SJFA U10 vs Chalfont St Peter

The SJFA Tier 3 has almost 60 registered players, a manager, and three coaches.

Chalfont St Peter vs SJFA
I was very excited to be playing Chalfont St Peter once again. We had beaten them earlier in the season, and it would be a good test to play them again.
When we arrived, we agreed to play 9 a-side. Now, this was a new format for us, with huge goals and a very large pitch.

Our squad managed by Bruce was:
Jaabir Walji (GK)
Alireza Hamir (captain)
Ali Mehdi Abbas Ismail
Muhammad Aqeel Mavani
Abbas Chandoo
Ammaar Bandali
Husayn M H Merali
Ali Rayhan Merali
Rohan Malik

First quarter
We lined up in a 3-3-2 formation with Abbas, Husayn and Muhammad in defence, Ali, Alireza, and Ali Rayhan in the middle, and Ammaar and Rohan as strikers.

For some reason, the boys played very deep. Our defence was not settled, and could not get the ball out of our half for a while. Chalfont took their chances and we were 4-0 down in no time.

Second quarter
I changed things around. I replaced Abbas with Ali Rayhan in defence and pushed Husayn into midfield, playing a 2-4-2 formation. This started to work well. Our naturally attacking players started to run with the ball and find more passes. One error cost us and we lost the quarter 1-0. Alireza played very well and made some excellent runs.

Third quarter
Again I persevered with this system and encouraged the boys to move forward and not get pegged back. Rohan really started to show some amazing skills. He was running at the opposition and taking them on. We just did not have the finishing touches.

Again, due to a couple of mistakes, we conceded twice. We were thrown a lifeline with a penalty, but unfortunately it was hit wide. That was a real let off for Chalfont.

Fourth quarter
We switched to 2-3-3 for the final quarter. This is probably the most comfortable we looked. However, again with an error, we conceded and the game was finished.

Chalfont St Peter 8 – 0 SJFA

Review and Analysis
No doubt, all the players gave 100% and I am very proud of them.
However, it was not good enough to come back to a team where we had won earlier in the season to lose in this way. The loss does not matter as such, but it is the manner of the loss that left me frustrated.

I felt we should have scored 3, and conceded 3 less than we did. That would have given the score line a little more credibility at 5-3.

Excuses, excuses – ‘thanks but no thanks’
People were very kind and offered excuses – we were without a few strong players, we are not used to 9 a-side, the opposition were much bigger … I say ‘thanks but no thanks’. We must by now be past the stage of excusing ourselves; we must compete much better in such games.

I am working towards building the skills and grit of my players to make sure they compete in every game. Watch this space for some innovations at The Hive practices for Tier 3.

I would like to appreciate Chalfont St Peter. They played well, fairly, and were good sports. Well done to them.

What we learned

  • Attacking formation is the way forward
  • We must work on some basics such as positioning
  • We will talk about role within the team

Selection for games
 Every week at The Hive, the coaches will be looking out for two key qualities: ability and attitude. Such players will be invited to play in the games. It is very important that the players take The Hive practices seriously, and demonstrate their skills every week.

Our motto: we back our skills, no matter who the opposition
This means our boys should feel confident to back their skills no matter what the format, who the opposition, or what surface they play on.

Manager – Tier 3, SJFA