|1||Elliot S (8)|
|2||Scott R (8)|
|3||Harry K (8)|
|4||Aidan H (8)|
|5||Sam C (8)|
|6||Ethan H (8)|
|7||Josh K (8)|
|8||Jamie M (8)|
|9||Harry P (8)|
|12||Edward G (8)|
|13||James H (8)|
|14||Sam A (8)|
|15||Sam U (8)|
Raiders Rally to Claim Points
Game two in our first venture into summer football found us back at Hebburn to face newly promoted Ryhope CW.
The Red & Whites have always been a decent team and another who like to get the ball down and play through mid-field to their front men.
With the rotation system in full swing it was the turn of Connor, Reece, Tom and Ben to sit it out but the squad we had to pick from was very strong never-the-less.
For some reason Ryhope won choice of ends and ended up with the kick-off so the game got under way with Raiders playing into the evening Sunshine.
The game itself was a little surprising as if you are a Raiders fan you understand the lads are asked to get the ball down and play a short passing game with lots of movement off the ball, a game where possession is key and the team play as one.
Tonight we started slowly, the passing game wasn’t there at all and we struggled to retain possession against a side that got into our faces and made us play with our down.
However, chances fell to the Sky Blues and we spent quite a bit of time in the opposition final third without taking advantage. Jamie, Harry P and Sam C all came close but the impressive Ryhope keeper held the lads at bay whilst at the other end Elliot was called into action to sweep up some dangerous and clever attacking moves as the Ryhope boys gave it their all.
At half time and a 0-0 score line the lads were reminded as to our method of play and we changed the formation in an attempt to provide some continuity to our game.
Substitutions were made as Edward, James, Sam A and Sam U were added and as the second half began we started to become a little more dominant. The options the players were making were not always coming off but we did look a little more organised and were pressing the opposition in their own half and looking to capitalise on their mistakes.
When the goal came it was cracker. Raiders’ pressure saw the ball being cleared to the edge of the box where Josh had positioned himself and when the ball came to him he manoeuvred it quickly onto his right foot to smack an unstoppable shot high into the net to finally put the lads in front.
I must mention the overall contribution Josh made to the game this evening as he never stopped running throughout and his awareness and drive take his game to a very high standard not only that but he is a great character too.
At one nil up the lads began to look a little more comfortable but Ryhope still gave us some hearts in the mouth moments as they worked hard on the break and looked dangerous when pressing but again the Raiders back four of Elliot, Scott, Edward and Aiden proved formidable in their apatite to hold on to a clean sheet.
With fifteen minutes to go we re-introduced some of the players who had been subbed at half time but before Aiden was replaced by Sam C we gave him the opportunity to stretch his legs down the left and after a man of the match performance in defence he immediately caused problems for the Sunderland boys with his surging runs and clever footwork. Then from a corner he had been instrumental in winning he popped up in the box to put a lovely cushioned header neatly passed the keeper for a goal his performance deserved.
The lads weren’t finished yet and with Sam U playing some short passes from his position in front of the defence out to the willing Sam A it was only a matter of time before the lads created more danger in the opposition area.
It is hard for players to adapt to new positions on the field and Sam A found himself drifting towards centre mid-field from his position on the right a couple of times in the second half but once reminded and when the chance came, he calmly picked up the ball, shrugged off a couple of challenges with strength and close ball control to leave himself on the by-line and with the keeper preparing for a cross Sam saw the gap at the near post and nonchalantly passed the ball over the line.
Final score Raiders 3 Ryhope 0
In summing up I would suggest that a lack of match practice and loss of continuity with our training sessions contributed to a scrappy first half from the lads. Summer football has its challenges and we need to be prepared. I am looking forward to working closely with the squad at the Whiteleas tournament on Saturday.
This feature is currently in development but will be available soon.