After our recent lack of goal scoring prowess which I documented in my last blog, it came as no surprise, that, as predicted last week’s training schedule concentrated on attacking and finishing.
So, following a decent warm up, we went straight in to shooting drills. Personally I was buzzing, probably more so than usual as I’d been declared fit to train again early that morning. I know people go on about footballers being lazy or not being bothered but I honestly don’t think that’s the case and I’m pretty sure that 99 out of 100 players would rather be out training than be sat in a treatment room or gym!
Anyway moving back to the shooting – the drill involved the keeper pinging (that’s the non-technical term that most players use for a driven pass!) a ball into a player around 30-35 yards away. The player receiving the ball would then play a one two with a midfielder at a slight angle and then go on to finish from just inside the box!
After a few teething problems we managed to get the drill going fairly slickly to a semi-reasonable level – well except the finishing! Let’s just say that was poor! Despite some modifications to the practice to make it more realistic and bring in some real game scenarios the finishing remained a source of disappointment!
We finished our morning with a series of short and sharp small sided games and for many of the 2nd years that concluded training for the day as many were due to feature in Reserve team fixture that evening.
Unfortunately for me and the rest of the 1st years our day was anything but over. After undertaking a weight session in the gym, much to our surprise and chagrin we were told to grab a bike and we set off on our own Tour de Northumberland! Ironically the Tour de Britain had passed us earlier this week and here we were following in their slipstream!
22 miles later and we rode back in to the training ground – the ride had really tested our fitness, but everyone I’m pleased to say tackled it with the right frame of mind.
Training the next day consisted of yet another double session which was finished off with a boxing circuit. Following on from the bikes yesterday this seemed almost back to some semblance of routine!
Friday morning saw us enjoy a 15 minute match against a Newcastle fans team. This allowed us to work on our shape for the weekend’s game and was probably quite beneficial. It was like an extension to shadow play really in that rather than being unopposed and just working on positions and shape in certain circumstances we actually had live opposition who were keen to give a good account of themselves.
We ended the morning with a seven-a-side game which was fun and got everyone hyped for the game the next day.
Saturday’s match against West Brom ended 2 -2 and I was pleased to get a full 90 minutes under my belt. I played as a right-winger before reverting to full-back and did ok, I made sure I kept everything simple although if I did have a criticism it would be that I might have been a little more positive when going forward.
It’s hard to think too much during as game because you’re concentrating on what you need to do and how to help team-mates but afterwards when reflecting you are always able to analyse areas that you personally feel can be improved.
Our first goal was a fine solo effort from Haris Vuckic, who took on two players after some good link up play with Aaron Spear before unleashing a curling shot that flew in the bottom right corner.
Despite a setback when they drew level just before half time – we’d regained our composure and regained the lead early in the second half when Phil Airey made the most of a goalkeeping error and guided a shot in to the top right corner.
By this time I was back at right back and I must admit I thought we had the game sealed. We were defending well, keeping a lid on them as an attacking unit and then out of the blue they converted from an fantastic ball in to the box! It was disappointing conceding with hardly any time left but that’s football for you!