Kick off was a little later than our normal kick offs due to 2 mens cup games being played ahead of our fixture. Main pitch was in good condition, noticeably softer from the overnight rains, which caught out a few of our lads who wear moulded boots. No James and Nathan due to injuries, Ben M was away.
Good warm up set with lots of focus from the lads, which included a carry-on from Thursday’s 1-2 combination passing drill. In the brief we talked about being more compact front-to-back, showing for the ball rather than waiting for it, getting forward in numbers on the attack, covering for each other when defending, avoiding 1-on-1 situations across the pitch and not leaving their strikers unmarked in between the lines. We also talked through a simple set piece for the lads to try on the free kicks to mix things up.
As the game kicked off, both teams showed strong possession capabilities, high work rates and good skills on the ball. Finch were setup in 4-3-3, Claygate starting 4-4-2 although they were switching to commit more players forwards at times. Finch gradually got on top in the first half keeping Claygate pinned in their half for long periods of play. Finch also came close with a number of shots from the edge of the box, all just going wide. Lewis C came closest with a run from deep onto a through ball, his shot rebounding off the upright, Jack not able to keep the second chance down. Claygate forced a couple of saves from Jake, one point blank and the other longer range tipped over the cross bar. 0-0 half time.
At half time we talked through a few tweaks to their game: more compact, more keeping the ball on the deck, more looking for the quick free kicks and more releasing the ball quickly. The lads were all fired up, ready to get back on the pitch. The second half started as fast paced as the first, Finch working the ball up the field well. Claygate put the pressure on and forced a couple of mistakes but our lads did well recovering the situation. Jack used his pace to get through on goal from the right but pushed his shot into the side netting of the goal. Jacob was put through and couldn’t keep the shot down, but minutes later was able to pounce on a loose ball in the box firing his shot home through the legs of the keeper. Adam couldn’t quite get control of the ball to burst through on goal when he went up top. Claygate had a spell in the middle of the half where they were chasing hard for the equaliser, but couldn’t hit the target or get around Jake. Claygate couldn’t keep up the intensity to the end which opened up the play for Finch to attack in numbers. Adam was able to play Jacob through into space behind their defence, Jacob calmly scoring his second goal of the game, killing the game off with minutes to go.
2-0 final score.