Holbeach Utd Res 3-3 Azzurri
By Raphael Frascogna
5 Unbeaten After Another Score-Draw
ICA Sports FC match result, sponsored by Seven Hair and Body
Co-Manager Frascogna commented:
"We went into this match knowing full well that Holbeach Res are a force to be reckoned with this season and probably the closest to their first team in terms of quality, than they've been for some time.
"Whilst appreciating the danger posed by them, we also wanted to stay true to our stated intention of using the games since Tydd to try new things and give all of our current squad an opportunity to prove themselves ahead of what will be a big next season for us.
"We started out with a different shape but still made it clear to the players that we would require the same intensity out of possession that has become a feature of our play since October.
"After going a goal ahead with a well worked move (Joe Dobson assisting strike partner Hamza Akram) we then conceded two very sloppy goals from our perspective, however that shouldn't take away from the quality of the finish; with two unstoppable drives from the edge of our box.
"The chances would not have arisen were it not for our lack of quality in possession within our defensive third, coupled with an abject failure to adequately close down the opponents.
"Their third came 5 minutes before the break and was a questionable penalty decision, with a cross hitting Slack on the elbow from no more than 3 yards away; although I'm sure that if I was in the opposing dugout I'd have wanted the penalty to be awarded and these things have a habit of evening themselves out over the course of the 90 minutes.
"Slack was sin-binned for his protestations and to add insult to injury, the penalty was saved by Jamie but our poor reactions allowed Holbeach to follow in and score the rebound.
Pictured: star man Aaron Warrener
"At half-time it was made very clear that the effort and application in the first half fell very short of expectations.
"As Slack would be serving a further 5 minutes in the sin bin, we changed our shape to accommodate his temporary exclusion and gave strict instructions on how we needed to approach the 2nd 45 minutes in order to try and free up our attacking players and provide better cover when out of possession.
"I have to give credit to the players, who took the criticism constructively and it didn't take long for us to score our second; with Aaron Warrener scoring a sublime solo goal, following a quick counter and assist by Vaidas Macianskis.
"Aaron then turned provider with a smart assist for Hamza Akram who notched his second of the game.
"The introduction of Jason Cook and Andrew Wayte gave further impetus to the side who had several chances from open play and set pieces to secure the three points, but Holbeach defended resolutely.
"Losing the lively Hamza Akram took away some of our forward momentum and we saw out the last ten minutes soaking up Holbeach pressure as they looked to nick the win; with Taylor Hunter replacing Hamza and adding some defensive muscle.
"A draw was a fair result and it was pleasing to see that for the fourth match in a row the players showed they were receptive to changes mid-match, which helped to change the course of the game.
"We have now gone 5 matches unbeaten but need to ensure we are far sharper in defence against a lively Whittlesey team, who will be fully intent on securing 3 points to assist their push for the top 5 and eligibility for promotion to Step 6".
The Azzurri travel to Whittlesey Athletic in their next PDFL Premier Division fixture, 2pm kick-off on 26th January 2019. Click here for more details.