Coach’s Corner: Force in Jacksonville


Training was severely interrupted by the weather this week in terms of the length of time we were able to work however, the quality of what was achieved was very good. It should also be noticed that all of the boys living in digs have been conducting camps all week. Some boys were conducting inner city camps while the rest did camps locally for Knoxville players.

We traveled down to Florida (a 9 hour drive) on Friday lunchtime and arrived at the hotel at 10 pm. The players were assigned their rooms and went to bed. Breakfast in the morning was followed by a pool session then it was rest, lunch, a short walk, before getting to the field 100 minutes before the KO. Our warm up went well but with a storm circling around the area, there was a feeling that the game might have weather breaks for lightening. This break for lightening did happen after 38 minutes of the game.

We did start the game well with our midfield players coming to play.  Fubi and Alesi competed very well throughout the game and they set the tone for the rest of the team. There were a few chances for both teams prior to the break but the 2 most influential incidents were the injury to Ben after a poor challenge on him. He was forced out of the game and was replaced by Nahome who was involved in the 2nd incident: He picked up the ball and dribbled into the box and was taken down by the defender from Jacksonville, the referee failed to award what was a clear penalty and the game played out to the break for lightening. This was the 2nd week in a row that our match was halted for lightening and the instruction for this match was to try and get a goal before half time just incase the game was called due to the weather.

When the game resumed, our players really took the game to Jacksonville and created some good opportunities. But, as has happened all season, we never took our opportunities with any conviction. What then changed the game was another feature of our season;  2 individual mistakes within 2 minutes of each other resulting in 2 goals. If is very frustrating for the coaching staff to lose goals like this as it seems to be a different player each time making the schoolboy error. When we got in at half time the tone really was to put things right and make up for the errors.

The 2nd half we started very well and again should have scored inside 30 seconds. Nahome who was out to atone for his error took on 2 players and provided a great cross that found Greg inside the 6 yard box with only the keeper to beat, sadly the keeper got into the right spot and kept the ball out. This chance was followed by 3/4 more that again were NOT finished with any conviction. The team had definitely come out strong and were very much in the game. What then happened was another individual mistake that lead to a 3rd goal that really killed the game off. We finished the game by making 6 substitutions, giving almost all of the players some valuable playing time on what was a long trip. The result was definitely not a reflexion of our performance but goals win games and at the moment, we cannot even buy a goal.

With 4 games left, we will continue to work hard to secure another couple of wins and finish the season off as strong as we can.

This first season has been an eye opener for the players who must now learn from their experiences and see if they can perform at this level going forward. It is a testing time for the team, as we go into the final straight of the season. The need to get a win or two is still very much in the coaches sites and the players will be challenged right up to the final game to make this happen. Lessons have been learnt and will continue to be learnt as we strive to build the Force as a club that is able to compete at this level.

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