Lions outdone by Berks County Pumas
By Darrin Johnson
U15's left to rue too many missed chances
So it was a tough day at the office - for which I take the blame today.
The boys worked and slogged away - but we were without shape in the early exchanges and weren’t really at the races in the first half. Berks County Pumas settled quickly into their stride and were winning the ball and picking their passes without much trouble from our midfield - so without the ball, chasing shadows and being pressed hard, we never had huge composure - which is then seen in our ability to start rushing the play, our passing game didn’t get started and we end up in a state of panic.
Berks went 1-0 up after a period of pressure and stampeding past our defence with careful passes played in behind - with Karim making 3-4 great saves to keep us in the game in the first half. With #ShinPadGate now trending around SW London, Ref Merv held up play until we had a keeper with shin pads (its nearly Christmas - so get it on your list!) - which then saw Sam go in goal for the first time in a year, albeit for 10 minutes (which is long enough for anyone!). Then on 35 mins Karim took a shot full-on in the face that it smashed his specs and we had a 10-minute worry while we pulled glass from Karim’s face - and its fortunate that his eyes were just more stung that scarred.
HT was blown early - with the time added onto the second period. Back to the game - we had a series of chances in the first half that we didn’t put away and the simple fact is that being goalless at HT is again down to us lacking that clinical edge in our game, for which three or four guilty hands can be raised for the chances that went by.
Karim then stunned everyone by then playing without his specs in the 2H - which continued with more #PushPresOffThePitch - its been a long time since I’ve seen anyone fouled so much without any offence being called out. Jack had the obligatory talking to for an ankle ‘tap’. Joe continued to do a great job at the back cleaning up a huge number of the Berks attacks. But with 20 mins to play Berks went 2-0 up with a bit of a scrambled goal where the post was hit and the ball ended up in the bottom corner after a half-clearance.
We ended up in a 2-5-3 formation as we chased a goal. But - we weren’t without our chances and I still don’t know how we didn’t score today. Open goals came and went. It wasn’t our day. Berks County were good value - I’m not sure why they’ve lost 5 games this season as they were as good as anyone we’ve played so far. We knew that they were good for a few goals. We needed to score - and we didn’t. We needed to get hold of the game - we didn’t. All we can do is take it as a lesson and make sure we improve next time out.
A lot of the lads put in a real shift today - and it's been a hard day at the office - some days it just doesn’t go off as you’d like it, and that’s a big part of what football is all about. We’ll get there - and we’ll go again next week!
MOTM - we had some real stand out performances from Karim and Joe today - it's not fair to separate them, so both take the honours.