/* */ Match Reports – Aldenham FC Excel

Panthers – Sunday 24 January 2016 – League Game – Home -v- Panathinaikos White

Having reflected on today’s game I’m not sure what to make of our performance.

 

Not a bad point and we got to play football so we need to be pleased with that.

 

The pitch was very heavy and in parts a really muddy mess.  It really showed we hadn’t played competitively for 7 weeks.

 

Their team and the referee being late seemed to totally throw us out of our stride and we really were not focused in the first half.  We were second to the ball and seemed to wait for it to come to us which in these heavy conditions was never going to happen.

 

Yes we hit the crossbar a couple of times but still we gave away a couple of soft goals which they had no right to score.

 

In the second half at 4-2 we looked like we were going to win but again we let our concentration lapse and we let them back in and they got back to 4-4.  In the end a draw was a fair result.

 

Unfortunately our midfield seemed to have too many players not working to get back.  Putting Adam into the CMD position helped but still there were periods of the match when we really looked sluggish and just didn’t seem to want to work for a result.

 

On corners when we organised ourselves well we looked dangerous but too often I couldn’t tell what our plan was. We need to work on that.

 

Jo Jo put in the man of the match performance with some excellent passing and again we saw 3 good goals from Farzan in spite of the heavy man marking he had to endure. That should keep him top of the goal scoring leaderboard.

 

Result – Draw: 4-4

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Panthers – Sunday 19 December 2016 – Friendly Game – Away -v- Northwood FC

I think we played a different form of football today called ‘mud-ball’.

 

At the end of the game a lot of you were covered head to foot in mud … What a sight for sore eyes.

 

It wasn’t pretty and at times a bit too rough but we have to be thankful that we played a friendly game at all this weekend. It’s games like these that help us learn that not only do we have to win the footballing battle but we also have to win the physical one.   We have definitely toughened up mentally and physically this season. We keep showing so much more resilience as well as a willingness to fight when it’s needed.

 

We have to say a big thank you to Marley, Mike and Charlie for coming along and playing with us so we could put out a team today.

 

We also found out that Adam can score when he wants to. A great first goal and a brilliant second one. I want to see more of that please.

 

2-1 up at half time losing 4-2 is pretty respectable given that their manager admitted he should have awarded us a penalty and we hit the post. With a better pitch and a proper referee we would have beaten Northwood which is no mean feat given that they are second on the green division.

 

Looking forward training starts again on Tuesday the 5th of January and our next game is against St Albans who stole a result from us due to the decisions of their ‘home town’ referee. This is where we get our revenge.

 

Make sure you stay in shape and do a bit of training even if it’s only running and watch what you eat please…less mince pies and Christmas pudding and more healthy snacks please. I don’t want you all rolling onto the training pitch in January.

 

Let’s come roaring back and go for that promotion push which I know we are more than capable of.

 

Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

 

Result – Away Loss: 2-4

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Panthers – Sunday 6 December 2016 – League Game – Away -v- Berkhamsted Raiders Blue

Great to be back to winning ways against a Berkhampsted Raiders team who had only lost one game previously to the unbeaten league leaders Hadley Wood Herons.

 

A focused warm up really helped get us in the right frame of mind.

 

A first half of passing football in spite of the poor state of their pitch.  Then a fighting second half with the wind and slope against us.

 

Two goals from Farzan should help maintain his status as the league’s leading goal scorer.   We should have scored a couple more, one at a corner where they had a bit of luck on a header and another from one of the many shots on goal we had.  Then a silly slip up and back to 2-1 at half time.  Just too close for comfort.

 

In the second half the advantage of the wind and slope gave them heart and they had us pinned back and we rode our luck.  Saul made two magnificent saves.  Laurence and I were sure we were going to concede again. Then a fantastic intervention from Sai prevented a certain goal.

 

Then having dug really deep for half an hour and survived the onslaught we started to play football again and we were not just battling to survive.  A great ball forward followed and a fabulous strike from Jack and it was 3-1 to bag the win.

 

Lots of great performances all over the pitch but the best aspect for me was the spirit we showed.  In the past we would have wilted under the pressure.  In this game we showed a strength of purpose which we need to carry into all our future games.

 

My man of the match was Jo Jo for showing strength, skill and lots and lots of running both going forward as well as coming back to help the defence.  Well done and now you have set a high standard for yourself you have keep it up.

 

Result – Away Win: 3-1

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Panthers – Sunday 22 of November 2016 – League Game – Away -v- St Albans Rangers FC

‘We Was Robbed’.

 

One of the parents from St Albans apologised for the last goal having been given and agreed it was off side.  What can one say to that ?

 

Great start 2-0 ahead and Farzan scoring freely again.

 

Then we gave ourselves a challenge and let 3 goals get past us.  At least 2 were completely avoidable – their taller players simply out-jumped us.  Yes we did miss Samuel’s height in defence which would have helped but still I wasn’t happy and though we should have done a lot better.

 

Then we level and they then score again and it’s 4-3.  We levelled it at 4-4 after half time.  We did so playing some great football keeping the ball on the floor and it was good to watch our passing game on a pitch which favoured strength over skill.

 

Lots of positives.  Our focus in warming up was better.  I do feel we still spend too much time chatting rather than getting focused on the game.    Perhaps a social event is in order  ? Bowling perhaps?  That way you can chat to your heart’s content, get it out of your system and not do so when warming up for matches.

 

The 4-5-1 formation worked well.

 

Jack and Josh S. were very effective on the wings and Farzan had the space in which to show off his skills and all 4 of our goals were really well worked and executed and the result of good football.

 

Also we did well with subs. Seems we are used to having subs come on and off and it doesn’t now disrupt our flow in the game and players are slotting in immediately.

 

Still what a fussy referee … He did his best to spoil the game and really did either of the two boys deserve yellow cards ?  Perhaps he would have done better to have got the key decision on the game right !

 

Lots of you had a good strong game but my man of the match goes to … well I was going to go for Farzan but he did only bag 4 goals and he’s had the award more often than any other player this season.

 

So I thought I would go for Pranash this week who I feel hasn’t been getting the praise he deserves.   When he’s not there we definitely suffer because of it.  I asked him to play in two different positions one of which he has never played in previously and he showed a cool head and plenty of skill  playing in both positions and had a good all round match.

 

Also a mention for Maran who had a good debut (his first competitive game for us) and showed good strength and speed.  Once he’s played a few games his sense of positioning will also improve.

 

Result – Away Loss: 4-5

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Panthers – Sunday 15 November 2016 – League Game – Home -v- Hadley Wood Herons

The key word is teamwork.   You can see why Hadley Wood Herons are a good team and why they are unbeaten so far this season.  They have no star players but play as a team. It was very noticeable how they moved together, defended and attacked together and supported each other…all great teamwork.

 

We held them well for half an hour.   The first goal we gave away, the second the referee gave them with his very poor management of the free kick.  Still we looked more than capable of coming back into the game.  The third goal killed us – we were caught flat footed just after half time.  The next two followed because our heads dropped.  In the last 10 minutes we finally showed what we can do but unfortunately we left it too late.

 

At least Farzan added to his tally but still one player is not enough to make a team.

 

Oli was our man of the match for skilful and tenacious football.

 

Result – Home Loss: 1-5

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Panthers – Sunday 1 November 2016 – League Game – Home -v- Mill Hill Village Youth FC

I have Monday morning blues.

 

We played well.  2-0 ahead and we thought we were on the road to victory.  Then a couple of wonder goals from Rico Nelson and suddenly we are 4 -2 behind.

 

We were rocked back by conceding those goals.  In spite of Adam’s hard work (we need to acknowledge that it’s a really tough job man marking a player like Rico so well done Adam on sticking to your task) we were intimidated by Rico’s physicality.  His presence also spurred on his team mates to be more physical in their play.

 

We showed resilience and brought the game back to 4-4 and I really thought we would go on to win the game but they wanted it more and fought harder than we did in order to get that win.

 

It was a physical game and we have to learn to cope with that.  More accurate faster, slicker passing is the way to nullify more physical sides.  Easier said than done when the pitches get wetter and the ground muddier so like it or not we also have to get stronger and learn to compete physically so it’s up to you as players to keep working toughening yourselves up.

 

We have lost our unbeaten record and we now realise that competing at the top of the league is going to have to take a lot of hard work and determination.

 

Nice to see Jack get off the mark and a great penalty from Oli and another goal from Sai (that makes 2 in two games !).

 

A good debut to Aniket who we have welcomed into our squad.

 

Shame about the loss because overall apart from some individual errors we actually played well.  A good lesson for us to learn from and keeps our feet firmly on the ground.

 

Result – Home Loss: 4-7

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Panthers – Sunday 25th October 2016 – Away -v- Gadeside Rangers FC

Back to the top of the division !

 

A great result given we only had 10 players available to play the match.

 

A big thank you to Gary for taking charge of the game.

 

I’m told by Gary that Farzan scored after 25 seconds and it looked like the floodgates were about to open but we missed loads of chances and their linesman flagged for everything.

 

Gary says everyone stuck to their task.  Everyone was fantastic.  Very compact, all passing, all trying, all tacking and putting in the effort.

 

Another 4 for Farzan to keep him at the top of the goal scorers table but I’m told Josh S. won the style contest scoring 2 cracking goals.

 

I’m also told that Sai and Adam scored so very pleasing to see goals coming from others in the team as well.

 

Nice to see another clean sheet; we are still the meanest defence in the league given the number of games we have played.

 

Result – Away Win: 8-0

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Panthers – Sunday 18 October 2016 – Home -v- Maccabi Lions White Challenge Cup – Round 2

Challenge Cup Round 2

 

13 seems to be the magic number…whenever we play a white division team.

 

We kept our heads held high but we do need to learn from the footballing lesson we have been handed out today.

 

We were caught cold in the first 10 minutes and let in some poor goals which against teams like the lions we cannot afford to do.

 

Several of you looked to me to be a bit on the sluggish side. Not only is more fitness work required on your part but we need to keep working on our mental strength.

 

On goal kicks they always came out with the ball … Some  heading practice for our midfielders is definitely required.   We also have to learn how to play the ball out from the back rather than having to always kick it out as far as we can.

 

They do play 3 divisions higher than we do but I can’t help feeling that we could have done better.

 

Saul was our man of the match with some incredible saves.  Josh L a great game as well (I know you had your cousin on the other team – I’m hoping he won’t give you too hard a time).

 

Nice to have you back Jack.

 

Result – Home Loss: 1-13

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Panthers – Sunday 11 October 2016 – Home -v- Hinton & Finchley Revolution

Another great result this time against Hinton & Finchley.  Still top of the League!

 

It wasn’t as easy as the score-line suggests and we should note we were only 1-0 up at half time.

 

A tough first half and we had a real fight in our hands which we eventually won.  It was only towards the end that we looked more comfortable having managed to score a few more goals but as we saw they kept fighting to the end which really didn’t make it very easy for us.

 

Farzan scored another 6 (I fear he is going to be heavily man marked for the rest of the season) but we have to remember it’s a team game and everyone contributed to our victory and there were great performances all over the pitch !

 

Result – Home Win: 6-2

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Panthers – Sunday 4 October 2016 – League Game – Away -v- Panathinaikos White

Well I’m still on a high !

 

Brilliant just brilliant.  The best football I’ve ever seen us play.  Obviously Arsenal took inspiration from our result !

 

Confident slick passing a joy to watch.

 

8-2 WOW – I said I wanted us to make a statement to the yellow division and we have.

 

Everyone played their part.

 

6 goals from Farzan (Aguero only got 5!) – another lesson in cool finishing.

 

1 from Josh S and 1 from Alex – well deserved for both of them.

 

Adam really stuck to his task and marked their key player out of the game; crucial because without that they had no other threat to offer as a team.

 

Jo Jo and Oli played like a pair of expert orchestra conductors passing pin point balls to their teammates.

 

Great running from Jenson and Duran to get numbers forward for the team.

 

Mihir a brilliant clearance off the line. Prakash and Josh L great tackling throughout and lots of good skilful football as well.

 

A rock solid heart to our defence from Sai and Samuel and as ever great goalkeeping from Saul.

 

So far we have conceded only 3 goals which the fewest in the league only matched by Hadley Wood Herons.

 

And YES we are TOP of the league.

 

Result – Away Win: 8-2

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