Match reports – Mini Soccer U7-U10 – Latest

10/02/2019 – Leigh Ramblers Leopards vs Leigh Ramblers Lions

Team: Daniel, Liam, William, Georgie, Henley, Bobbie, Charlie, Archie, Callum

My first game in sole charge (with my beautiful assistant Mr Jackson of course) of the team for some time and another game that seemed to split opinions!

My opinion straight after the game was that the boys played the better football with some nice phases of play, the problem was that the phases of play were not consistent enough and either failed to materialise into efforts on goal or if we did get a shot on goal it failed to trouble their goalkeeper. That said they do have a good goalkeeper that is both strong at shop stopping and also quick and brave off his line. These development points are no surprise to Mark or I and Mark has already stated in the previous match report that we plan to reduce the focus on tactical issues and the strengths of the opposition and just ask the boys to play to their strengths, express themselves without the worry of making a mistakes and most importantly to enjoy themselves. I still think this is the correct approach for the near future at least but need to also explain to the boys that although we want them to try things we are also looking for them to make the right decisions and continue to put in 100% effort in both directions.

We also received feedback from the referee post-match who thought that we were the better footballing team with the better players but simply got out muscled…..comments I agreed to. The opposition Manager even took the time to message Mark after the game to state that he loves the way we try and play football and look to pass our way out of trouble and in to goal scoring opportunities.

Enough with the opinions and feedback and on with the game.

We play the Lions regularly at training and although they play nice passing football at training we know that they often revert to playing narrow, long balls and physical strength in a match. That said the game started with their kick off and some nice passes by the Lions until Praise was knocked to the floor by a fair ‘welcome to the game’ tackle from Nails! We enjoyed at least 4 good phases of play with at least 4 passes exchanged but were struggling to create chances until Bobby put Georgie through only for him to be quickly closed down and the chance was gone. It was a tight first half with few opportunities at either end from open play with our boys putting in some great blocks and our final ball just eluding us at the other end. From one of the many long clearances from the Lions keeper Bobby showed good control resulting in the ball sitting up nicely for Bobby to volley at goal…..unfortunately the shot went wide but a good effort. We were awarded an indirect free kick due to a back pass but Jacko quickly advised the ref to give the ball to their keeper and treat that as a warning. It was a game of numerous corners and after a good delivery from Callum that sailed past everyone it was well recovered by Bobby who played a neat triangle with Henley before swinging in a very dangerous cross that yet again went begging. Nearing the end of the half Praise managed to finally get a yard of space and made us pay with a fine strike in to the top corner that Danny had no chance of saving. We finished the half with another good opportunity with the same pairing of Bobby feeding the ball nicely in to the path of Georgie, this time Georgie got away from the nearest defender but didn’t make great contact on his strike and their goalie collected easily.

We started the second half a little messy with a number of miss placed passes one of which fell to Praise on the edge of the area, he immediately released a shot that was well saved by Danny. A few minutes later we conceded yet another corner but this one somehow managed to squeeze in at the near post. We were struggling to stamp any authority on the second half until George put in a good solo run taking on 3 players, unfortunately he was a little off balance when he went to shoot and the ball was easily scooped up by the keeper. Then it was the Lions chance again for another shot from distance but this time it bounced awkwardly just in front of Danny and slipped in to the net. We immediately responded with an attack of our own but their keeper was quick to react and dived at Bobbys feet to prevent a shot. By this stage we had finally started to find a few passes and some space and this resulted in a quick through to George who turned and shot but the keeper saved. From this the Lions quickly counter attacked and forced another good save from Danny. We then put together our best phase of play in the second half with 4 good passes down the right from Cal to Henley, on to George and then to Bobby who tried to put Will in but pushed his pass a little too close to the goalie that was again quick off his line. We then had another quick throw that this time found Henley advanced and in space but his connection wasn’t as he wanted and the ball sailed wide. After yet another Lions corner we attacked quickly with Bobby again being the provider with a pass to Will who picked up the ball on the half way line and drove at the Lions goal but again the Lions keeper came out well and saved with his feet. There was just enough time for one more attack and this time it was Bobbys chance to charge half the length of the pitch with the ball at his feet only for Faith to pull out an amazing last ditch tackle just as Bobby was going to pull the trigger.

Watching the entire game back the Lions had a lot more opportunities than us in a second half that took us over ten minutes to get going. In my attempt to keep the boys warm and interested I probably did too many substitutions in hindsight and this may have caused the slow start to the second half and definitely had a part in the Lions third goal…….not just the boys that are learning out there.

Danny – Very little to do in the first half apart from their first goal that was well struck and in the top corner so you had very little chance of stopping that. Pulled off 2/3 good saves in the second half and distribution was good throughout.

DEVELOPMENT – Try and stay involved in the game even when the ball is at the other end, you have the best view of the pitch so should be barking out instructions to the team. You will also find that this involvement will help you in other areas such as coming off your line, quicker distribution and hopefully less shots to save as you would have organised the team to defend better.

Liam – Struggled to get in to the game due to the physicality of the opposition and possibly the positions I played him in but showed some nice touches in stages.

DEVELOPMENT – Going to hold back on particular development points as feel the main ask is to continue to integrate in to the team. They may look a little weird but they are a great bunch of boys.

George – A noticeable improvement in his effort to push forward, find good positions and communication but still space for improvement. Again some nice touches at times but need to get more involved in the game in general but in particular from a defensive perspective.

DEVELOPMENT – CONFIDENCE, you are a big strong lad so should be bullying the opposition instead of the other way round. Once you gain in confidence, there has already been a vast improvement, then we can start to identify the more granular development points.

Nails – As always our rock at the back and started the game with a tackle on Praise that actually made me laugh out loud and replay a number of times. In the second half in particular you started to have the confidence to pass the ball around at the back which is something we encourage but need to make sure that the pass is accurate and firm to ensure it makes its desired recipient.

DEVELOPMENT – When bringing the ball out of the defence with a pass or by dribbling try and do this with pace and accuracy as you have the ability to start an attack from the back.

Bobby – One of our few players that stood up to the physicality of our Lions and made sure he caused problems for them all game. Unselfishly played team mates in with well-paced passes in the first half but started to hold on to the ball a little too much in the second half. Had the confidence to control a goal kick and attempt a shot on the buddy from distance that unfortunately sailed wide of the goal but this is exactly what we mean by expressing yourself and trying things.

DEVELOPMENT – When the result isn’t going our way try not to change your play, I know you are trying to help the team but you won’t do this single-handedly at this level

Callum – Hate commenting on my own boy! I thought your positioning and effort was good as always especially when trying to match their physicality. Panicked at times when in possession which is a little out of character and resulted in passes being easily intercepted. Yes I did notice you did a few headers and that is good to see that a long standing development point is being addressed.

DEVELOPMENT – If you look up before you receive the ball then you will know what your options are before receiving the ball and this should enable you to not panic and make the next decision positively whether that is to pass, take a player on or shoot.

Henley – Another player that stood up to the physical battle and often against more than one of the opposition due to how narrow they like to play. Typical nice control and great first touches to get you away from the first player and worked tirelessly for the team.

DEVELOPMENT – Especially in games like this try and release the ball as early as possible as the numerous players surrounding you are taken out of the game with one accurate pass.

Archie – Not the biggest player in the team but loves a tackle and grew in confidence with the ball at his feet as on a few occasions burst through the first line of opposition to give himself more options.

DEVELOPMENT – Try and stay more involved in the game even when the ball isn’t coming your way, this could be movement or simply communication to the players in front of you. Also, once you beat that first line of opposition look for your best option early and if it’s a pass the fire it off quickly.

William – Played in the position you have been requesting but saw little of the ball in the first half, when you did get the ball you immediately looked to stretch your legs but although this is something we are encouraging you to do it needs to be the correct decision. Made some great runs forward and was found in the second half but the goalie came out quickly and smothered it.

DEVELOPMENT – Still look to make the correct decision even though we have told you to express yourself and listen to the advice given to you from the side as we are only trying to help. Remember your defensive responsibilities, this is a previous development point so just a gentle reminder.

Thanks as always for your support and already looking forward to next weekend.

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