Match Report 17/02/2013

Wednesday 20th February 2013

We started with the same formation and players from last week's cup tie except for George M who was unavailable.


Archie (GK), Oscar (Rdef), Matthew (cmiddefence) Josh D (ldef), Joe (rmid), George H (lmid), lewis (str). Henry S came on in the 2nd half for Joe.


The agony and ecstasy of football coaching (and report writing). Last week I didn't have enough space to record all of the good things the Terriers did. This week, especially the first game (or rather the first half of the first game) it was a struggle to note anything of a positive nature. I'd say that first half is probably the worst we've been all season. The contrast in performance must be very perplexing from a coaching perspective. Players who were amazing last week were a shadow of themselves today.


What is of particular concern is that there is no real magic to what Knaresborough do. They play to their strengths (very well I might add) with no passing in their own half, lots of long balls forward to test whether the opposition can deal with it. As with the friendly last year the answer today was that we were unable to cope with long balls through the middle. Defensive fragility (and remember we defend as a unit from the front) resulted in us being 3-0 down in no time in this game. We looked completely lost at this point, no work-rate, no pressing of the ball, Knaresborough players given the freedom of the pitch and made to look very good indeed.


On a positive level we did battle back with our customary comeback. George drilled in a corner to the near post which the Knaresborough defender turned into his own net but George claiming, and rightly so. Shortly after he hit a rasping drive which shuddered the crossbar. If that had gone in then it would have been a momentum shifter but not to be. A very rare link-up (for today anyway) between George and Lewis nearly brought a goal and George hit one wide after a good run. Josh D made a crucial interception just before half-time when exposed 3 on 1 - we were frequently caught outnumbered and it felt at times as though Knaresborough had more players. They didn't have, they just worked much harder than we did. So with a little steadier finishing we could have easily been level by half time but it wouldn't have been deserved.


Second half started brightly with a nice rare move between players as opposed to one out football. George found Lewis whose shot was saved but Henry S there to turn it in for 3-2. Time to shoot ourselves in the foot as another long ball not cleared and we are 4-2 behind. We continue our fightback with Lewis making it 4-3 and then Archie saving before George makes a goal-line clearance. George draws a foul and despite it being some way out he sends a shot into the top corner and we've worked hard to get back to 4-4. But we haven't learnt from the rest of the game and a booming goal kick sails over our defence with the Knaresborough strikers already ahead of them. Just a case of finishing the move which they did and that is our first league or cup defeat since the opening day of the season and very disappointing to go down without much of a fight really.


Result Lost 5-4 George (2), Lewis and Henry S


At least we can be much more positive about the second game although it has to be said Knaresborough created and missed lots of chances here and Archie made a fair few saves to keep us ahead. The 3-1 win makes it all the more frustrating because there was more commitment in this game and had there been the same level in game 1 we would have had the 3 points. Lots of substitutions with Will H playing and the rest of the players making rugby league style interchanges. Early rasper from George brought a good save from the keeper but he felt it with his hands stinging and shortly substituted. Pressure then from us with Lewis' header wide of the post. George gets us into the lead (and how much easier is football when you actually lead rather than having to find a way back from 3-0 down?). Oscar puts in a vital tackle and Josh D clears over his own bar when tracking back. Matthew is strong in the centre of the park and we are a different outfit as George gives us a 2 goal lead before half-time. Pressure at the start of the 2nd half but Archie makes some good saves and George is on the line again to clear the ball before it creeps over. This time our guys hang in there despite the pressure and then we break away, win a corner and George's cross comes out to Matthew who hits an absolute belter into the top corner. In keeping with the overall theme of the day we concede a horrible goal from a Knaresborough short corner. Their keeper makes a great save from Lewis and Josh D returns to make some tremendous blocks with a couple of good tackles from Joe seeing us over the line with some relief.


Result Won 3-1 George (2) Matthew


A few positives from the day- Lewis' goal was his 50th of the season and with George now on 30 from midfield they have reached 80 of their 100 target and should be going beyond that. Great commitment across the 2 games from George with goals and clearances wins him Man of the Match. He battled hard to try and get results in both games, but as the coach noted - he cannot do it alone and needs more support. (This was the easiest man of the match selection i have ever had to make. (JF)) We did at least finish on a positive with a win and Knaresborough have yet to see us anywhere near our best. We were unrecognisable from the cup team last week. All the players need to ask themselves whether they want to win the cup this year because unless they are willing to work hard from the kick-off then it is not going to happen.      


Thyank you for the report : Richard Horbury


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