Monday, February 27, 2012

Get in their faces

Leigh and Bransford Badgers: Get in their faces

A beautiful near spring afternoon, the sun is out and the sky is blue and for once it's not absolute zero on the touchline. There are no scary creatures, no ghostly apparitions and no threats to 'take out' our strikers so in theory at least things should go well...It may have been the lack of match readiness due to no games in the last month or maybe it was just the pleasant afternoon either way things did not go quite to plan...

From the off there seemed to be a lack of aggression in the Rovers demeanour...the boys are not naturally pushy or confrontational but sometimes you need to get in the oppositions faces a little more...or use an alternative tactic...

making an impression

From the off things seemed to be going in reverse. The kick-off went backwards, further backwards and had to be cleared up by Arron 'It's alright lads I'll deal with it' Manton almost on our goal-line but St. Johns still managed to sneak one past Ali 'A goal past me, a rare occurrence indeed' Ching. The restart is back passed again but this time Dan 'a touch of accuracy' Thomson makes sure a forward gear is selected and a neat pass is placed in front of Liam 'Acceleration where it counts' Wood'. Liam slots one through to James 'point me at the goal' Henry who's shot just wide. Matt 'Track-back' Griffin has a punt at the Saints keeper but to no avail.

Ali is keeping things in order at the back but does need to shout at his defence a little more to stop any confusion. Saints earn a corner and it's Ben 'Slippery as a soapy snake' James that clears up. Saints are still attacking and earn themselves a corner after Ali makes a solid save. Oh no! 2-0. Someone in defence needs to get in the way of those and squeeze the attacker out...

squeezed out

James and Jacob 'Work rate of the Roman Empire' Gillibrand are working hard as usual at the front but both are shooting wide at the moment. Ben is having a go as well but he's a little off target to. Remember what I was saying at the beginning about no one being 'take out'...well that's not exactly true...James is continually being felled by Saints defence and only one has resulted in a free kick (just wide from Matty Griff) and a corner (just wide from Jacob).

Connor 'keeping the left wing in order' Porter-Brown throws in a couple of useful tackles. Arron shows why he's the man to rely on at the back by breaking three consecutive attacks with three solid tackles. Saints are still trying to break James's spirit but this time Matt 'Bends it like Beckham' Griffo beautifully curls one into the top corner. 2-1.

We're on a roll now and yet another attempt on James's life ends in another free kick and a first goal of the season for Matt 'The defensive marvel' Waldren. 2-2. It's all happening now...Jacob takes another run at the Saints defence and his shot rebounds off the post into the path of Dan T whose hoof over the bar would have scored three points in any other game.

For some reason the Saints coaches seem to be unnecessarily loud and a new tactic is screamed at the Saints players much to everyone’s bewilderment...'Box him in! is the call...we shall investigate this later. This brings up half time.

One change: Dan 'Bone cruncher' Watson is on for Arron.

The second half takes an unexpectedly different route to the first. After the first attack, which seems to include the whole of the Rovers midfield and attack having a shot at the Saints goal...but none of strikes go in ahhhhhhh! our boys seem to be backing out of challenges and not applying the usual 'squeeze' to the opposition.
It seems to be a case of...

Spring Flowers
rather than...
No Surrender

A few words from you esteemed coaches are required...Russ first...

You've done well so far boys but it's time to move up a gear. Watch that through-ball as the only way Saints can score is when they pass behind the defence and get to the ball first. Ali is a great keeper but he can't defend the goal on his own. Drop back a little so they don't catch you out.

Now Martyn...
diplomacy at work

Now boys, you know how diplomatic I can be...a controversial word will never pass my lips but you need to use your heads. Every time there’s corner no one is standing up and getting their head on the ball before the opposition can knock it in. Until someone does the goals will keep coming.

Finally Mandy...

no prisoners

Boys, that was rubbish! get stuck-in!...use your shoulders! ! tackle hard! TAKE NO PRISONERS!!!

Good, sound, common sense all round there I think...

Anyway back to the game - James is felled yet again and this time the ref has given a free kick (makes a refreshing change). Matty Griff hammers one through everybody until it safely gathered by the Saints keeper. Saints have another attempt to get past Ali but he has the measure of it and unleashes a trade mark drop kick straight to James's feet. He passes (this is becoming a habit) to Jacob who's shot is just wide. Yet another free kick, this time taken by Luke. The kick ends up with James who is wide with his shot. Meanwhile at the other end Connor is making a goal saving tackle.

Some lovely skills now from Rovers. Luke lofts ones out of defense, headed down by Jacob (someone listening to Martyn), under control by Ben, out to Dan T, passed through to Matt Griff, lobbed over to Liam who just can't quite get the shot away before being closed down (Saints seem to be listening to Russ...)

The ball goes over the Saints crossbar (from Jacob) and lands in the field behind but apparently we are not allowed to go and fetch it due to a particularly nasty horse. 'Champion' expects everyone that comes into his field to be carrying food and gets upset if this fodder is not forthcoming. Step forward the man with no fear. Our own Dan 'The Beast' Watson climbs calmly over the fense.

scary horse

Champion takes a look and thinks...Hmmmmm dinner. Then he recalls the rumours of this mans fearlessness and decides that there is a patch of grass in the corner of the field that needs closer investigation and slowly, carefully saunters away. All is well and the ball is recovered. Dan's reputation is enhanced again...

Trouble at Mill...Dan 'Nobody scares me' Watson has brilliantly denied a Saints attacker from scoring only for the ball to be knocked in by Matt G...It happens mate, don't worry.

Rovers are finally listening to Mandy. Ben is charging in and James takes out one of the Saints defenders (the one who has been hacking at him all day ironically) and runs another goal into the back of the net. Shout of 'Box him in', 'Goal of the season' and 'Nil - Nil' ring out from the sarcastic Rovers supporters much to the displeasure of the Saints coaches.

So we finally understand the meaning of 'Box him in'...It means take down the defender and put it in the back of the for me. Man of the match was Matt Waldren... very well done. Another strong performance at the back and finished off with a well-deserved goal.

This week’s mention in dispatches goes to Ben and Dan W for their toughness and to Liam and Jacob for their tirelessness throughout the game.

And after comparing Mandy to Boudicca I had better be good and add something to put the grin back on her face...Another of this weekend matches...

Up guards and at 'em


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