MPL Round 1 Thriller in Selwyn
^Image courtesy of Mainland Football
The Premier Mens team got off to an exciting start on the weekend with a 7 goal thriller against newly promoted Selwyn United FC. Read Ekow’s Report below…
Well, what an amazing game to be a part of. I’m sure everybody that was there would agree. We have been doing a lot of psychological work with the boys this preseason, focussing on being able to better handle the pressure when things are not going our way, keeping trust in your teammates, making the right decisions and sticking to the plan. In this game that’s exactly what happened and I’m ecstatic to see that outcome really.
Going into this Selwyn game we knew it would be one of our toughest games of the season. With four debutants in the squad and the atmosphere of 400 or so spectators, playing against a team that’s electrified by having just been promoted, was always going to be tough.
The first 20 minutes was slow, we got our defending tactics a little wrong and it took too long for us to adjust. Once we started to get a rhythm, unfortunately, we had to make a sudden change with Tom being injured, which meant 15-year-old Sam Richards was to come on to make his senior debut. Sam was terrific. We had two amazing chances to score and kept them to a couple half chances and a few last-ditch tackles we had to make. However, it was their soft penalty in which they scored that meant they were 1-0 up at halftime.
All I wanted was to get into the changing rooms and regroup ASAP, there we had some brilliant discussions. It’s great to see players having the confidence to talk about what they are seeing. After 3 years being here my terminology is widely understood among the group, so we took to the pitch with a great collective understanding of what we had to do.
Second half we looked like a different outfit. We were aggressive, relentless, direct when we needed to be and composed when we needed to be. The goals started coming in. It was frustrating to see us lose concentration straight after we either scored or had a huge chance as that was when Selwyn capitalised to score two goals on the counter.
I think to change our shape to press even more aggressively and taking Zac off for Matt was a pivotal moment in the game. Being able to play two different formations comfortably, meant Selwyn had new problems to deal with and thankfully for us they weren’t quite able to adjust.
Even after having a poor first half, Macca was clearly the hero of the day scoring 3 goals very clinically. Macca has literally played every outfield position for me at this club and to have him adapt so quickly in a #9 role has been a savior for us. Although scoring a hat-trick today, Macca has scored 7 goals in his last 3 games and is looking very clinical.
Another player that deserves mentioning is the big man that scored the equaliser. Dom’s goal was a class header but it was the 5 headers he won in a row before that goal that impressed me the most. When you have a CB winning absolutely everything for 35 minutes straight, players around him are also going to up their game. A huge welcome to the club to you Dominic Mcgarr and what an entrance you have made.
The midfield 3 of Avery, Rhys and Liam were all also brilliant in that second half, three absolute workhorses in there.
Although man of the match should go to the hat-trick hero Macca, when put on the spot in the after match I said Connor Lidstone. This was because he had a spotless game. I think it was him that nullified Selwyn’s biggest threats and it was his cover that really allowed Dom and Zac to do what they do best. The trust we have in that back 3 really allowed us to dominate that second half.
Another special mention to Sam Richards debut and also young Jack Mitchell. Jack’s pressing and presence may have gone a little unnoticed, but at that stage of the game I know the other players appreciated the work rate and intelligence of Jack when he took the field. Exactly what we needed at the time.
Obviously, we don’t expect that kind of support from you guys every week. To have a turn out of 40-50 supporters cheering us on was simply amazing. However, I’m sure everybody that was there will also want to see us play at
Garrick Park against Cashmere Tech, this Saturday at 2:45pm. English Park against Cashmere Tech this Saturday at 4pm, directly after the Womens game also against Cashmere Tech.
Lets do it all over again.