Good Afternoon's Work
By Daniel Halstead
Windy conditions overcome in victory
After a better performance last week, we were keen to keep up the improvement into our next game at home against Longwell Green. And for the first time in a while, we were able to name a completely unchanged team from the previous week.
Conditions were a little tricky with high winds whistling across the pitch even affecting parts of the regular warm up. We started the first half with what felt like the wind behind us, but it was affecting the way both teams were trying to play. A number of our corners from the right struggled to find their mark either getting caught in the wind. We made life difficult at times by putting the ball in the air, where our better play came when we got the ball under control and started short sharp passing. It took around 25 minutes, but we created a chance following a quick throw by Dex on the rights hand side that found James. He moved away from his man and slid a perfect ball to Joel whose shot was straight at the Longwell Green keeper. When our opener came it was a far scrappier affair. Cody took a corner on the right which came back out wide to him. His second ball was better and caused problems, Harvey won a header and steered it towards the goal where it dropped a yard or two out and Joel stepped in to bundle it over the line. At 1-0 we looked comfortable with the defence doing an excellent job in protecting Toby whose kicking was on point for the whole game. Mike and Harry are proving to be a good central partnership letting little past them. Dex continues to be reliable down the right with a lot of energy and Max is rrapidly making the left back slot his own with another good performance. Olly is settling in at defensive midfield forming a good screen and moving the ball on efficiently. James and Kyran were dictating the pace in the middle and Joel, Cody and Harvey looked a threat with more to come in the second half.
We brought Josh on for Dex at half time and looked to capitalise on our advantage. A quick counter attack saw Kyran release Harvey whose pace got him clear to get our second with a good low shot to the corner. We started to look more controlled in possession now, but kept alert at the back. Some good defending actually led to our third goal with Harry stepping on of defence to send a lofted ball beyond the Longwell defence and Harvey had the presence to lift the ball over the onrushing keeper to extend our lead. We sent Dex back on with Josh moving out to the left and Joel dropping to the anchor role. Josh had shown some good footwork at right back and was encouraged to do the same further downfield. Cody rounded the keeper later in the half, but his shot ran past the wrong side of the post. We got our fourth when Cody sent Harvey clear again and he completed another hat-trick – his fifth of the season! – with a composed finish. He then found time to break down the right and set up Cody, but unfortunately he could only stretch to turn it over. He had to come off just after that with cramp and Olly was sent on for the final few minutes in the number 9 role. Harvey repeated the trick down the right and centred again where Olly was there to turn the ball home with his first touch back on the pitch and to seal or 5-0 win. Even more pleasing was a clean sheet well earned by Toby and all of the defence.
Man of the Match: Harry Selwyn – Pivotal in keeping a clean sheet with a corner clearance, composed throughout and also grabbed an assist with a well crafted through ball for one of Harvey’s goals.