Match Report: Saturday 18th November
Leyland & Chorley Mens 2nd 1-3 Fylde Mens 2nd
Fylde travelled to the beautiful village of Buckshaw to take on Leyland and Chorley, and started in the worst possible way by shipping a goal in the first five minutes. It's a bad habit that the team have picked up, losing concentration, however briefly, and again it cost them. Fortunately that was the low point of the afternoon. 15 minutes into the first half, Saint Thomas picked up the ball on the right wing, moved back inside and fed Peter Stringfellow who paused, waited for the run of Hasoon and picked him out with a dreamy defence splitting pass, who finished unnerringly. 9 goals in five starts for the Harpoon. Fylde had a bit of a wobble straight after the goal, and nearly gifted Leyland a goal with a horrific pass back into their own D by the moron at left back. Leyland however much much sharper in defence than up front and Fylde escaped. Player-coach Walliams, 'Blazing' Sadler and the Harpoon, alongside newly elevated Jay Jay Okocha were constantly stretching Leyland in possession, and pressing to great effect. Walliams received the ball in the D and cleverly flicked it reverse stick onto the foot of a defender. Slightly too cleverly, because neither umpire saw it. The next time there was no mistake, took the ball in the D, teased the defender going right, dropped a shoulder, got the reverse shot away and Fylde 2-1 up at half time.
Fylde started the second half full of confidence, and although stretched at times, The Tiller, Wholemeal and Milner all showed why this Fylde defence has improved dramatically since the Windermere horror show. In particular, Miller has taken a commanding role, organising and reading the game exceptionally well. Two short corners awarded to Leyland were dealt with reasonably well, and while Fylde weren't quite comfortable, the frenetic activity of Dickens in chasing down everything in midfield made it very diffcult for Leyland to build concerted attacks. Fylde eventually put the game to bed in the last 10, with the Typhoon finishing clinically again. 10 goals in 5 games. Fylde confident, yet another new formation successfully trialled, and the whole team showing that coaching instructions have been heeded.
Head Coach Stephen Williams registered to play Mens 2's got on the scoresheet
Match Report: Saturday 25th November
Fylde Mens 2nd 2-2 Lytham St Annes Mens 2nd
Lytham 2s visited Mill Farm, with the usual massive hype around the battle for mid table supremacy raging. Fylde went through the now regular procedure of ensuring a more challenging game by allowing Lytham to score in the first two minutes. It's such a simple task to rectify this, it's really not rocket surgery. If you're not between our goal and their player in possession at kick off, you need to be.
So, challenge on, Fylde confident through good recent results, but needing to translate this into points against slightly better teams. As is often the case though, Fylde, rather than raising their game in the face of pugnacious opposition, responded in kind and played a disjointed, inelegant and ultimately ineffective game. There were short passages of good play, but some clumsy challenges from both teams, as well as hail showers requiring a change of ball, meant the game never flowed. The team's set up was probably not right, but the half wit at left back was too slow to pick up on this and will be dropped for next week.
Mayne, whose running was the basis for all of Fylde's good play, demonstrated this all too clearly by being repeatedly forced to defend deep.
A short for Fylde was injected by the excellent Coles (who later missed scoring the winner by a whisker), stopped by Hasoon, flicked into the top corner by Sempers, with exceptional technique. Fylde put themselves in the lead through Sempers again, who took the ball past four defenders before unleasing an unstoppable shot. Sometimes when the passing isn't working, you have to take things into your own hands.
So Fylde 2-1 up and a question to the umpire about the time remaining revealed the team's anxiety: 25 minutes. The equaliser came with 10 minutes left, and Fylde were struggling to control the game against the two Lytham attacking midfielders: these guys could almost certainly play at a higher level if they chose. The home team didn't treat the ball with the value it needed. Without the ball, you can do nothing, so look after it! Two minutes to go and Fylde were pulled appart at the back, the keeper charged out and missed everything, to leave the Lytham centre forward with a tap in. Holman tried to intercept but only managed a foot. Lytham penalty flick to win the game. Williamson stepped up and made the save to his right, wisely choosing not to dive. The game eneded 2-2. A fair result. The highlight of the day was the chicken curry at the Stanley Arms: absolutely delicious!
Sempers - Brace again to take tally to 6 for the season
Match Report: Saturday 11th November
Fylde Mens 2nd 4-3 Preston Mens 5th
Fylde lined up against bitter local rivals Preston, a rivalry dividing families, the city, and possibly even the country. Donald Trump has yet to reveal his allegiance, but after today, he's a coaster. With 11 men and no subs, the task before Fylde was simplified somewhat; 4-4-2, everyone plays the whole game.
The game ebbed and flowed in the opening 15 minutes, with Fylde, utilising the incomparable Simpson and the mercurial Sadler in central midfield to good effect, having the lion's share of possession. Chances came and went, but were not converted. What always happens next: of course, Preston scored. A nothing hit through the middle, a miscalculation from the defense, and Preston 1-0 up. Half way through the first half, Preston struck again, this time from a decent attack, the ball pinging around in the D until it was put past Williams. Preston 2-0. Why. The. Face. As the kids say nowadays.
When you're 2-0 down and it's against a decent, but by no means better team, you have to convert your chances. Sadler took things into his own hands, teased the defense down the right wing, turned the full back inside out, went deep and cut back for Hasoon, who finished at the near post, the keeper static. Irresistible hockey. Fylde invigorated, Preston watchful
The running of Coles down the left and Thomas down the right were causing problems for Preston, and the effective recycling allowed the pressure to be maintained. Holmes was a constant thron in the side of Preston, with his running facilitating Hasoon's appraoch play. A short corner was converted by Hasoon at the second attempt, a contentious decision which was only awarded after a protracted umpire discussion. This was the turning point of the game, and shortly afterwards came half time.
Fylde were full of energy, and in the middle 40 minutes or so of the game played their best hockey of the season. This was charcaterised by the simplicity of fast first time passes, rather than waiting for players to close us down and then trying to play through them. Holman at centre back was immense, and showed excellent judgement at drawing in the pressing players, then either distributing or taking the ball into midfield himself. Dickinson was his usual fantastically energetic self, the type of player we need: plays anywhere, is able to play anywhere, never moans. Milnes showed moments of genuine class, although occasionally needs to adopt a slightly more agricultural approach to last man challenges. Fylde were irrepressible, and more great work from the Sadler-Simpson axis led to Simpson finishing for 3-2 to Fylde.
Hasoon, in concert with Holmes, continued to terrorise the Preston defense, dropping deep to collect the ball, then turning and driving into the D. Hasoon completed an impressive hattrick, and with Fylde now 4-2 up, surely the game was up? Not so fast. Preston were far from finished, and some hesitation in the Coaster defense let Preston back in the game, the ball curiously appearing to baffle the motionless Fylde keeper, who despite his best efforts, was unable to effect a save by telekinesis. 4-3. Fylde haven't had much practise at closing out games this season, because they've usually been staring down the barrel of defeat, but some of this was garbage. Neverthless, Fylde held on, and demonstrated precisely how hockey can be played, and how it must be played, because it is so much more enjoyable and effective. If we can do this for 50, 60, or even 70 minutes in a game, the only way is up. MOTM award impossible.
Sadler - took things into his own hands
Match Report: Saturday 4th November
Lancaster & Morecambe Mens 2nd 4-2 Fylde Mens 2nd
After a first win of the season, suspiciously in the absence of the current captain (correlation or causation? Who knows), Fylde returned to the same venue for a tougher encounter with Lancaster and Morecambe 2s. A breathless first ten minutes was characterised by the running and interplay of Coles, Hasoon and Holmes in the final third. Hasoon's intelligent runs and exceptionally calm finishes left Lancaster trailing by two goals and Fylde rampant.
The game slowed down a little, the youngster Williams joined the fray, and Lancaster began to exert some pressure. Of particular note was the simple, and almost ubiquitous, use of an effective pivot when in possession. Fylde take note. Fylde's attacks were invariably aggressive and direct, but retention of possession after crossing the half way line was rare.
Fylde conceded twice before half time, one resulting from a stretched defence struggling with the movement of Lancaster, the other all but dealt with by the keeper, but just rolling over the line.
Half time came and gave Fylde the chance to regroup and assess how to approach the second half. Ball retenion was key. The hopeless Fylde left back had seen way too much of the ball, and only the exemplary trio of Slater (with his insane formation ideas of 1-2-1-1-1-1-1-1-1), Milnes (debutant, very promising start) and 'The Exocet' Holman were keeping Fylde in game.
Midway through the second half, Lancaster made the breakthrough with a flick, awarded for a blocked shot on goal. Fylde really had no option but to attack, and this allowed Lancaster to score an easy fourth, although not before the perfect demonstration of 'how not to do it' from a Fylde short corner. Ball played in, runners bypassed, just the keeper to beat. The short corner routines will be practised this week!
It could have been worse but for a couple of inpsired interceptions by Knott, enjoying a resurgence of form.
A disappointing result, but at least it's very clear precisely what we need to work on. No videoing required here. Or perhaps what we need to work on again, and actually implement.
Lund - 'Clear what we need to work on'
Match Report: Saturday 28th October
Lancaster & Morecambe Mens 3rd 2-8 Fylde Mens 2nd
It had been a long time coming but finally 3 points on the board and Lund's Mens 2nds are on the move up the table, and in what better way that an emphatic win away in Lancaster. Lund missing the game leaving stand in skipper A.Brandwood with the enviable task of getting a tune out of a free-falling team, answering that call, Brandwood seems to have got the result required from his players.
In the first couple of minutes Fylde found themselves in the lead, Stringfellow capitalised on some space around the top of the D vacated by Lancaster defenders before sending the ball into the top right corner of the goal to show how the youngsters how to do it!
Sempers then got into the goalscoring mindset himself by racking up two more for the coasters before Hasoon added to make it 4-1 at half time.
After the break, the opposition countered and broke through to get one back. But that didn't stop Ollie from getting two more goals for the whites - one a superb chip. In the end Sempers and Hasoon extending their goal hauls further to make it 8-2 at the final whistle. The coasters travelling back with the points and a great morale boost heading into next week, where they play..... yes Lancaster & Morecambe 2s, who will not doubt want to exact revenge for their 3rd team. Stay tuned
Sempers - Hat-trick
to be done, but the boys are in good spirits
to be done, but the boys are in good spirits
Match Report: Saturday 21st October
Fylde Mens 2nd 2-5 Formby Mens 3rd
Another horrible scoreline belies what was a genuinely solid performance for the majority of the game. Unfortunately, playing well for the majority of the game often isn't enough to take points from a match.
The game started promisingly enough, two reasonably well balanced teams, chances for both sides, with Fylde taking the lead through a great move down the right, with Hasoon finishing at the far post midway through the first half. Formby levelled not long after through a short that bounced around the area, but in the intervening period, Knott pulled off a superb save and clearance from the deck after another Formby short corner. A fairly awarded flick against Fylde was brilliantly pushed wide by Knott. And this guy wants to play outfield?
Anyway, a half time talk by the left back E. Valdez reminded the team how important keeping shape and focussing on the basics were. Early in the second half, this was completlely ignored by the imperious Simpson. Quick, incisive passes from the back, through Stringfellow, onto the advancing Simpson who invited the Formby plastic scousers to 'come and have a go'. Player after player dived in, Simpson stayed low, balanced and smashed it into the back of the net from the edge of the area. Beautiful. Fylde delirious, Formby stunned.
The home team's high back line forced Formby to rethink and they started to play a much more direct game, also known as the SW19 style, coinciding with Stringfellow taking a well deserved break. A long ball not dealt with, 2-2. This was the point where Fylde needed to regroup and consolidate with a game still in the balance. The loss of Dickinson carrying an injury coupled with a dearth of defenders in the team and a slightly confused reshuffle meant Fylde lost their shape and failed to deal with another long ball. The keeper was forced into a rash tackle; flick given. 3-2. The home team decided collectively to throw the coaching manual out the window, and consequently conceded two more goals, although Knott guided another flick wide.
Searching for goals always leaves teams open to being hit on the break, but when these goals come from unnecessary risk taking in areas of the pitch where we can pose no threat, they're inexcusable. A fair amount of responsibility for this lies with the captain, but players need to ask themselves this: am I playing any differently because of the coaching? The answer has to be yes. Coaching this season has entailed discussions about where and when to take risks, maintaining width in possession but defending narrow, getting tackles in outside the area, taking greater care of the ball when in possession, amongst others. By a spooky coincidence, observation of these could have led to Fylde's first points of the season, however, these will now be awarded next week, which is of course Halloween.
Simpson smashing the ball into the net from the edge of the area
Match Report: Saturday 7th October
Fylde Mens 2nd 1-2 Ormskirk Mens 2nd
Fylde M2 entertained Ormskirk M2s at Mill Farm on a slightly damp and grey day, but the hockey played was anything but. Fylde adapted well to a tactical change of shape and stuck to it throughout the first half. It paid dividends, a high back line allowed a flowing move through the midfield which culminated in Hasoon penetrating the Ormskirk back line and crossing to Blackburn who finished calmy at the back post. No more than Fylde deserved, Stringfellow rolling back the years to exert control in midfield, alongside the debutant Tom Hodson, superb throughout, showing how to combine defence and attack without cavalier risk taking.
1-0 up at half time and a job half done, but this was to be the definitive game of two halves. Ormskirk realised the futility of high forwards with a midfield forced back by the rampaging trio of Thomas, Blackburn and Hope. Hope provided stability, vision and ball retention in the middle of the field, but some poor communication, substandard captaincy and random substitutions meant the shape, and the impetus, was lost. The equaliser came early in the second half, Fylde dispossessed through carelessness by one of the less hirsute veterans at the back and a slightly fortunate finish, with the excellent Hollett possibly unsighted.
Ormskirk began to dominate possession, and despite the constant intelligent running of Holmes in the lone striker role, and the great touches applied by Hasoon in support, Fylde were failing to keep the ball and striuggling to cope with the relentless attacks. Ormskirk's late goal proved to be the winner, similar to the first, an unfortunate defensive error with a resulting shot on goal that, another day, might've been dealt with easily. Holmes and Dickinson were outstanding in defence and the bedrock of the team. It's nice to win, but when you play a game and battle like this, losing isn't the end of the world. This is how hockey should, and increasingly will, be played by the team.
MOTM Drew Dickinson
Midfield Controller - Martin Stringfellow
Match Report: Saturday 30th September
Preston Mens 5th 4-0 Fylde Mens 2nd
Fylde M2s travelled all the way to Kirkham for the away fixture against Preston 4s, a gruelling 5 minute journey.
A strong team with two debutants and a new formation were grounds for optimism, and throughout the first half, Fylde showed great application to restrict Preston to a few (actually quite a lot) of short corners. 0-0 at half time, Hollet suberb in goal, Brandwood demonstrating the kind of form that could see him promoted to the 1s. A battling first half.
Perhaps inevitably, early in the second half, the goal came when a decent Preston move was finished with a tap in at the back post by the unmarked right winger, despite the Fylde left back urging him to not run quite so fast, as it wasn't fair. A second goal from a short came not long after, the keeper proving human after all. A third from a flick and a late fourth gave the scoreline a reasonable reflection of the game.
The coach's speech was reminiscent of Roosevelt's at the Sorbonne: it's the battling and taking part that counts. Fylde have some lessons to learn, amongst them the need for the defence to position themselves higher up the pitch, to have faith in their own distribution, to get the tackles in earlier before the opponents reach the D, to distribute forcefully. These things will come, the team is very lucky to have some supremely talented youngsters, attention and effort at training will pay off.
Match Report - Andy Lund (Captain, Men's 2), Picture Right
2nd XI Captain - Andy Lund