Early Xmas Present
Colts look better going into 2017
After a bad run of games against some good teams whilst also not being at our best, Colts had one last game going into the Xmas break to sort themselves out. With AlfieS, Ted and Lorenzo available but JoshT and AlfieJ missing, we needed a rejig. The question was would it work?
In short the answer was yes as Colts regained some form and carried off the points. That didn't tell quite the whole story. Definitely the tempo was better and the initial play was very positive as Ashtead were pushed back into their half. Everyone seemed awake for a change and you could see the difference in the play. Ashtead had a bit of pace about them upfront and did pose a risk but the defence stood pretty firm and were able to clear up any problems. In midfield, Matt, Robbie and Josh were looking busy and Ben and Fin upfront were looking lively too.
Arguably the ref missed a penalty appeal on 5 mins when the Ashtead defender appeared to stick out a right arm, but the ref was slightly unsighted and nothing was given. With 11 minutes on the clock, it was no surprise when Colts got the breakthrough. A ball down the left found Fraser in the penalty area and he was able to smash it into the net for 1-0. On 20 minutes, Colts did get a penalty when the same defender as earlier appeared to again stick out an arm but in clear sight of the ref, who was in no doubt and Sam duly got enough on the ball to take it just past the outstretched hand of the goalie. As the half ran down, JoshK was then upended right on the edge of the box, or was it inside? Anyway, the free kick was taken by Josh who placed it just to the left of the upright.
At the other end, some defending was needed. Ashtead had managed to get a few corners and on another occasion had made good progress down the right. Some weaving and good passing play saw them make it right into the 6 yard box but were eventually crowded out by 3 or 4 defenders and Owen. Didn't look pretty and we could defend more efficiently but you couldn't deny it was effective as Colts went in deservedly 2 up at the break.
The start of the second half saw some more changes and it did impact the fluency of the game. Ashtead had clearly come out with more desire and intensity and started to take the game more to Colts, who had to defend valiantly - often in numbers, but at least bodies were being put on the line for the cause, which was good to see.
The first 15 mins of the second half were therefore a little fraught until some further changes with around 25 mins to go and the team settled back down. The midfield was taking control of the game and initiating some good passing play. Robbie managed to wriggle down the right and got a good cross in only for JoshK to head into the goalies arms. Further good play between JoshK, Matthew and AlfieS looked very pleasing on the eye though nothing materialised. But in those moments, you could see the makings of some good football.
On the ugly side, the game was becoming quite open. In part caused by our own ambitions arguably to get on the scoresheet. The effect of this is to leave vast gaps on the pitch and we have to do better at covering the space and not getting carried away with our own aspirations. Formations are set for a reason. Barcelona might play total football and yes it would be great to emulate but that's also on the basis that everyone takes their turn and players are unselfish; so will drop into RB or CB as they see progress being made by their team mates.
However, for all that, the defence was pretty resolute thought Joey had a bit of torrid time with the pace of the right winger, but stuck at his task and with Owen as usual solid between the sticks, Colts were destined to keep a clean sheet for the first time in a few games.
The final goal went Colts on 55 mins. Some great work down the left put in Fraser who put in a good cross. It seemed as if it had evaded everyone but AlfieS turned up at the back post to smash the ball home.
A few weeks off now before we restart in 2017 and a solid way to finish 2016. The overall performance was significantly better than the past few weeks, but there are still a few things to work out. However, we have a basis from which to move forwards. Everyone just needs to remember the required effort that we need to retain else we might end up on the wrong end of the scoreline again.