Today, the U11 Boys White team played their first game of the season. The result was a 2-2 tie against the same Hays team that beat us both times in the fall.
As the result shows, the boys have improved a lot from last season.
It was a game of two halves. We played very well in the first half moving the ball around and making a lot of attacks on the other teams goal. Hank had a really strong game at forward and put on a dazzling display of his footwork. On the defensive side, I thought that Ian was exceptionally strong at left fullback. We scored both of our goals in the first half and both were from penalty kicks when our players were tripped in the box. Hank stepped up and calmly put the ball low and hard to the left side. When we were awarded the second penalty later in the half, Normie stepped up and followed Hank’s example but this time, beat the goalkeeper on his other side.
The second half started with us defending a two goal lead but the other team put us under a lot of pressure and were awarded with two goals to even the game. From that point on, the game was backwards and forwards and we were not so overrun as we had been in the first 15 minutes of the second half. Hank was continuing his display of his dribbling skills and the other players stepped up and raised their game level accordingly. We had several breakaways but could not find the net. At the other end, Normie who I switched to sweeper, played a heroic game with some very well time clearances. Hank had one glorious opportunity to win the game for the Rangers but put his final shot over the top.
Jack was just coming off an illness and didn’t feel well while he was playing. He did a good job and made some nice saves. He didn’t have any chance with the goals that were scored against him
We set up in our normal 3-2-2 but I wanted the two front players to play one in front of the other and not side by side in an effort to keep us linked to the mid field. It only partly worked (better in first half than second) and is something we need to work on.
We had some marking/positional lapses and need to work on those. It is more a question of being disciplined rather than lack of skill or knowledge.
In the first half, we did a good job of our mid field players dominating the center of the pitch. We lost that in the second half and they had more players there than we did. Again, something we need to work on. It’s a question of everyone understanding what their roles are and how to play that position.
We defended too deep in the second half and gave the other team too much of our side of the field to play in. We need to hold a higher line with our back three to counteract this. We did very well in the first half and much better in the second part of the second half.
I thought that everyone played well. We even had Dante out there for long periods of the game and he showed some good stuff. His lack of game experience showed a little and he will get better the more he plays. Hank, for all of his dribbling, needs to pass the ball more after he has created the opening. I saw some first time clearances not only off the ground but out of the air which was impressive by several players. We passed the ball around much more than we have ever done before. Some passes were not good but the intent was there.
The team is beginning to come together as these young players are learning how to play the game. Individually, they are growing and are no longer the kick anywhere, bunch around the ball and get in each others way group that we started with. We more than deserved the tie and with a bit of luck, could have won.
I hope my next report shows that we are continuing to improve.