Ten men ... Two nil
By Bruce French
Colts fight bravely and a tad unlucky
Second weekend of half term and seven missing meant Colts tough day out at Sunbury just got harder with only ten men.
After a poor couple of weeks, Colts really needed to be more disciplined and better organised to get anything out of the match. They'd lost the previous fixture 4-0 and that was with a full squad. So the plan was set ou to try and keep to a fairly restricted setup, not to be overly adventurous but to see if we could defend our position and get through 70 minutes, which would also potentially test fitness levels.
So with instructions ringing in their ears, the boys set about the task. A loss to Sunbury would effectively concede any second place ambitions, so there was quite a lot to play for though that really wasn't a consideration given the situation. It was more important that we did ourselves justice and if we were going to lose, we did it with our heads held high.
The first few minutes were then encouraging. It was great to see players sticking to their positions especially as lack of players had itself caused a reshuffle, which can always cause confusion. Ben was between the sticks and Robbie had a sense of deja vu, playing in a right centre back role - previously having played right back for quite a period of time. That means AlfieJ dropping into midfield with Frank and Matt and Lorenzo playing out wide right.
For the first 25 minutes of the first half, you'd have been hard pressed to work out the teams were uneven. Even when Sunbury took the lead with a wonder strike from 25 yards, which skimmed the bottom of the crossbar, before nesting in the net, it was a little unfair. We'd been pretty good at closing down the space up until that point and whilst inevitably Sunbury were getting chances, the goal scorer probably had to much time, but you couldn't deny him the strike. Ben was a little upset he hadn't got a hand too it, but I think he was being hard on himself. At the other end, Lorenzo and AlfieS were having success down the wings, resulting in the Sunbury CB pretty much sitting in front of his penalty area on occasions.
Maybe the confidence gained from keeping the score down and/or the desire to then get an equalizer did result in a few straying slightly from the plan. So the end of the first half did need for everyone to be reminded to stick to the plan.
Second half was then very similar. Colts primarily kept the game quite tight especially at the start of the second half. As the game wore on, maybe that desire to get the goal back and a little bit of tiredness, meant the game was getting stretched. Sunbury were quite quick to play balls deep into the Colts half and, given the lack of a player, any over commitment in attack resulted in them being taken out of the game and it was down primarily to the defence to hold the line. They mostly were able to do this, except for the Sunbury second when a quick counter attack saw them running into area and blasting a shot straight past Ben for 2-0.
If you were looking to improve then the problems tend to occur when the wide men are too far forward and leave the defence exposed. It's understandably chasing the game, but equally you can always nick a goal back, whereas going 2 down made it hard with just 10 men and no other fresh legs.
So Colts ended up losing out, but in the circumstances the ten on the pitch did themselves and everyone else proud. At no time were they overrun and if we'd managed to keep a little more closely to the script, maybe we could have got a draw. Overall a much improved team effort and we really need to realise as a team that being disciplined will in itself go a long way. Add some of the other basics and anything is possible. Well done all, including parents and spectators, who had to bite their tongues for the duration ... never easy!