Kensington Dragons Reserves 1 v 2 Spelthorne Sports Club Firsts
Kensington Dragons Reserves played in the 2nd round of the MCFA Junior Cup against Spelthorne Sports Club first team. Players expected a very difficult game as they remembered last season’s semi-final against the same opponents which was won by the Dragons. The coach’s game approach was easy, try to face speed and good ball rotation against physical football preferred by their opponents. Unfortunately the Dragons were not able to put their plan into the game. Dragons lost possession and were pushed very deep, just in front of their own box. Spelthorne surprised the Dragons using very high pressing up the pitch and closing down quickly in the middle of the park. This proved to be the key to the first half as after 15th minutes of the game, a cross into the Dragons penalty area was not dealt with leading to an opponent’s goal. Unfortunately it didn’t wake up the Dragons and with playing only one striker up front it looked like a ‘mission impossible’ to come back into the game.
During the half time, the Dragons coach decided to change the game system. The team got back to the pitch with a 3-5-2 with Jon Laycock and Josiah Johnson up front, Andrew Scheck just behind them and Hassan Osman and Ben Ravenwood on the wings. Constructive directions given over the half time brought a positive effect. 3 minutes of great ball possession put Josiah one on one with a keeper however his first effort was saved by the keeper but the dragons forward stayed alert and pounced on the rebound to score; 1-1 and a new opening. Another few minutes of good and disciplined play brought another big chance for Dragons. On 70 mins, Josiah was again one on one against the keeper. Unfortunately a great save from the Spelthorne number 1 saved their team. That was the best chance over the next 15 minutes for the Dragons as Spelthorne’s direct style of play had the Dragons locked deep in their own half, however they couldn’t take any advantage from a series of corner kicks. Finally on 81 mins, a Spelthorne corner was half cleared, the ball returned to the edge of the Dragons box and hesitant defending from 3 Dragons players resulted in a miss-hit shot trickling past the wrong footed Dragons keeper.
The Dragons then created opportunities to draw level and possibly win the game the best falling to Jon Laycock, who from a Dean Humphrey free kick headed wide from 6 yards when it seemed he was likely to score.
To sum up, Spelthorne Sports Club fully deserved to win yesterday’s game as Dragons couldn’t distribute any balls from the middle and lost their pace too often. It is impossible to win a cup game if a team is not able take control in the middle of the pitch.