The match against GIF Sundsvall was not only a good result but also a good experience for the team, myself and also for the coaching staff – the match ended 2-1 to Rotherham United.
The warm-up before the game was not brilliant for us, the passing was not accurate and no one could keep hold of the ball. I think the main reason for this was it was our first game and some of the lads were a bit over keen and needed to relax a bit.
Soon after the warm up we were heading back to the changing rooms to start our pre-match team talk. Steve told us the starting eleven and also had a word with us about relaxing and playing our own game.
Kick off came soon after that, GIF Sundsvall won the toss and decided to let us have kick off. We were straight on the attack from the whistle with a ball out wide from Grant to Craig who delivered the ball into the box for the keeper to collect. The ball was then rolled out to the centre-half who hit a long ball over the top which we failed to deal with and ended with a clinical bottom corner finish from the Sundsvall centre forward.
Being a goal down after 40 seconds was probably the worst possible scenario! But our heads didn’t go down, we came back strong with some good attacking play and keeping our shape better. Soon came the 20 minute mark and with some good play down the right hand side the ball was cut back from the end line to be put away by Connor Hiley (Foxy).
At this point we were on top and the better team, plenty of chances came before the half-way mark but niether team were able to score which left the game at 1-1 heading back in at half time.
There were 6 changes made at half time including myself. Sundsvall kicked off the second half but we soon retrieved the ball and then we were off on the attack, dominating most of the play creating chance after chance but no end product. There were a few risky moments and a few bad passes which allowed Sundsvall to break but apart from that they struggled to break down the team shape and defence.
A good standard of football was played for the rest of the match until our dominance payed off with Foxy bagging his second of the nite in the 75th minute. The ball was played down the right hand side from Mark Hemsley to Craig Gladwin who delievered a pin-point cross for Foxy to head the ball straight passed the Sundsvall keeper.
From then on it was all about playing keepball and stopping Sundsvall attacking. Soon came the final whistle and we had secured 2-1 victory and a win for the first game of the season!
The surface of the pitch was spot on, it allowed both teams to play good standard and enjoyable football for the staff and the fans who had come to watch. Although there were not many fans the atmosphere was still buzzing!
The Swedish team had a different style of play to us, and although it did not bring them victory, it was very effective. The game was a good warm-up match for us and most of the lads I have spoken to are looking forward to the tournament on Saturday.
This morning we had a light training session and debrief with Steve about how the game went we talked about the negatives and positives. We are now on the way to team building which I will talk about in my next blog! Hope everything is well!