The game started optimistically in the first minute with Casey pushing a nice ball through to Max which he couldn’t quite reach, then seconds later, Casey launched a blistering shot from the right which just brushed the top of the crossbar. Max finds himself through again the keeper comes out bravely to save at Max’s feet. A quietish spell followed with lots of midfield play but little to show at either end. Colts look like the might be dangerous on the break. The fears were realised when a Colts attacker broke into the area on the right, and with Luis coming out to him, he tapped the ball left to his accomplice, who, faced with a completely open goal, somehow managed to slice it awkwardly wide. Relief for Shinfield but a sign of things to come.
Aidan makes a long run down the left, cuts in nicely then shots straight across the goal, narrowly missing the top right corner. Luke then begins a lovely move from midfield, tapping the ball through to Aidan who puts in along, deep cross. It reaches Casey on the far right who taps it straight back to a waiting Ellis in the middle. Ellis doesn’t hesitate to slam it into the net from relatively short range to put Shinfield in the lead.
Another Luke/Aidan/Ellis move leaves Ellis just sort of the ball in front of goal where the keeper collects it. Colts continue to counter attack and it pays off when a drive down the left is stabbed low and hard at Luis feet where it bounces about and dribbles back over the line for the equaliser. Colts continue to look dangerous and in another lucky escape for Shinfield, Colts yet again get an open goal chance which is sliced wide of the left post.
Half time soon arrives and this game hangs in the balance.
Colts start the second half looking hungrier. They launch the first attack which is only saved by Luis closing them down quickly. Shinfield respond with a lovely long ball from Luke, pushed from our half deep into the Colts half with Casey chasing. Casey gets a nice cross in but it is cleared by Colts. Shinfield have not been playing a tight game today, and failure to close down the opposition quickly results in a Colts attacker having time to take a long-hard shot from long range which beats Luis in the bottom right corner. 2-1 to Colts. Again, Shinfield fail to contain Colts and see another shot swing just wide.
Careless passing and slack defending finally catch us out again as another long shot is part-handled by Luis then defended well by Shinfield, only clearing the ball a few yards out where Colts are waiting to slam it back into the net. At 3-1, Colts are definitely on a high, and Shinfield are looking disorganised. The do get some chances – a free kick awarded to Shinfield on the right side of the box. Luke hits it low, the keeper can’t hold it, Charlie tries to get a shot in but deflected for a corner. At the other end, a long shot from Colts brings out a fabulous diving save from Luis.
In the remaining 10 minutes, Shinfield look a little brighter and create a number of half-chances for Max simply by lobbing the ball from midfield high over the defence. Not elegant, but it offers a slim chance for Shinfield as the goalkeeper is put under pressure. But nothing came of the opportunities, and fate was sealed for Shinfield when a last-ditch corner from Colts was hit very hard into the goalmouth. Luke dipped his head quickly to try and clear it, but it powered off the back of his head into the goal for an own goal sealing a 4-1 victory for Colts.
Shinfield played with spirit today, but they let themselves down by not doing the basics well. Clearances from defence were often weak and lacked direction. Midfield did get some through balls to the forwards but too often gave it away. And up front, there was little evidence of the quick one-two passing that Pete has been trying to practice in training. Rather than look for quick passes, we were too keen to try and take on the opposition, and in the event, losing the ball too often.
So, the boys put in a lot of energy today, but it wasn’t used smartly as often as it needed to be to make the difference. We lacked the desire to close down the opposition quickly, giving them too much space. The one take away from this is that the whole team really needs to put into practice what they learn in training. We know they have lots of skills and capability, but today, they sadly left a lot of it at home and made this a much harder game than it needed to be. The one player who really stuck to his game plan today was Luis, controlling his area well and pulling off some lovely saves.
Chin up boys. Next week let’s see the skills we know you all have.
Photos will be posted by Sun 30Mar: https://www.cherrymoonphotography.co.uk/shinfield2014