MPL – Round three v Western AFC
📸 Credit: Midfieldsport Photography
Mates vs Mates
Last Sunday we played against Western at their home ground. It was the first time I had coached a team on Walter Park so it did feel strange but its great to see the pitch looking healthy and Western have their home back. The bright and shinny Sunday pulled out a big crowd which made it feel like a bigger occasion then normal, that fueled with two rival teams featuring mates vs mates made the environment a bit intense…. and I dont think that suited us with the players we had available.
The game started really well for our boys, we had some brilliant chances to score. Jack hitting the underside of the crossbar and Maccas volley forcing an amazing recovery safe from Westerns Hinton in goal. After the 20 minutes Western started to grow into the game and it become a real tussle. Our squad was very aware of what we were going to be up against. A team thats highly motivated to beat us inparticular and will give it absolutely everything on Set plays and scrappy goals. For the rest of the game I saw a very new and young Coastal team really struggling to win their physical duels. We were not winning 50/50 balls and wernt getting to the ball first. It seemed maybe Western even wanted it more then us which is an embarrassing thing to say and I dont think ive ever really thought that before.
The Goals Came
It was Westerns Cross after being set up for a long throw-in that they managed to score from. Deflections, miskicks and shins resulted in a tap in for Ryan Stanley. 1-0 to Western. After this goal the game was pretty even. The next key moment was when Tristan scored from a Nathan Townsend cutback, Nathan is here visiting from England temporarily. A nice contribution from him. 1-1 at halftime Ive asked the lads to match Westerns enthusiasm and show more confidence in possession to create more opportunities.
We started the 2nd half even better then we started the first half. But sadly didnt score in that 15 minute period. And after this Western started to really come knocking. It was their corners that we were struggling to deal with. But they were playing well to earn themselves a few corners in the first place.
It was from a corner where Western managed to find another tap in. 2-1 to Western. After this we chased the game with no real conviction and couldnt stay onside. It was in the last 15 the game was more open and Western had a couple shots themselves. Scores remained 2-1 to Western. Having so many players away and still having the better opportunities is encouraging however its a big 3 points lost. We have learnt that we need to be better at dealing with physical and more intense games. It was a really good experience for this group to have going into the game next game this weekend when we play against the current champions Cashmere Tech at 2pm this Saturday at English park.
Man of the Match for this game was Tristan Nicol and I also felt Macca had a good game getting through 90 minutes and showed good leadership.