LFE Blog

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Tim Hopkinson - Nottingham Forest FC

Terriers Take Three Points

21/11/08 |

We won convincingly at the weekend and even though there were areas we can still work on the week was pretty straight forward and consisted of quite a lot of football fitness.

On Monday we had our normal double day in which we did quite a lot of possession work in the morning and in the afternoon we did work with the technical coach on our skills again doing different little drills to work on dropping our shoulders and getting past players. We were focussing on getting low and changing pace to get away from players.

On Tuesday we had a half day which wasn’t too bad because the Reserves had a game at the City Ground during the afternoon. This meant we were on ball-boy duty but we had the afternoon off from training and the rest was appreciated. That evening I went to the gym with my friend James and did weights but mainly just went in the pool and jacuzzi to relax which was good.

On Wednesday we had our final assessments for our Level 2 Coaching certificates. Not all of us were going to be doing them, but we didn’t know until the day who was doing what and when. I was up third and had to coach short passing in my session. We had done a rehearsal the week before and got a quick feel for it so I was fairly confident with what I was doing this week.

The session started off smoothly and was going well, I got in and demonstrated the techniques they should be doing. However, as the session went on and I went in to the match play, I found it quite hard to see things from the side that were specific to my set subject of short passing. It was weird because sometimes I would see little things that I didn’t think were a big enough problem to bring up. I didn’t really see anything jump out at me that was completely wrong, although the selection of pass some lads chose wasn’t the best.

From this experience I found that coaching is quite hard and you have to be just as focused as when you are playing to identify things players could improve on. Apart from that, I enjoyed the session and now have to wait until early December to see if I have passed.

Match – Huddersfield Town v Nottingham Forest

On Saturday we had our first away game in about a month at Huddersfield. I hate away games because I am not the best person for travelling, but the journey for once wasn’t all that bad – it took just over an hour and a half.

At Huddersfield it’s quite funny because one of their security men is a keen Forest fan and he always wears his Red’s shirt, so we picked him out as we arrived cheekily wearing his bright red Forest shirt underneath his Huddersfield tracksuit jacket!

The pitch at Huddersfield is quite a distance away from the changing rooms, it’s about a ten minute walk through a load of trees to get to the pitch. After our walk to stretch our legs and have a look at the pitch, we went back and got changed ready for the game. The changing rooms were tight as anything, but that wasn’t the worst part, it was one of the lads letting rip in such a confined space that was bad!

We had our team talk and walked down to the pitch to our warm up, we were focussed on having a bright start to the game and as we got towards the end of our warm up we seemed switched on for the game. In the first half we started off brightly and pinned them in putting pressure on their backline, which is a blower for me as a striker closing down defenders, but when we do it well as a team we win the ball in good positions.

We made a few chances and limited Huddersfield to only long range shots from what I can remember in that first half. After about 20 minutes we got a break through. I latched on to a quick flick on from Hooky and took a touch which sort of flicked it past the defender in the middle of their half which gave me a chance to run into space and slide it in to the bottom left hand corner from just inside their box. We deserved to be in the lead because we had made a few decent chances so we went in to the break 1 – 0 up when we could have possibly been 2 or 3 up.

I felt happy with how I had played in the first half because I had got on the ball and worked hard, but I did lose the ball a couple of times which frustrated me. Second half we started in the same way as we had in the first and we withheld Huddersfield’s pressure because they were obviously going to come at us immediately with them playing at home and being behind.

We made a couple of half chances but no clear cut chances and we were punished for it with around twenty minutes to go when we conceded after a defensive mistake. A short while later we conceded a second when our goalkeeper was clearly impeded by a striker. He went to catch the ball from a corner, lost his balance and one of their players blasted in from six yards out. Even after watching the DVD it was clear he had been pushed, but things like that happen and the referee misses them, that’s just football.

Unfortunately we couldn’t find a way back in to the game even though we tried and the final score was 2 – 1 which was very disappointing both as a team and personally. We’d done really well in the first half and then lost it through careless mistakes and not seeing the game out properly. I was disappointed with the way I played second half because I felt I didn’t get in to the game as much.