Cashmere Technical 2 vs Coastal Spirit 0

A sunny afternoon at Garrick Memorial Park saw Cashmere Technical host Coastal Spirit. A win for Cashmere Technical would see them be crowned the Southern Football League champions. Cashmere Technical persevered and did enough to win 2-0 to cement their place as the champions.

 

Starting Formations

Cashmere Technical lined up in a fluid 4231/433 shape and based their attacks down the flanks. Knight was in goal with the Schwarz brothers pairing in the heart of defence. Haworth was right fullback, whilst Boys was left. Mitchell, Ogilvie and Tongue made up the central 3. Mitchell and Ogilvie rotated to whom would hold whilst the other supported. Tongue was a little more advanced and would make runs beyond Clapham. Clapham, who started as the centre forward played much like a false 9, dropping deep to create space for Tongue and the wingers to exploit. Matthysen and King often switched wings but whoever was on the left would attack the byline whilst the one on the right would make runs in behind the space Clapham had created.

Coastal Spirit were in a 352/532 formation, which we saw used successfully by England at the FIFA World Cup 2018. Thomas in goal with 3 central defenders going from right to left; Gerathy, McGarr and Liddicoat. Richards played right wing back and was slightly more attacking minded to that of Bush who played left wing back. Jones was the deep lying midfielder with Nicol and Williams operating in front of him. Zeb and Welbourn were in tandem up front, with the latter dropping off to link up play whilst the former made runs in behind.

Cashmere vs Coastal
Lineups

Coastals’ Low Block + Pressing Triggers

Coastal were happy to sit back in their own half in a low block. The wing backs sat back to make a back 5 to nullify Cashmere Technical’s attacking threats. They looked to let Cashmere play to their right side and used carful pressing triggers once they had Dan Schwarz onto his right foot. This happened occasionally and apart from the odd counter attack, this was the only time Coastal opted to get numbers forward. Otherwise they were structured with their low block and didn’t give Cashmere any clear-cut chances in the first half and would have been happy entering half time at 0-0.

Playing out from the Back

Both sides looked to build play out from the back, but with contrasting success. Cashmere Technical were very efficient, enjoying majority of the possession on the day. Either of the Schwarz brothers would look for the fullbacks to play out from to then attack down the flank. The play would then be switched hoping to isolate a Coastal Spirit wingback once Coastal’s midfield had shifted across. Coastal Spirit also tried playing out from the back but were often caught over passing or dwelling on the ball. This lead to some silly mistakes and aloud Cashmere Technical to press and pin Coastal Spirit in their own half even when they had possession.

Cashmere’s Wide Play

Cashmere Technical tended to attack down the flanks. They often looked to exploit Coastal Spirit’s wingbacks by building up play on one side to then switch with pace to the opposite flank. They found great success creating overloads against Richards who was often caught quite high up the pitch. Boys, Ogilvie and either of Matthysen or King bypassed with ease in this 3 vs 1 situation. On the opposite flank King/Matthysen was allowed to cut in with Bush reluctant to track inside which would cluster the central defence. So, Cashmere’s right winger was able either to live on the ball outside the penalty box or move into the space created by the dropped off Clapham. Haworth would support the right flank from behind but it was Clapham who would come across to play one twos with the winger.

Welbourn vs the Schwarz brothers

It looked to be an entertaining encounter between one of the league’s leading strikers up against the league’s most formidable defence – that has only conceded 5 goals. Welbourn was the focal point of anything dangerous Coastal Spirit created. He did well dropping off and linking up play with the midfield runners with bounce passes.  He had a great chance to give Coastal Spirit the lead with a clever flick from a cross after he evaded his markers. Overall, the Schwarz brother dealt with Welbourn well and managed to shut out Welbourn for the 90 minutes.

Welbourn
Much of Coastal’s hope fell on this man, Ash Welbourn

2nd Half

Coastal Spirit came out in the 2nd half with a lot more purpose and attacked Cashmere Technical for majority of the commencing 15 minutes. However, it was Matthysen who slid in behind Coastal Spirit’s defence as Clapham dropped off that forced a corner. Matthysen had his corner delivery cleared back out to him for he to then curl it into the far corner to make it 1-0. About 5 minutes later Cashmere grab their second which also resulted from a corner. Coastal failed to clear and the ball got chipped into the 6-yard box for Dan Schwarz to slot home – albeit some strong appeals for being offside. Coastal left it late to make any tactical changes, changing to a 433 with only 10 minutes to go. Substitute Butler provided a spark off the bench as he took up the left wing role in the 433. But the final scored remained 2-0 to cashmere Technical, Southern Football League champions.

Lyle
Lyle Matthysen, proving again to be a key player

Ferrymead Bays 3 vs Universities 0

In the Chatham Cup 1st round Ferrymead Bays FC hosted Universities FC. Bays oped for a somewhat rotated side as they looked to bounce back after a disappointing league match against Cashmere Technical last week. Bays were without some key players through injury, notable Michael White, whilst UC were without their recent departure Sam Howes. Bays would get an early grip on the match and were tactically impressive to see off UC 3-0.

Starting Formations

Ferrymead Bays were with their very fluid 433. Collingwood was in goal, protected by Bowman and ball playing centre half, Ford, in central defence. Rusbridge and Mathieson were fullbacks with the latter more aggressive going forward. The midfield 3 rotated very regularly however, it was Halligan who would drop deepest for build-up. Schacht and Murphy would be more advanced with latter running the channels. Rabuka held the width, whilst Peers sat very narrow from the left flank and almost was a second centre forward. Molijn was the number 9 and played as the team’s target man, holding up play and being an outlet for long balls.

Universities were in a very rigid 433/451 formation. Aitchison was in goal with Mulligan and Morgan in the heart of defence. Roodbean skippered the team from right back and the pacey Mclauchlan was left back. Caswell anchored the midfield from defensive midfield with centre midfielders, Orchard and Blaser to the right and left. Williamson was right wing/midfield and Meekin was on the left however, tucked inside to help the central midfield at times. John was the lone forward come ‘false 9’ and hardly spent any time in the centre forward position. He instead dropped very deep to help defend and keep possession.

Screen Shot 2018-05-13 at 12.35.07 pm
Lineups

 UC and Set Pieces

UC were coming back from conceding 2 goals at Coastal last week from corners. However, they made a poor attempt on correcting any such problems today. Countless time a floating ball was made into their penalty box for a header from Bays only denied by the offside flag or a point blanc save from Aitchison. Bay’s first goal came from a back post header from Murphy. It is also the second phase from a set pieces, once the ball has been cleared, they do not move out as an adhesive unit and a second ball into the box would find an unmarked Bays player. This occurred for the 2nd Bays goal from Molijn and similar for the first goal too. UC also struggled at attacking set pieces, with next to none deliveries finding their own team. A team that is wanting to be solid defensibly and can not perhaps not match teams in possession must take advantage of the aerial game.

Contrast in Movement

One thing that stood out above the rest was the stark contract in movement off the ball. Bays’ midfield worked tirelessly pressing and rotating, even seeing deep midfielder Halligan move forward on occasion. Peers would be seen making runs from wide to in and overloading the box or when Molijn went short. Whilst Murphy ran the channels excellently creating havoc between Morgan and Mclauchlan. Compare this to a rigid midfield 3-5 that did not stray from position. Most likely playing for two banks of 4 and 5 however, once wide midfielders were beaten they rarely helped support their fullbacks on defence. John came very deep, but no player made runs into the space he left up top, congesting their side into their own half. This allowed UC’s midfield to be easily pressed by the hard working Bays midfield.

Attacking Effectiveness

Bays found great success at overloading the pockets of spaces in the wide areas. Murphy running the channels would open up 2 vs 1 or even 3 vs 1’s targeting the UC fullbacks. With the addition of no defensive support from the UC wide players this troubled UC countless times. Bays were also not afraid to go long, with Ford providing a great direct distribution, sparking switches or going straight to Molijn to hold up. UC struggled to keep the ball and found no attacking outlet when demanded to go long by a press. This was due to John dropping deep with no one filling his spot on attack – do they already miss Howes as an attacking outlet?

Ford, courtesy from FB page
Ball playing centre half, Ford. Image sourced from facebook

Conclusion

It was a game always leaning in favour of Ferrymead Bays. A confident win whilst playing some youngsters for valuable MPL minutes.  Some complacent mistakes did occur from Bays, notable at the back, before Astley came on for solidity. The other two bays substitutions added something else in the 2nd half with Chang’s pace and directness almost getting him a goal. While former FC youngster Clarke showed just how talented he is with a goal to wrap things up, after dribbling round the keeper. UC came better in the 2nd half and had a good chance to level things up when John attempted to chip the keeper. They also threw their centre back, McCarthy up top and switched to a 442, hoping for more numbers in the box – but to no prevail. Next up in the MPL will see Ferrymead bays host Coastal Spirit and Universities FC head over to Nomads.

Canterbury United 3 vs Wellington Phoenix Reserves 2

Canterbury United hosted Wellington Phoenix Reserves in a must win match at ASB Park, with Canterbury looking at making the top 4. After giving away a 1-0 lead, Canterbury managed to grab a 3-2 victory with the winner coming from an unlikely source.

Canterbury United hosted Wellington Phoenix Reserves in a must win match at ASB Park, with Canterbury looking at making the top 4. After giving away a 1-0 lead, Canterbury managed to grab a 3-2 victory with the winner coming from an unlikely source.

Starting Formations

Canterbury United lined up in a 433, standard to what they have done recently. Turipa in goal with Terris and Schwarz in central defence. Wilson was right back who frequently attacked while Spain on the left was more reserved. de Vries anchored the midfield with Ogilvie and Mitchell ahead of him. Hoyle spearheaded the attack and remained centrally as Nakamura and King were left and right wing respectively however interchanged often.

Wellington Phoenix Reserves were in a very fluid 4231. Smith was in goal with attacking fullbacks Phillip and Williams at right and left back. Moore partnered Cacace in central defence with Cacace roaming forwards on numerous occasions. Sutton and Singh were central/holding midfielders with Sutton holding position while Singh had license to get forward and was the teams playmaker. Rogerson hugged the touch line at right wing and Waine was on the left while through the middle they often showed a false 9, false 10 combination. With Whyte starting as a 10 but would run beyond Ebbinge who started as a 9 but would drop deep.

Screen Shot 2018-01-30 at 12.56.46 pm
Lineups

WeeNix’s High Line

Wellington Phoenix Reserves (WeeNix) came and looked to play good football, as a development side I would believe they are told to prioritise this. As a small technical side, they did well at playing to their strengths, playing short corners, free kicks and playing a high line. This highline congested the pitch to where WeeNix’s could come alive with smart quick passing to evade a physical Canterbury midfield. However, this very highline did a lot of self-harm as Canterbury were able to hit the direct balls over the top. Canterbury were easily able to find either Schwarz or Ogilvie, two ball players, due to WeeNix’s extreme fluidity. With Ebbinge dropping deep into midfield it often left Schwarz time and space to hit those killer direct balls that he is capable of. While Ogilvie was able to get onto the ball at times due to Singh reluctance to track back fast enough and while Cacace who loved to roam forward, did very well, but would leave no one to fill his position which left massive gaps. While after looking the better side, they went down 1-0 after a long through ball from the Canterbury midfield found an on running Nakamura to slot home, somewhat against the run of play.

Sleeping Dragons

It was a sluggish 60 minutes for Canterbury United as they did not look like a team that wanted to win, coupled with some players having a bad day individually. Hoyle was more static than in previous games where he roamed left and right causing problems within the channels.  Perhaps he was made to take advantage of the direct balls or punish a roaming Cacace, however when he did exploit Canterbury’s direct balls he lacked the pace or deadly touch on the day to make it count.  Passing was off all around the park and it was in stark contrast to WeeNix’s tidy passing to feet and who were able to pass around Canterbury with relative ease. Final third balls and crossing were poor and they were lucky to have a long ball proving so effective as explained above. Nakamura had another great game as he exploited the channels after starting in a wide position to great effect and got a goal in the 13th minute from Mitchell with a through ball from deep.

Sarpreet Singh

In a team full of talented young players, Singh definitely stood out for having something special. He was center of everything good that came from WeeNix as he was clearly the teams designated playmaker and captain. WeeNix’s equaliser came from a superb solo run from a short corner as Singh dribbled inside to fire a great shot into the top corner of the goal. He was then on the end of Rogerson’s cross to hit home a brace for himself, and put his side into the lead. Subbed off at the hour mark due to first team responsibilities and rightly so, I would bet he has a big future ahead of him.

Singh gettyimages
Sarpreet Singh, per gettyimages

System Change

2-1 down at home with 30 odd minutes left to play, changes were needed. Canterbury brought on Lockhart and Nicklaw for Wilson and Mitchell. They also changed formation to a 4231 with Lockhart as the ‘10’, Nicklaw adding some physically on the right, while King dropped to his natural left back and could deal with a speedy and trickery of Rogerson. Canterbury flooded players forward, 6 or 7 at a time with Spain getting forward more on the right while having Nicklaw as an extra aerial presence for a small WeeNix side. They had control the game for the last 25 and after Schwarz headed an equaliser in the 72nd minute it looked like Canterbury would go on and grab a winner. This was the case in the 82nd minute where an overload on the right flank with Spain, Nicklaw and Ogilvie combined for Ogilvie to chip a ball into a goal mouth scramble for veteran defender Terris, to score the winner.

CU Celebrate
Canterbury United celebrate the winner, per NZ Football

Tasman United 0 vs Canterbury United 6

Tasman United welcomed Canterbury United to Trafalgar Park, in what was the Mainland Derby. It was 5th versus 6th on the table with Canterbury looking to get a win to break into the top 4. It was Canterbury who looked a much revitalised side after the festive break and managed to outplay Tasman 6-0.

Starting Formations

Tasman set themselves up in a 4231 where they tried to build play through the middle before releasing it wide. Wilson was in goal with Johnston and Allan partnering in centerback, while the latter had the licence to distribute. Ayers and Perico were right and left back respectively who tended to not venture up the park too much. Tireless ball winner Kaltak and Chettleburgh played holding midfield together who both shared the licence of when to go forward and not. In front of them in the midfield was captain Lindsay who had Elliot of the right and Smith to the left. Kowal spearheaded the attack up front.

Canterbury United were in a 433. In front of goalkeeper, Turipa, were two ball playing center backs Schwarz and de Vries who were both comfortable of bringing the ball out and spraying passes over the field. They were flanked by very attack minded fullbacks with Liddicoat on the right and Spain the left, who particularly liked to get forward. Pendrigh anchored the midfield with Mitchell and Ogilvie both more advanced. Up top saw Nakamura play left wing and stayed very wide until the final third before playing as almost another striker while King on the right wing also naturally liked cutting inside onto his favoured left foot. Hoyle played center forward and could hold play or moved about running into channels endlessly.

Screen Shot 2018-01-07 at 8.22.49 pm

New Year, New System for Canterbury United

433 had only been sparingly used prior to this match where they used it for the full 90 to devastating effect. There idea of controlling game with a high defence line worked well with both the defenders and midfield all of whom were comfortable on the ball. Stretching the play through the fullbacks who positioned themselves high up as Pendrigh sat deep. This gave space for Ogilvie to play a very dominate performance yet again in Canterbury colours as he ran the midfield show while two inside forwards Nakamura and King could cut inside.

Tasman United Struggle

It wasn’t a good day at the office for Tasman as they struggled to find their feet and a general way forward on towards goal. Allan had the duty to get the ball to midfield which worked well however, midfield struggled to retain the ball, notably Chettleburgh on many occasions. Lindsay was uninfluential as a 10 and failed to be the link player which was needed and came much more involved once he went deeper in midfield in the 2nd half, where he is more suited. Kaltak was a warrior trying to hunt down and win the ball and often sparked dangerous counter attacks from his successful tackles and Kowal looked lively however, never had enough support needed to create anything from Tasman’s attacks. Once they were 4-0 goals and a player down their heads dropped completely.

Futa in Action
Nakamura scored a hat trick playing as an inside forward. Per Photosport

Canterbury United’s Attack

Canterbury United’s attack were very impressive from get go. King would cut inside with Hoyle drifting to the right flank on multiple occasions, where Nakamura came alive in the final 3rd resulting in his first ever hat trick. The front 3 however, were much supported by the flying fullbacks as both Spain and Liddicoat plus two midfielders were often seen in the final third showing 6 sometimes 7 players attacking. This was shown with their 2nd goal where King was central, cross came from the right from Hoyle and left back Spain was in the goal box to score. It was an interesting side to watch as they are clearly pushing forward with the hope of making the top 4.

Tasman’s 2nd Half Changes

Early 2nd half changes brought on Ifil and Mathysen with the former operating as left wing and the latter, left back. These changes also meant Lindsay would drop into holding midfield where he is much better suited. These changes worked great immediately pushing pressure on Canterbury with dangerous switch balls from lindsay out to that left flank where Mathysen was keen to overlap Ifil. For a period of 10 minutes Tasman had Canterbury pinned and it looked like there were going to get themselves back into the game before Canterbury’s 4th goal, plus a red card, which really sealed Tasman’s fate. Kaltak was moved to right back and suddenly the midfield was lost, no energy and no structure as Canterbury started added to their score with relative ease.

Lindsay
Lindsay, a key player but must play deeper. Per FairFax NZ

Stephen Hoyle

A great performance coming back from the break for Hoyle. Was a nuisance for both Johnston and Allan to deal with as he was much more physical than the Tasman center back duo, regularly outmuscling and getting shots away. He was involved with all of Canterbury’s attacks as he drifted about the front line moving into channels and running with the ball well. Needs to work on his decision making but Canterbury United have a top player at this level to lead their line. Very deservedly finally got his goal in the 75th minute to make it 7 goals this season.

Hoyle
Hoyle turning out to be a key player. Per Photosport

 

Canterbury United 3 vs Eastern Suburbs AFC 2

It was a game of two halves at English Park as Canterbury United welcomed Eastern Suburbs to town in the ISPS Handa Premiership. The hosts came from 2 goals down to grab their first win of the season with a 3-2 victory.

It was a game of two halves at English Park as Canterbury United welcomed Eastern Suburbs to town in the ISPS Handa Premiership. The hosts came from 2 goals down to grab their first win of the season with a 3-2 victory.

Starting Formations

Canterbury United lined up in a structured 3421 formation. Knight was in goal with 3 central defenders of Schwarz, Terris and Liddicoat. They had two wing backs of King on the left and Spain on the right (however early injury meant Wilson played majority of right wing back) both of which played rather cautiously and did not push forward. Two hard working holding midfielders of tough tackling Pendrigh on debut and Ogilvie who had licence to push forward. Nakamura and Spain (Clark until early injury) played as two ‘10’s’ behind Hoyle who spearheaded the attack.

 

Eastern Suburbs were in a 4132/442 diamond. Speedy was in goal with Nash and Pratley in central defence. Fullbacks of Murati on the right and Elder on the left both got forward and supplied the team with its width. Payne sat deep in the midfield and dictated the tempo spraying multiple long passes. Vale sat on the right and de Jong on the left operated in the half spaces while James played centrally and would attack through the centre. Two forwards were Mata who held his position while his strike partner Tieku would drift wide on either side giving width.

 

Screen Shot 2017-11-20 at 10.05.16 am
Lineups*  – Clark started for Canterbury however early wrist injury meant Wilson came on.

 

Lacklustre Dragons

The Canterbury United Dragons headed into their first game since inspirational midfielder, Aaron Clapman, had withdrawn from the squad. But early signs suggested they definitely were going to struggle without him. No desire, no motivation and showed no pace to their game. Pinned inside their own half, they desperately struggled for possession, not helped by Nakamura and Spain’s attempts of dribbling out of their own half. On attack, King and Wilson were not comfortable venturing forward to support attacks which led to the Dragons lacking width. Poor marking and tracking allowed Eastern Suburbs to grab to goals from inside the penalty box. Often looked like a lack of cohesion between the central back 3.

 

Tim Payne

Tim Payne was outstanding in the deep lying midfield playmaking role. In what looked like a side built around him, he was able to dictate tempo of the game as all the play came through him. Whether this just be recycling possession, switching the ball to the opposite flank or hitting key passes behind Canterbury’s defence for Tieku to run onto. His all-round play was on another level, as he did not compromise his defensive duties. Tracking back to stop midfielder runners, never being outmuscled off the ball and keeping Canterbury’s two ‘10’s’ at bay with some crunching tackles. If it was not for Hoyle’s brace late on in the match, Payne would have been Man of the Match.

 

Lily Whites’ Tactical Win but Mental Loss

Tactically Eastern Suburbs were astute, overloading the central areas and had attacking variation. A slight favoured left flank where they could use the trio of de Jong, Tieku and Elder to overload and single out Wilson was a common feat. Big signing of Chris James had a good game and would often see both Pendrigh and Ogilvie to mark him, pushing Nakumura and Spain right back to deal with Eastern Suburbs wide central midfielders of Vale and de Jong.  This allowed Payne to be a free man and gave him all the time in the world to dictate the game. Payne sitting deep allowed the fullbacks to push up higher and create those wide overloads as said before. Two great team worked goals came from attacking the byline with some neat passing before cutting back to a unmarked player to finish in the goal. But things were different in the 2nd half, once Canterbury started to look livelier. Once Eastern Suburbs conceded their first goal their heads dropped and soon silly fouls and mistakes were occurring. Perhaps at 2-1 they needed to drop off a little bit and not sit so high up the pitch, but they instead were very attacking minded. They still played out from defence but Nash and Pratley both looked uncomfortable in doing this. Once it was 2-2 the mistakes and mental lapses were more frequently and straight from kick off they almost conceded a 3rd. The belief was high at English Park at this point and Eastern Suburbs struggled to play in the manner that was so dominate in the 1st half. A breakaway goal in the 93rd minute of Canterbury took all 3 points from the Lily Whites after they looked a class above in the 1st 45 minutes.

 

Canterbury’s 2nd Half Resurgence

Canterbury came out in the 2nd half looking like a completely different side. Lifting the tempo, playing with hunger and motivation. Ogilvie ran tirelessly everywhere, definitely giving it 100% as they pushed for some sort of way back in the game. This came when Payne pulled down Ogilvie making a late run into the box resulting in a free kick nicely placed around the wall by Pendrigh – on debut. Canterbury’s spirits were lifted and charged forward to grab an equalizer. Ball-playing centre half Schwarz brought the ball out of the back and sprayed multiple dangerous balls for Ogilvie and Nakamura, pinning Eastern Suburbs back. Canterbury United’s substitute Nicklaw came on for Spain position’s (Spain going back to wing back – Wilson off) saw him play up higher, in line with Holye with Nakamura sitting behind them. This allowed Canterbury to press high with either striker marking a center back which disrupted Eastern Suburbs’ build-up from the back. Nicklaw showed his powerful long-range shooting which not often went close to scoring but helped generate a buzz around the park and finally test Speedy with some shots. Then in the 83rd minute a low powerful shot driven in from Nicklaw was excellently laid off from Nakamura to be driven home by Hoyle for the equalizer. Canterbury did not stop here and continued to look for a winner, King pushed up and showed some great crossing ability before some great work from Nakamura on the right wing sent the ball into Holye to turn and smash home the winner for the first time this season.

Hoyle celebrates his 1st goal, per Midfield Sport Photography

 

 

 

Japan 2 vs New Zealand 1

Japan vs New Zealand

The All Whites were in Tokyo to take on the Samurai Blue of Japan, for their final ‘dress rehearsal’ before they clash in the intercontinental playoff in November. A late winner for Japan finished off the All Whites 2-1, which led to many bittersweet feelings for the Kiwis.

Starting Formations

Japan started in a 4231 shape however, defending in much a 4141 which saw #2 Ideguchi drop deep to help build-up play from the back and shield the back line. Kawashima was in goal with Makino and, EPL centre half, Yoshida in front of him. They were flanked by attacked minded full backs, Sakai and veteran Nagatomo. Central midfield saw Ideguchi and Yamaguchi sit behind Borussia Dortmund attacking midfielder Kagawa who was their playmaker. Kubo was out on the right wing while Muto was left but interchanged with Osako up top frequently.

New Zealand lined up in a very defensive 532 shape and were comfortable with defending deep and did not press Japan as much as Hudson has had the All Whites do recently. Was very good to see Reid back in the All Whites jersey and he was with two other experienced central defenders of Durante and Boxall who protected Marinovic in goal. Two wing backs joined the back five with Ingham on the right and Colvey on the left who was in for the injured Wynne. Both had license to join in with the counter attacks with Ingham perhaps more eager to get forward than Colvey. A somewhat physically weak midfield trio of Rojas, McGlinchey and Thomas were helped by Barbourouses who would drop deep to help out. Wood spearheaded the attacks, and would often be the only NZ player not defending.

Japan vs NZ
Lineups

 

Quick & Organised Japan

Japan started very strongly and was aided by an All White concentration lapse inside the 4th which saw a great chance go begging. Minutes later Reid mistimed a header which ultimately led to Kagawa hitting the post from near the penalty spot. It was a nervy opening 10 minutes for the All Whites but  some counter attacks did break out but for only the final ball to be lacking. Japan attacks were varied, nice build up play through Ideguchi before either attacking the flanks with numbers before switching or going direct through the middle. Some of these direct balls that came the All Whites way caused more problems than expected, especially having Reid in the heart of defence. While having a back 5 did not seem to cover enough ground at times.  The quick switches from the Japanese saw the NZ wing backs scampering back to position. Japan attacked with pace, often stretching Boxall and Durante wide leaving Reid alone in the middle. If not for lack of more clinical finishing, Japan would have  finished the half with a comfortable lead.

Deliveries

Throughout the match there was a stark contrast between the two nations and their ability at deliveries. While Japan had some good chances from their crosses and set pieces the All Whites were completely different. Countless poor corners and crosses would not make it past the first defender and would end up as a counter attack for Japan. Japan’s first goal from the penalty spot came from one of these break a way’s that stemmed from a poor attacking corner into the box. Being a defensive sided team, you need to rely on good set pieces and final ball deliveries so this is definitely an area that is needed to improve come November. One successful cross was the assist from Rojas that Wood buried to make it 1-1, Wood just needs the service.

All Whites Midfield

An interesting midfield trio started for the All Whites in Rojas, McGlinchey and Thomas, all of which could be classified attacking midfielders/wingers. McGlinchey the most defensive of the trio which saw Rojas and Thomas able to break up field with pace and gile as it was these two who would start the counter attacks. A very mobile three which could overload the flanks and create triangles with one of the wing backs and Barbourouses. Surprising call not to field a more tradition defensive midfielder perhaps in the mould of Tzimopoulos, Musa or Tuiloma, but the pace and mobility of the midfield three worked well, being able to match the Japanese midfield for pace as they were never going be a robust physical Nation. It was the All Whites decision to play a more natural holding midfielder, Tzimopoulos

when Japan started to seize control of the game late on, inevitably leading to their winning goal. Could very much see this moving forward against the future South American nation.

Muto vs Ingham

The left flank was very popular for Japan to attack down, whether this be because they were particular strong on that side or were targeting Ingham remains unknown. However, Ingham certainly had a handful all night being run at by Muto and being overloaded with the overlapping Nagatomo. Unfortunately Japans winning goal came from Ingham’s flank when Inui crossed it from the left by-line.  Very good experience for the 18-year-old but is he the best option moving into a World Cup playoff? At this time, he is too rash, inadequate positioning and just too inexperienced as he has more international caps than A-League appearances. Nevertheless, the future looks bright for Ingham if he can keep himself fit.

The Reid effect

It was great to have Reid back in the heart of the defence and it seems his presence alone gives everyone a lift. He really is a class above and his leadership, aerial ability and overall talent is priceless, will definitely be needed if the All Whites were to have a chance in November. His ability to help cover both wing backs if they were beaten, step into the midfield and move forward on attacking corners – which he almost set up a goal from, truly highlights his class.  Questions moving forward in regard to who will join him in central defence with Tommy Smith still to return from injury and find form while Durante and Boxall are both putting in decent shifts to prove they be in the starting 11.

 

Reid
Winston Reid per Getty Images 

 

Conclusion

It was a very good test from a Japan side which was certainly not weak. Yes, they did not have same key players but did have some big names who play in Europe’s top divisions. Great to see the All Whites play a nation that will be similar to the South American side they will play in November and it proved to be a promising test. The final score 2-1 to Japan proved to be bittersweet for the All Whites who were only topped by a soft penalty and knowing they could of held out for a draw.

 

FC Twenty 11: 1 vs Cashmere Technical: 2

Screen Shot 2017-08-23 at 12.50.06 pm.png

A nice evening at English Park saw FC Twenty take on title challengers Cashmere Technical. Cashmere needed a win to ensure that they were still in the title hunt come the last round of the season. It was the experienced Cashmere Technical side vs a youthful FC Twenty 11 side which Cashmere ultimately pipped 2-1 winners.

Starting Formations
FC Twenty 11 lined up in a 4231 formation with 6 players under the age of 21. The backline that shielded goalkeeper, Daly, consisted of right back Anton Smith, the skipper Goodhall, #3 and Vannoort at left back. Two solid holding midfielders in Caitlow and Paul kept their position and rarely advanced forward leaving the attacking quartet to do their job. Starlet playmaker Clark played ‘in the hole’ as a 10 with a very fast rotating three in front of him which included Callum Smith, Bergin and promising young forward Richards.

Cashmere Technical remained in their regular 433 but saw some personnel changes from what would be their regular starting 11. Knight was in goal with the Schwarz brothers pairing in central defence. Right back was Field who held his position and on the left side of defence was Boys who was more adventurous going forward. The midfield three had Halligan as the deep lying distributor, Kelly slightly ahead of him and Matthysen the most advanced of the three who Cashmere tended to attack through. Matthysen, a natural winger, played as an attacking midfielder with license to roam about moving out wide or into the channels to good effect. Thoms started as the right winger and played quite a traditional winger role by keeping width, allowing the channels to open up for Matthysen to exploit. When Thoms did tuck in, Matthysen could end up out wide which created attacking variance. McDonald started out on the left, and White started up top as the 9, moving into channels.

FC vs Tech

Lineups (apologies to FC Twenty 11’s centre back as I could not source his name)

Nervous FC
1st half saw a very shaky and nervous FC Twenty 11 side that was very rushed. They lacked composure at the back and in the midfield resulting in poor decision making. They would hold on to the ball when they should have played it and played it when they had more time and space. This resulted in high turnovers from the defence who tended to kick it long and the holding midfielders got dispossessed too easily resulting in some scrappy midfielder play. It looked like a side which was missing a key leader, a player to keep the ball and recycle it, perhaps they missed Canterbury Dragon, Sean Morris. Clark, who played as the 10 was very lively however, getting on the ball and trying to make things happen but most of the time the ball struggled to get to him. The front 3 worked hard and showed signs of unsettling Cashmere’s build-up play but in possession would fail at beating their man and getting any shot away. It took 20 minutes for FC Twenty 11 to finally get their first shot which came from Richards. Cashmere Technical had the work rate and had the fitness of an elite side, defending with 10 players at all times compared to FC’s 8 which you just cannot afford to do against a side like Cashmere Technical. It was a game of two halves for FC though, as they came to life in the 2nd half.

Cashmere Technical struggle to make their attacks count
It was a frustrating game for Cashmere Technical for both their players and their supporters, constantly watching chances go to waste. Creating perhaps no clear-cut chances in the first half, they did manage to create a couple of half chances, but that was it. Their 1st half goal came from a free kick sent in from Boys which resulted in an own goal from a FC Twenty 11 defender. But attacks constantly being over run out of play and multiple chances went a miss and it was a rare off day for all time MPL leading scorer Michael White. This led to Tom Schwarz start attacking more, seeing him overlap the left flank and even pop up in the opposition box at times.

Seth Clark
The youngster did very well in the midfield for FC Twenty 11, getting on the ball as much as he could and never shy of taking on players and started the attacks for FC. His agility and ball control allowed him to skip past even the most physical and best tacklers in the league which were up against him. Majority of what FC Twenty 11 did was through Clark, he just lacked a killer ball at times or did not have an end product ahead of him. Along with his technical ability he seemed to have a good work rate, helping defend and could often been seen deeper than the two holding midfielders in his team. He did at times take too many touches and hold the ball longer than need but has plenty of potential.

FC’s 2nd half press
This, in my eyes, was the game changer. From the go they were pressing aggressively and much more cohesively than in the first half. The pace of FC’s front line had Cashmere’s defence and deep midfield very unsettled which led to some great chances from FC. Halligan was a victim of this press as he was substituted for Ogilvie in the 52nd minute. FC grew in confidence, especially Richards, and it started to look like a more even game. Richards was very lively in the 2nd half, constantly on the move up top making some clever runs even if he still struggled 1 vs 1 against Boys who was unbeatable. Ogilvie managed to sure things up in midfield as Cashmere started to get back into the game after the hour mark. But FC Twenty 11 then popped up with the equaliser in the 70th minute as Richard cut in on his right foot and hit a shot that Knight could only deflect to Callum Smith’s substitute, Michael White (of FC) to tap home to make it 1-1. Much to the admiration of Ferrymead Bays FC players sitting in the stands.

ISPS Handa Chatham Cup quarterfinal - Nelson Suburbs v Cashmere Tech, 6 August 2017
A strong performance by Boys

Conclusion
After FC’s goal, Cashmere desperately tried to grab a winner by throwing men forward. They knew nothing but a win would most definitely hand the MPL title over to Ferrymead Bays. After a constant bombardment of chances and corners, Cashmere did grab their winning goal through Tom Schwarz after a goal mouth scramble in the 92 minute. Very unlucky for FC Twenty 11 as they just had their goalkeeper taken off with an injury a minute previously. This result means there is all to play for come the last round of the 2017 Mainland Premier League.