Canterbury were set up in Padmore’s favoured 442 diamond. Knight was in goal with a back four of Field, Dan Schwarz, Tom Schwarz and Liddicoat. The two wingbacks provided the width and were kept very high in possession. Mitchell held the base of the diamond with Clapham and Tongue either side and King speared headed the top. Chang and Harris were the two up top.
Tasman were in a deep 4141 and kept a low block. Clark was in goal and was shielded by Slotemaker and Brown in central defence. Larsen and Cadigan were right and left respectively, both of whom pushed up for attack. Scott sat in front of defence, behind the midfield four and would drop in between the centre backs in possession. Randall was on the right, Boss on the left, with Winterton and Todd-Smith in central midfield. Saiko was the lone man up front and used his size to hold up the play for midfield runners.
Padmore adapts his diamond
The natural problem with a 442 diamond is the lack of width it has. This has been Canterbury’s problem with play being too clustered centrally and unable to get the maximum out of the talent that is Liddicoat. When chasing games, Padmore has even changed to a 4231 late in games to provide more width. Against Tasman, Padmore adjusted his diamond to get more out of the fullbacks, particularly Liddicoat who is great going forward. This saw, in possession, the wide players of the diamond drop to where a fullback would be in the build-up play. This would send Field and Liddicoat right up the pitch to be able to play like wingers. Another adaption was on attack, Tongue would sit with Mitchell forming a double pivot to help protect from any Tasman counter attacks.
Canterbury lacking penetration
Canterbury lacked any real penetration going forward. Neither Chang or Harris looked to get behind Tasman’s defence and rather dropped deep to get the ball in the pockets. Neither Slotemaker or Brown would follow them so the Canterbury strikers were successful in getting on the ball and turning however they often had no one to pass it forward to. Tasman, although in a low block, were not playing so deep that left no space in behind and there some moments where Canterbury were just left predicable. Tom Schwarz looked to be the only play try find an out ball and he did use his long passing to some good affect, but his long rang passing were still only finding a striker coming deep.
Canterbury’s progressive moment
Following on from Canterbury lacking the penetrative pass was the lack of forward movement. This was especially so in the first half as Tasman’s low block was able to deal with all that Canterbury had to offer. However, the second half saw the tempo and intensity increase. Clapham and King bot started making runs beyond the forwards causing Tasman problems. Whilst Harris had a bit more freedom to roam, often dropping deep to almost make another attacking midfielder with King, or drift wide and help overload the right flank. Canterbury finally broke the deadlock after King played it out wide for Harris to dribble to the byline and cross it back to King to volley home making it 1-0. Indeed, it was another forward run from a midfielder that got Canterbury’s second. Schwarz set it long over the top to Clapham to latch onto and after some individual brilliance he was able to place it in the back of the net making it 2-0.
Nelson fail to pounce
Despite playing in a low block and looking to counter, Tasman struggled to counter with any urgency. With play often breaking down with too many touches in the midfield or wayward balls up the field for no runner. Saiko at times was left isolated and so he looked to peel off to the left to combine with Boss and the overlapping Cadigan. However, this was dealt with by Canterbury as Tasman simply took too long to make things happen on the counter allowing Canterbury to get back in shape – particularly with the great defensive work ethic shown by Clapham. Tasman did have some chances to grab a lead, specially through Boss who made a run across goal to latch on a cross from Randall but just scuffing his shot in the process.
Canterbury had to work hard and be patient to finally unlock Tasman’s defence. Tasman had a clear game plan and had some good chances to snatch a lead but just lacked urgency and decision making at times. Canterbury came out for the second half at upped the tempo and forward mentality which finally got them goals. The game then became very open once Tasman had to then chase the game, but Canterbury were able see the game out with a 2-0 win.