During pre-season we highlighted the need to eradicate our current pattern of not getting started and taking 25 minutes to work our way into games, one thing we got away with during the pre-season games! Unfortunately the pattern continued and inside the first twenty five minutes we were one nil down. The goal coming from a foul on the edge of the box which was converted by Horncastle on 24 minutes. At this stage our shape was a little all over the place. This was compounded by the opposition being more physical than our young side.
Credit to the lads though they dug in and and started to find the shape and playing style we had been working on. The increased confidence resulted in the team starting to play the free flowing, high press football we desire, which was very pleasing on the eye, especially taking into consideration the difficult playing conditions.
The increased confidence resulted in Ryan Hollingsworth confidently striking past the keeper on 41 minutes (making the half time team talk much easier!). Half time we got across to lads they just had to continue to play with the confidence they demonstrated in the last minutes and maintain the high press shape; if they did that, we said we were very confident they would go on to win the game!
What can we say about the second half? We were very much improved, our shape and high press worked the way we wanted it to do. Our back four, marshalled by Wainwright and Taylor started to do the basics well with full backs (Garner and Perrriea) playing high. Our shape in the middle of the park was a lot better, our wingers (Petit and Edwards) pushed on high and were unplayable at times.
The main thing however, was we got the ball on the deck and started trusting each other on the ball. When we play like that you can see what a top young side we are. We need to build on that second half performance. We know what we are capable of and we need to be bang at it from the start not 25 minutes in.
All in all a good start, a young side with an average age of 20 including two 17 year old debutants, the future is bright! All the best to Horncastle for the rest of the season.
1-0 Horncastle on 24 mins
1-1 Ryan Hollingsworth on 41 mins
1-2 Tom Williams on 52 mins
1-3 Will Taylor 66 mins