BBQ Lunch - With our next match at 4pm we had plenty of time to get some food inside us to maintain energy levels. Dave was on the BBQ for hours cooking burgers, sausages, lamb steaks, the lot! It was a massive help as none of us went hungry and lacking in energy. It also seemed to work for the officials as they seemed to be swarming to our base getting massages and eating food! Massive thanks to Dave who gave a huge effort ensuring all the activities in the base went perfect, from cooking, to cleaning up.
Tactics for Hearts Match - The group had panned out pretty much as expected with both ourselves and Hearts beating Everton and Watford leaving a group decider in the final game. However, with the Internet Millers having superior goal difference to Hearts it meant a draw would see us top the group. There were many discussions and ideas about this match as it was discussed in the camp.
Team vs Hearts - Qualification was assured with 6 points in the bag and therefore instead of playing the same side that started versus Everton and Watford B it was decided that given the performance of the players in the match versus Gillingham it was only fair for a number of them to have a crack at Hearts. Therefore, it was a mixture of players from the opening league games and the friendly against Gillingham. Consequently we reverted back to 442 and knew that if we played the game right we could catch Hearts on the counter. If we could get a few goals up Steve and Jebu would come off to allow symon and chris to have a run out. Therefore a defence of Chris Cope, Denti, Dan, Lee, midfield of Jonny, Andy, Mike, John with Jebu and Steve up front.
HEARTS MATCH REVIEW
ATTACK was the call from the start but the tactics were more to defend and catch on the counter. Hearts started very well and whereas dominated possession early on didn't really fashion out many chances. It was worrying the amount of possession Hearts had in the opening 5 minutes but for all that possession the Internet Millers had the two best chances, both from when Jebu dropped deep picked the ball up on counter and sent through Steve Burns, both occasions the Millers almost got through.
Hearts were getting frustrated at their lack of cutting edge as the Millers identified a number of their key players to keep close to and ensure they couldn't influence the game too much. The young lads were doing everything asked of them without being spectacular and the Millers looked comfortable. One more counter led to a great worked goal by the Internet Millers. Some neat midfield interplay between Mike and Andy fed the ball to Jebu with his back to goal. The two central defenders both came rushing out to shut him down which let Steve Burns dash into space. With a neat back heal it took the two central defenders out of the game, a great first touch by Steve took him clear and he rounded the keeper to finish. The organisation of the middle 4 was strong as we kept our formation well to see it out to half time 1-0 up for a excellent first half.
At half time it was decided that the Jebu/Steve combination could break through Hearts one more time before coming off. So instead of changing at half time we decided to give it 5 more minutes to see if we could get a 2nd to put the game beyond reach. Steve's exact words were, "Jebu I got two more runs left in me, make em good ones".
It worked a treat as inside 2 minutes of the kickoff Jebu dropped deep into midfield, robbed the ball off a midfielder and John delivered a pass to Steve. The big man and hell of a lot left to do with 3 defenders in front of him, he pushed the ball past one, megged the second and then dragged the ball past the third, the keeper came rushing out but it was no use as he fired home. A contender for goal of the tournament against quality opposition. That was just one run not two but straight afterwards both Jebu and Steve came out of the front line to allow Symon and Chris a chance to shine.
Mike was having his best game of the tournament in centre midfield, against some quality opposition the young lad was showing his skills and running the show in the middle of the park. Amazingly the millers stormed into a 3-0 lead after a wonder strike from 25 yards by Mike nestled in the top corner. With about 8 minutes to go the Internet Millers were 3-0 up meaning Hearts needed 4 goals to top the group.
Dazza came onto the pitch for his swangsong but his performance against a strolling Gillingham side at centre back would not be repeatable against the power and pace of the Hearts frontline. We quickly had to get Denti back on into centre back after Hearts made it 3-1 while John2 made way to let Dazza go out wide. Cropper Dazza got his name in the book and a floated ball into the box and a hook shot made it 3-2 and the Millers were hanging on. Nervous supporters looked on but the Millers hung on to record a good revenge job against Hearts.
What was most pleasing about this game is the way a number of key Internet Millers players were rested and until the carnage of the last 7 minutes our tactics worked perfectly. However, even at the end it still allowed General Dazza to get onto the pitch with Hearts needing 4 goals in just 7 minutes. They almost got there though! A fantastic performance nonetheless!
Final Score: Hearts 2:3 Internet Millers
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