Team Sheet : Coby, EthanR, EthanT, Isaac, Lewis, Mason, Oliver, Rui, Sam, Stanley, Thomas, Travis
An odd day, home at Deanery Hill. Overcast but warm and bright.
Oliver, Isaac, Sam, Mason, EthanT, Travis and Lewis got us under way today. Straight from the whistle the Iguanas showed great intent and put into practice the passing they had been honing in training. Fantastic accurate and timely passing saw the team move swiftly into the Minors’ half, EthanT, Travis, Mason and Lewis moving the ball around with intent. An early shot from Lewis ended in the side netting, but it certainly wouldn’t be the last of this half.
The Minors were slow to advance out of their own half, and when they did, Sam was there to protect the back line, connecting with the ball well and taking his time to start the passing moves from the back.
Another sublime set of passes saw Lewis on goal through the middle. A couple of quick touches to get the ball under control and he slammed the ball into the net. A well-deserved.
The Iguanas continued to push. Isaac and Sam strong in defence, giving little way through for the Minors, and then converting possession into attack. Mason had a very strong shot from the right which just went wide of the post. Lewis picked up a quality pass from EthanT and again the final shot went just wide after a slightly loose first touch. Travis got in on the action, shooting from distance and the ball just looping over. On another day, the Iguanas would have been 5 or 6 goals up in the first quarter of the game.
Mason, Travis, Isaac, Sam and EthanT made way for Stanley, Coby, EthanR, Rui and Thomas.
Stanley was straight into the action, getting to the ball first and showing brilliant control of the ball, taking players on and passing neatly. One such pass released Thomas on goal. Plenty of work still to do, Thomas dribbled past a couple of defenders and looked almost certain to score, but the final touch saw the ball go wide.
The Minors did manage a few breaks, but Coby was quick to the ball and calm on it, and Thomas with his customary work rate was back to cover quickly.
Stanley again showed terrific control, getting the ball to Rui who was getting stuck in and proving strong in midfield. A through ball from Rui and a nice touch from Lewis broke the Minor’s defence, but a decent shot was saved by the Minors’ keeper.
Stanley had a long-range shot saved himself, then linked up nicely with Mason, but both players went for the same space and the resultant shot went wide.
Not to miss out on the action, Rui again stormed through the field, getting tackled just as he released his shot, leading to a corner. Rui delivered this well, the ball being semi-cleared by the Minors, but Rui was on it again, shooting from the edge of the box and the ball just going wide.
The final move of the half was a rare break by the Minors that led to a corner. The ball was sent in nicely, but stopped by the Iguanas’ defence. Unfortunately, the dead ball was hit at close range by the Minors, forcing a great reaction save from Olive, the ball being tipped onto the bar and then collected by the Iguanas’ keeper to keep the Iguana’s slim lead.
The half-time whistle then blew. The Iguanas should really have been well and truly in the clear, but a lead is a lead.
Oliver, Isaac, Sam, Mason, EthanT, Travis and Lewis got the game under way again.
The Minors l looked immediately sharper in this half, not sitting back on the ball and attacking with purpose. Conversely, the Iguanas were looking less sharp. Small margins from both teams were making a big difference.
A free kick for the Iguanas went straight to a Minors’ player, allowing them to break. Fortunately, the ball was cut out, and EthanT ran quickly with the ball down the right wing. A lovely cross found Lewis. His first shot, cleanly taken, was saved, but the ball could only be knocked back into Lewis’ path, and he didn’t miss this time.
The Minors were straight into the attack from the restart, however. The Minors’ attack proved stronger on the ball than the Iguanas’ defence. A strong shot from the left was nicely saved by Oliver, but this time it was the Iguanas’ turn to only be able to parry the ball into the path of another Minors player, and this time they didn’t miss.
This half was proving a mirror image of the first for the first 15 minutes of the half, and then the Iguanas started to find some rhythm. The fantastic passing we’d seen in the first half started to happen again, and the players were pressing to the ball and easing the pressure on themselves.
Sam and Isaac were working well together in defence, which made it easier for the team to create breaks. Mason and EthanT worked well together to create another chance, the final shot being saved neatly by the Minors’ keeper.
Isaac, Sam, Travis, Mason, and EthanT made way for Rui, EthanR, Coby, Thomas and Stanley. The game continued to be very 50:50 in this half, breaks happening towards both goals, corners coming and going.
A quick break through the middle for the Minors saw their attacker and Oliver both storm for the ball. Both got there at almost the same time, Oliver bravely going to feet and making sure the attack was stopped in its tracks.
Neither team could seemingly make the final pass count in this last 5 minutes of the game, and it was starting to look like we’d seen the last of the goals. Then a corner for the Minors (the result of the Iguanas being too static in attack and not tracking back as quickly as they had in the first half) saw too poor marking in the middle of the area, and a Minors’ player managed to latch onto the ball well, putting the ball into the net.
The final move of the game came from a lovely throw in from Rui. Lewis collected the ball well, but the final shot was a bit hurried and went over, just as the full-time whistle blew.
Another game of two halves for the Iguanas. The passing play in the first half, the desire for the ball and first touches were all brilliant. As good as we’ve seen from the team. Only the final shots let the team down – we should have been 5 or 6 up at least at the half-time whistle which would have put a completely different complexion on the rest of the game.
Roles were largely reversed in the second half, the Minors upping the ante and the Iguanas being slow into the game. The Iguanas did see spells of their first half performance, but in the times when they weren’t on par, the Minors managed to capitalise and snatch a draw.
Still, 4 games unbeaten now, and White Notley Hornets up next. The last game against them was tough, and not dissimilar to today with plenty of missed chances, and a slim win. The team will need to be on form next wee k to stretch out this run.
Iguana of the Match : Oliver – great save onto the bar from close range and a couple of brave intercepts.