. the players started to lose their focus on the game.
We made a soft foul outside the box. Referee awarded free kick and they scored a goal from direct free kick. 2-2. the players were determined not to let themselves down and kept going on to win the game as they believed that they could win the game. About three minutes to go, one of the centre midfield saw the opportunity to score at the goal from the edge of the box and he did manage to score. 3-2. we kept our lead to the final whistle! First win of the season. The players put themselves proud as they fought back to win the game.
15th Nov v Tadworth Reserves 2-3 (league)
It was a lovely day in November compared to last two games. The team selection gave the Manager a headache prior to the match as our regular goalkeeper decided to play basketball in Germany! (wrong ball game) Decided to put our regular right back in goalkeeping position as I have seen him playing in that position.
We started well against a well organised team. It was a pretty even game. We kept cancelling each other at each end. Our captain had made a rash movement which he let the opponents right winger to escape from him and made cross low ball to their centre forward who put it away easily. 0-1 But we still kept going on to find an equaliser to bring ourselves back into the game. Our centre forward made a mazy run with ball and pass to the player-manager who simply misses open goal!!
At the half time interval, the Manager told the players to keep their heads up and keep pressuring on their defence as thier defence were bit slow. About 15 mins later the manager came off for a substitute that had got more pace so it might change the game. But somehow Tadworth Reserves scored quick 2 goals which was really unexpected. The manager then made more changes with two wingers and changed formation from 4-4-2 to 4-3-3 as I felt we have nothing to lose the game.
The substitute made a lovely lob pass to centre forward and he immediately grab the chance and lob over the goalkeeper and scored. 1-3. The players started to play better and decided to fight back to win the game. But one of the substitute was carried off from bad tackle. We played with ten players in last ten minutes. Another substitute managed to score a goal from handful of passes. 2-3. But it was too late as final whistle had blown. I was really pleased with all players who gave it all. Also I was pleased with substitutes who came on and made big change in the game. It show that the substitutes on the sidelines are quite important to the team as a whole.
And to cap off the report, for those in the know, can you mention who’s missing in the team photo of the Reserves at training on Tuesday, and bonus points go to those that can name them all, and to spot something different about the photo (3 items have been modified… Spot them all!). Answers on a postcard! A new Reserves team photo will be taken soon, to include the missing ones.