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Jon Haynes - Walsall FC

Rallying The Troops

03/08/11 |

Day 8

After travelling from Utrecht to the Papendal and settling in on the Sunday, it was back to work on Monday morning to prepare for our second group game of the tournament against Wycombe.

If we were to win the game we’d have found ourselves in the final on Friday. The lads were in cheerful and raring to go during breakfast after having a good night’s sleep in our new rooms.

Once we had breakfast and had a light bike ride down to the pitches, all of us were warmed up ready for the training session ahead. The session was short and sharp.

It started with a sharp ball drill that moved forward to bring the strikers in by bouncing it off them and producing movement between the midfielders.

We then had a game involving free zones down the flanks which allowed the players on the outside to get in a range of crosses to help us have intelligent movement around goals and able our strikers to become dangerous in the air.

Once the training session was over, the lads had a light ride back to their rooms to have ice baths and showers before eating lunch.

Jon Blogging

After having lunch and relaxing in the dinner hall the lads split back to their rooms and rested or chilled watching television getting in the right frame of mind ready for the game that evening.

By the evening the lads were fresh and raring to go and book their place in the final on Friday.

We went to a conference room to sort out the kit and discover who had been named in the team’s line-up for the match. He then gave us a brief of what he expected out of the game and the things that will help us to win the game.

It was then down the team, the lads got their kits on and travelled down to the pitch to start the warm up for the game. The game began at a very quick tempo and it was pretty even with both teams creating chances and having an equal amount of possession.

Midway through the first half we went ahead through an Arron Williams header off a good Kieron Morris corner.

However they came back into after the goal and kept good possession and they were able to get back on level terms before the break. At half time our manager gave us some advice and told us the way to play against their approach to football for us to get back on top and be able to control the tempo of the game.

This is exactly what we did in the second half and in reward we scored a good early goal through Jason Wellings after a great ball by our midfielder Reece Flannagan.

After this for next 15 minutes it was all us and we could maybe have scored a couple more and this could of cost us as they started to come back into the game.

Thankfully though we scored a third after some substitutions were made which provided some fresh legs and allowed us to bring the tempo back to our game. The goal was scored by Mitch Botfield after a good touch By Jake Heath.

The lads then sat off them and let their centre midfielder run the last ten minutes of the game. This allowed them to have a sniff of revival as they scored a goal a few minutes before the end which made the last few minutes a bit nervous.

Thankfully this was just a consolation goal as we managed to hold on and win the game 3-2.

Jon In The Dugout

Overall this was a good game and we played very well and deserved the win. After the game we had some food to get all the nutrition back in us and then had an early night to get our rest ready for tomorrow and the next game.

Day 9

After a good victory yesterday the lads were able to have a small lie in as we were down for breakfast at 8.30.

The lads woke up very bright and cheerful after a very good game which everyone enjoyed being involved in.

We had our breakfast then got on a bus to have a travel around Arnhem. The first thing we went to see in Arnhem was the war memorial ground. Surprisingly a lot of the lads enjoyed it and were very interested in what happened in World War II and very shocked at the amount of people that died and how young the people were.

After learning a bit about the World War we then went into the centre of Arnhem and had a look around the shops and were able to chill in the sun.

A lot of the lads enjoyed this as the shops were a lot like the ones in England and lads were surprised by the prices and the difference between the prices here and England.

This was also good as we were able to relax and rest our legs before training on the afternoon and our final group game tomorrow.

These trips took us until about 1 which gave us chance to have some dinner and have 2/3 hours to chill before going out to train. In the afternoon alot of the lads wanted to chill so most of the team decided to show off their skills in pub sports of darts and pool.

As a spectator you could tell that some lads had spent more time in pubs than others as some of the lads were very good and had some good contests in both sports.

After a nice break it was time to go back out and train ready for the game tomorrow.

The training session was once again short however it was very bright and sharp.

We again performed some small sharp passing drills and movement throughout the whole team.

Once the tempo was high we then looked at set pieces and little tricks we could use to hurt other teams from set pieces.

This was a very good session before the game as lads felt good and fresh after training session.

We then went back to the hotel and freshened up before having our dinner with rest of the teams. In the evening we had a meeting with our manager about the game yesterday and the game tomorrow night.

After this alot of the lads chilled by the pool table again and some of us went back to our rooms and watched a film. However all the lads were buzzing and couldn’t wait for the game tomorrow evening.