MPL – Selwyn on Anzac Day

On Anzac day we had our first home game at Cuthberts Green where we played Selwyn.

Both teams desperate for points for different reasons and the game showed this.

After the Nomads loss we were not quite satisfied with our performances out wide and our midfield. The stats showed that Nomads dominated our midfield which really surprised me.

After going a goal up through another from Dom the Dominator we were hoping it was going to be a comfortable day but that wasnt to be. We really struggled to play out today. Im unsure if it was the pitch or if it was me putting pressure on a couple individuals saying I EXPECT confidence to play out.

Not only were we struggling to play out but we at times were not doing what was asked. The players were well aware of the threats Selwyn have on the wings and we didnt deal with it. Our backline wasnt dropping of to decrease the space in behind us and we wernt showing direction how we wanted nor did we get many 2v1’s on Dan Ede. And we paid for it. Initially it was us letting Aidan get behind us to set up a Selwyn equalizer and then maybe 3 times James has had to save 1 on 1s.

After their equalizer our talisman and captain Macca replied instantly with a beautiful finish which I think was one of the only good things he did in that half. It was a very important goal.

Going into halftime 2-1 it was clear some things had to change. It was not a good performance thus far. I think in the 2nd half we showed a bit more stability. Although James was still busy we were also continuing to create opportunities. Doms 2nd goal came around the 55th minute and surely now it was cruise control at 3-1.

Everything was starting to look comfortable until Haris was shown a 2nd yellow card after only being on the pitch for 8 minutes. It was an incredibly soft sending off and I really feel sorry for Haris knowing that he will then miss the Tech game this weekend.

With 10 min we then conceded a penalty with 15 minutes to go. Thankfully for us, James also saved the penalty to keep the score at 3-1. It was after this point where the team showed what was most pleasing. With 10 men we kept the ball and managed the game superbly. To retain the ball with 10 men to win the game 3-1 was a great end to a poor performance.

Although a poor performance overall, maybe even our worst, there were a couple standouts. Obviously Dom scoring two goals puts him in the running for player of the day. But really it was James that I felt won us that game. It was nice to see Matt get through 90 minutes. Although he still isnt quite right his mentality and patience has been amazing. JJ put in a gutsy effort but we still havnt seen what I know he can give us yet. The big difference for me was Tristan in the midfield. Its taken him a few weeks to get sharp having not been with us pre season. But to see him play well in the midfield is a huge relief. We dont need him at CB with Zac, Dom, Connor, Liam so it great to see him play well in the position he loves.

It was nice to score 3 goals but scoring is still our issue. Although great to see, we cant rely on Set plays to score our bulk of goals. We went to a 4-3-3 to create more and get more from our wingers which I feel is where we have struggled. If we dont get more from our wide players soon then we will need to change things up because the South island league is now only 5 or so weeks away.

Getting the 3 points we now turn our attention to the big game this Saturday against Tech. If we can beat them then it makes up for the Nomads loss and keeps our title hopes alive.