After a very positive performance and result versus Bradford RIASA, a much more buoyant mood was felt in the dressing room this evening, an air of anticipation began to grow in the build-up to kick off.
RIASA A started the game quite brightly, moving the ball well and in a composed manner. But an individual error led to a sloppy goal to find ourselves 1-0 down very early in the game, concentration and decision making was poor. Stalybridge taking advantage of a simple opportunity.
Nervous tension ensued, a difficult following ten minutes culminated in another goal for the opposition, again poor decision making led to this.
As is a running theme with this team, we do not start playing until we give ourselves a mountain to climb, this evening was no different, individuals began to get closer to the opposing player, Tyler Welch began to cause real problems down our left-hand side with his pace and direct approach. Elijah Bartlett Springer imposed himself on both teams with his captain’s role, Nebil Berhanu was playing with a very high intensity, throwing his body into every challenge being successful in most.
Chances came and went to no avail, but Stalybridge now were in a real game with A’s possession mostly in the opposing half for the remainder of the half, a breakthrough would have been a great confidence boost, but having knocked at the door on numerous occasions, we just could not capitalize on our good chances.
Honestly, we deserved to get at least one back before halftime, it did not come.
A few changes at the interval brought a bit more steel to us, Shane King being the standout influence once brought into the midfield role, a top performance from him, full of passion and determination, he was like a man possessed.
The game swung one way then the other early in the second half with both teams having chances, the best coming to us through Tyler Welch, decision making and composure let us down in the final third. Having looked like we would get back into this game in every attack we made, the inevitable happened again, the runner was not tracked who crossed
to find an unmarked striker, who scored with a free header in the middle of the goal.
Disappointment, deflation and frustration as we had Stalybridge on the ropes in the lead up to their third. Again, and as normal a positive reaction ensued, this time getting our reward for some aggressive work from King and Lipman found Berhanu in space thirty yards out, he saw the keeper off his line and sublimely chipped him to get us back in the tie.
“Come on, we can win this.”
Tyler Welch was now controlling all of our attacks destroying Stalybridge’s full back and central defender. Having found himself in great attacking positions in the box, decision making and team ethic, unfortunately, did not allow us to be fortuitous. Stalybridge was struggling at this point to deal with our pace, pressing, aggression and tempo.
If we had scored the next goal, we would have got something from the game.
Our Achilles heel struck again. Indecision in our box from a simple cross was not dealt with. 4-1.
The game became very flat from here on in, I felt for them all as we had worked so hard to get back into the game and overpower an experienced team. The result really was not a reflection on the game.
Looking back over the 90 minutes, we showed in spells how good we can be, but also the areas we know we need to improve as we progress into next season. Patience and focus are needed at this time because we are so close to dominating teams, thus getting our reward in games. The future for this group looks really bright.
We are a young, inexperienced group who have improved and developed at such a rapid rate, it has surprised most outsiders when watching. This is a great learning tool for future games in English football, adapting and educating is an ongoing process, we will get there. I’m 100% certain of that.
Stick together and stride forward in a confident manner as a group. We are one big family.
I will not stop until I have developed each player further than ever expected, it’s what I do.
– Head academy coach, Rob Jones