Playing on a wonderful Astroturf pitch in sunny conditions in February, against a very good and organised Balby Carr team who started with the wind behind them. This caused us plenty of problems which we dealt with as a unit defensively but struggled to get out of our half at times.
due to Balby Carr’s quick high press and reactions to win the ball by closing us down quickly and deny us time on the ball, they created their first opportunity on 11 mins from a long throw into our box which Trey Williams punched out. Only to be picked up by their winger who’s cross-shot was saved again by Trey Williams then Devin Balsz cleared off the line.
That was a warning as the opposition, who played to their strengths, putting the ball in the box early only for Trey Williams to pull off a couple of good saves, firstly diving at the feet of the striker and then diving to the left to save from a 1v1 situation. Balby went deservedly 1-0 up in the 35 min as we struggled to clear the ball due to the swirling the wind.
Then immediately after 40 mins, we went 2-0 down. A very similar mistake as again we couldnt cope with the ball in the air as a miss-kick from Ricky Jackson accidently played in their striker to score. We created a couple of chances from Harvey Lipman assisted by a through ball by Anthony Bynoe on 41 mins. Following that, on 42 mins, we were very unlucky not to score as a whipped cross by Cole Dunham found Kelton Stone unmarked in the box who headed straight at the GK.
Right on the half-time whistle, some good link-up play down the right from Mo Sagli and Sol Griffin found Anthony Bynoe, who was unlucky not to score as he shot just wide.
We made 2 substitutions as the 2nd half resumed with Rafael Castrejon replacing Harvey Lipman and Ezra Bukky replacing Sol Griffin. We started off well and created good passages of play through midfield, with Connor Vivaldi and Rafa Castrejon dictating the play as we pressed to get back in the game.
On 51 mins, we were caught on the counter-attack as a through ball split our defence (possibly 5yds offside, might I add) referee waved played on for their winger to score. We continued to try to get back in the game and 0n 53 mins, a shot from Connor Vivaldi was well saved.
The game flowed end-to-end as both teams competed strongly against each other, though on 55 mins, an individual error by us gave the opposition the ball in our final third who scored again too, unfortunately, make it 4-0. During the last 20 mins, we raised our game and really had a go to get back in the game and were rewarded with a goal back from a close-range header from Matteo Pugliese on 73 mins, crossed by Sol Griffin.
– Coach John Francis