Today saw a return to Crawley Road on our home pitch, 3 months since we last played there, the wind was gusting strongly but warm spring sunshine prevailed overhead.
The game kicked off and the Whirlwinds again were showing a little a bit of nerves, particularly in the last 3rd of the pitch. Colts were on top in terms of possession, mainly because of poor distribution from the back, when the Whirlwinds midfield did get hold of the ball they looked quite threatening stringing some quick passes together and looking a threat on the counter attack.
The amount of possession that the Colts were enjoying was grinding the defence down and individual mistakes were starting to develop, after a couple of warnings, a high ball in to the centre of the box should have been comfortably dealt with by either the keeper, or covering defender but a lack of communication, lead to a panicked clearance straight to an oncoming attacker, shot came in, the keeper made what looked to be a great save but the ball looped up and despite an acrobatic, kung-fu style, hooked attempt of a goal line clearance from Cameron, the ball had crossed the line and a goal was awarded 0-1, it had been coming, but luck certainly isn’t on the Whirlwinds side at the moment. A second goal was quickly conceded, again defensive disorganisation was at the root cause, when a long throw took out the whole defence, and a Colts attacker had clear run at goal and finished with aplomb 0-2, a 3rd goal quick followed again masters of our own downfall when a defender raced out of defence, to leave too much space and no cover behind, which the oncoming attacker warmly welcomed 0-3. Heads were down, distribution from the back gave possession back to our opponents time and time again, and constant pressure was invited upon a defence which was looking more fragile by the minute. A bit of pressure was relieved when a quick exchange of passes in midfield saw Sam A, play a fine through ball which Ajiri latched on to an showed great strength to get past a defender and then skip past the keeper, who caught him in the process, unlike many a premier league player he stayed on his feet composed and finished via a deflection off a goal line covering defender, a life line ! 1-3. An injury brought a defensive reshuffle and whilst still, I think trying to adjust to the reshuffle, the lifeline was thrown away with a fourth goal to the Colts 1-4.
Half time 1-4
Half time team talk, tried to instill some defensive discipline, certainly the midfield weren’t offering enough cover, but it was being compounded by poor distribution and individual errors by the defensive four. Next goal was really important and if we could grab it then we could apply some pressure and try and force a way back in to the game.
For the first 10 minutes Whirlwinds enjoyed a great deal more possession, and looked the more likely team to score, pushing the Colts back, who rarely escaped passed the half way line. One counter attack brought a looping cross from the right, which caught the wind, and evaded the heads of defenders, but caught the attacker square in the face and went in, he didn’t know much about it, and again lady luck deserted the home team 1-5. Straight from the kick off a defender dallied on the ball, and was robbed by an onrushing defender, who skipped past the keeper on scored 1-6. Cameron was injured in the process and a change of goalkeeper was needed, Jack C duly obliged, however it meant more disruption to an already disorganised back line. Next attack saw another goal, well worked this time, probably the only unpreventable goal of the day 1-7. Minutes remained and a rash challenge on the right hand side of the box lead to a free kick from shooting distance, a miss hit cross/shot bounced twice in the box and evaded the stand in keeper 1-8, the referee blew the whistle shortly afterwards, to end another painful display from the Whirlwinds.
Match Summary : Again defensive indiscipline, too many individual errors, poor distribution in our defensive 3rd lead to another humbling score line. Disappointing because we have done so much work in training to try and correct the issues, some is getting across, and we saw evidence of it, but too much is being left on the training pitch, and not brought in to games. It’s tough in the top division, and where possibly individual errors in lower divisions go unpunished, at this level they are pounced on as a weakness, it’s a learning curve for sure, and we need to try and learn a bit quicker than we currently are.
M.O.M : Jack M – Continued to work hard in a few different positions never gave up on anything, in the whole game, we need many more to show this type of resilience