The Lions celebrated Halloween this weekend by unleashing some ‘screamers’ on their unsuspecting opposition, scoring several long range goals over the course of both games.
The team showed excellent individual skills and teamwork in both games today, dominating both games in the process. We didn’t get the result our play deserved in the first match, though the majority of the game took place in the opposition half and creating plenty of chances, with Lewis Seedhouse agonisingly hitting the post with a header in the first half (£10 from the manager to any player who scores a header – new team rule) and the opposition goalkeeper being forced into several good saves.
Our pressure began to tell in the second half, Alex Haywood continuing his recent excellent goalscoring form, coolly slotting in from close range and adding a second soon after with a powerful shot that went in via the post and gave the keeper no chance.
The boys didn’t let any disappointment from the first game effect their performance in the second game, which is testament to their collective mental strength even at such a young age. Again, the team were excellent to a man, putting into practice everything we go through in training, getting their heads up when they receive the ball and making good decisions regarding passing the ball or taking on the opposition depending on the situation.
On Saturday, we worked on passing under pressure and playing the ball between defenders to take them out of the game and this was evident today as the team played several good through balls, splitting the opposition defence and creating goal scoring opportunities.
In the first half of the second game, we were simply irresistable, peppering the opposition goal with shots and working as a team to win the ball back quickly and effectively before launching another attack. We took the lead through a good goal from Joshua Hodson, beating a defender with skill before side footing the ball around the keeper. It was an excellent goal but his second was even better, picking up the ball on the right hand side, roulette spinning a defender to create space in the middle of the pitch and placing the ball into the corner of the goal with a cool, technically excellent finish.
The goals kept flowing as Player of the Day Lewis ‘Loopy’ Titley got the reward that his recent efforts deserved. Loopy is an excellent defender but he has really been working on the offensive side of his game recently and he has absolutely no problems in bringing the ball out of defence and looking for long, accurate passes to team mates or creating opportunities for himself. Today, he did exactly that, bringing the ball forward out of our half and thumping a long range rocket into the net. There was still time in the first half for Joshua to complete his hat-trick, turning sharply on the ball to create space before curling in an effort from outside the penalty area that beat the keeper at his near post and capped it off with a very gymnastic ‘forward rolling dab’ celebration.
It’s not just about the goalscorers though, every player today was excellent. Fraser Hinds was excellent in defence with some well-timed tackles to break up opposition counter attacks and he’s really improved at taking players on recently which shows how confident and comfortable on the ball he has become.
Ben Spooner was comfortable on the ball as always, distributing it well and showing his improvements in shielding the ball and holding off much larger players, he was also unlucky not to score, a shot of his being blocked by a defender who fell over into his path.
Oliver Donoghue has always been a menace in attack but he has recently shown big improvements in the defensive side of his game, showing more willingness to track back and help out on defence and also winning the ball higher up the pitch to create goalscoring opportunities for both himself and his team mates. He also made an excellent save today when it was his turn in goal, rushing off his line to block a shot when the opposition were clean through on goal.
Joe Iannarilli is another player who has improved the defensive side of his game recently, he’s much more willing to get ‘stuck in’ to win the ball and has become much more aggressive in his closing down of the opposition. Joe was another player today who was unlucky to not get a goal, his all around play was excellent in holding up the ball and finding team mates with passes and he was composed and assured in goal, dealing comfortably with several bouncing long balls.
Jack Weaver is constantly improving every week and showed that today with some excellent passing and dribbling. Jack has really taken to using shielding to protect the ball and he has become an extremely difficult player to get the ball away from. He always gives 100% effort when he is on the pitch and will run himself into the ground on his quest to get the ball back for his team.
Last but not least, Lewis Seedhouse was his usual combative self, never slowing down for a second and constantly harassing the opposition into making mistakes or using his strength to win the ball fairly. Lewis is calm under pressure and showed a good range of passing today and was also unlucky to score, hitting the post with a header and on another occasion, just not being able to get the ball from under his feet during a goalmouth scramble.
As always, massive thanks to the parents, grandparents and siblings today for their support and encouragement from pitchside and a big thank you to Ross and Stuart for their work with the team every weekend.
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