Salts away day, always a good day and ever competitive, attractive and fair football.
Yellows, with only two games in as many months, set off with a great desire to impose their passing play upon Salts, wary of the last fixture where Salts scored without us touching the ball. Thankfully, no repeat this time, though the game was very evenly matched throughout.
Some of our play at times was out of the top drawer, with Josh in the centre of midfield thriving in his new role as ‘enforcer’. He was everywhere, crunching into tackles, breaking up play but always with an eye on the right pass; Josh’s greatest strength is that 9 out of 10 times he makes the right decision. Harrie was alongside him, using his skills, pace and range of passing to very good effect. Our two wide men, Finn and Jenson, were running at their full backs and getting crosses in, with Connor and Joey pushing up in support when possible.
Ben and Oliver R took to their rotating striker rolls to good effect and though it never quite came off for them today, both stuck to their principles very well against a solid defence. Ollie A was working hard to repel Salts repeated through balls; not long balls, quality through balls.
Yellows took a deserved lead after some great play down the right leading to Joey flying past his marker and whipping in a dangerous cross that Salt looked to have defended with numbers, until it fell to Jenson who powered it through a crowd (taking a Salts player down on the line) and into the bottom corner. It was no more than we deserved and a sign of things to come; Salts players bravely throwing themselves at everything to keep us out. A great defensive effort by them. They were dropping like flies by the end.
Meanwhile, Charlie had been in imperious form playing much of the game at the edge of own his area cutting out through balls and distributing with great accuracy and efficiency. That he was beaten from 2 yds out by an unmarked defender from a corner was harsh and unfair reflection on his performance. Of course, this much merited and glowing appraisal, has an unfortunate sting in the tail. As the game wore on at 1-1, with Yellows pressing just not quite able get that second/third goal, the life of a goalkeeper was laid bare as a slight error left the nippiest of nippy strikers to nick the ball around him and tap it into an empty net. A mad five minutes followed that effectively ended the match for us as a bobbly wobbly back pass evaded his clearance and a rare Oliver decision-based error put Salts out of sight.
Yellows hit the post, had several goal bound shots hacked off the line during an entertaining second period in which Yellows took control. Harrie upped his work rate to tremendous effect and played as a true box to boxer (keep it at that level Harrie!) Joey had his best game in the Yellow shirt and the rest of the team were also in good form, passing and moving well. Connor slotted back in nicely and showed why we’d missed him recently, his headed clearances were excellent and frequent from Salts’ goal kicks.
The only downside from us today was too many poor decisions when on the ball. Our timing of pass release was inferior to Salts who looked all every bit the ‘Cup Finalists’ they are, on the break. Their incisive (longer) killer passes repeatedly turned our defence around and had we not had a ‘keeper who loves reading these and racing out to intercept, the scoreline could easily have been even more unreflective of our performance.
All in all, a great game played in fantastic spirit. Hard and fair, with no little flair. *Poet*.
Lots of positives. A few things to take back to the training ground. Thoroughly enjoyable sunny football. Who knew that would happen again this season?!
Well played boys. Enjoy your break (no, I don’t really want one either!)