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.
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.
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.
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?
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.