Another day, another football match - only this time it was a cup match.
For our round two match, we travelled to Little Green Junior School over in Croxley Green.
The format switched to 9 a-side and this time the ref was insisting on having offsides. That was a slight issue as I was dressed in 'imposing smart-suited manager' clothes, not 'running the line like a proper athlete' clothes. Live and learn, eh?!
Anyhoo, you're hear to read about the actual football match...
We were in a 3-3-1 formation with clearly defined roles, and had no subs. This was great as all the boys knew that they were going to get to play the whole match; the downside was that if there was a desperate need for some fresh legs, there were none to bring on!
Overall, it was our toughest challenge - both teams were very evenly matched: a mixture of solid no-nonsense performers, some pacy players and some with an abundance of skills (and some with all three).
The first half was close, but the opposition just edged it. They were clearly used to playing offsides and had the tactics to suit. We did an awful lot of running but created very few chances. The positives were that we were solid at the back and matched them physically across the park. Twenty minutes flew by and the half-time whistle came as a bit of a shock.
Personally, I was having to concentrate so much on being a linesman (sorry, referee's assistant) that I had less time to worry about micromanaging our players.
The second half started and, without any changes to our tactics or formation, we immediately took the initiative. We began much stronger and were first to more balls than before. We improved our passing game and soon started carving out chances. Shots led to corners, which led to even more shots. The pressure kept on increasing. Frank found himself in the right place to aim a shot towards the far corner. In what seemed like slow motion, the ball beat the despairing dive of their 'keeper who could only watch as it nestled in the back of the net.
And the rest of the match was a bit of a blur, to he honest. I was in constant fear of their strikers beating our defence, yet we kept on piling on the pressure and barely gave them a sniff on goal. As much as I kept on yelling at Kyle to stay back in defence, he was constantly causing the other team problems of their own. They do say that the best form of defence is attack and that was certainly true today.
Eventually, the referee blew for full-time and we were through to the next round.
We may not have scored a shed load of goals, but that was our most rewarding performance yet. All the boys knew their positions, understood what they had to do and performed to the best of their abilities.
Onwards towards our next game (this Thursday).