I should say at this point that rather than stumbling blindly into the challenge this league is offering like a drunken rambler into a ravine we are very aware of how we went wrong and what we can do to fix it. The frustrating aspect of it is that the formula for success is so simple. It is making sure those simple but crucial moments go our way more often than they don't. These fine margins are to be the furnace in which our season is going to be fired into fuel or burned to ash, it is where we are going to win or lose and where we are going to have to play our hardest and put our best effort in. The fine margins are no secret to anyone so I feel free to label them here. I'm talking about the crucial touches of a games. A tackle, a save, a finish, a key pass or a good call. Getting those key moments right and wrong was what was separated us from victory last week. The obvious one to pick out was our finishing. We had several good chances to score goals last week when at 1-0 up, 1-1 all and 1-2 down and fluffed them. Now as a forward I feel I can speak for the lot of us by saying that our frustration was palpable both during and after the game. With missing goals you want to be careful not to turn it into a complex and instead try rope it off as 'just one of those things'. In our league we're going to get better defenders and better keepers so we'll have to rise to that and place our shots better. On the same note it's 'just one of those things' that isn't going to happen again.
It's not just getting the right angle on your tap in that is crucial though. Those defensive tackles, blocks, and saves are all going to play their role as well. We could have lost 5-1 at the weekend if our opposition had not been guilty of some 'nailed on dick-of-the-day' antics. I still can't decide if I prefer the 'backsticking the ball over the line when it was going in anyway' effort or the 'beat two defenders and the keeper then hit a stand up reverse stick bat shot so bad it drifts off well wide of the open net' that had me and my marker laughing. My point is we were as lucky as we were unlucky last week. Now I'm not sure what the best way of homing in of these areas is or what tactics we need to change as I think that answer lies on an individual to get right but I do know that we play our best stuff when we're focused and pushing ourselves and each other to give everything in a game. So that would be my one-liner for a quick-fix remedy; 'give them everything you have' (house keys, PIN numbers and quality graffiti style print t-shirts being obvious exceptions to that rule).
So the wagon roles on and after 4 consecutive home games and 4 weeks of appalling icy-cold, dripping-like-a-rusty-tap, embarrassing-to-the-club 'showers' we finally get to get the Sale show on the road. I say on the road, our first away game sees us playing Brooklands (which, atlas fans, is a part of Sale!). Because we are Sale but play in Whalley Range our first away game of the season will ironically be played closer to our club house home than our own home pitch, all of which probably means this will be the only week that H does directions and the only week we won't need them. I'm going to bill this as a 'local derby' game to decide who has the bragging rights down the J.P Joule this Saturday (as if anyone in the J.P. Joule has ANYTHING to brag about). I missed training this week so can't offer much in the way of our collective attitude towards this encounter but if the lads are as fired up for it as I am it should be another entertaining contest.
Song of the Week
In keeping with the theme of working on the tight bits in games that separate a win from a loss I've gone for a song (like usual) based purely on name. I am happy this week however to admit to being a proper real genuine fan of this song and the band that perform it. Sadly, I think that being able to use songs I really like could become a rare occurrence over the season so I hope you'll join me in enjoying this song by the 'so hot right now' (Zane Lowe voice optional) band known as The Black Keys, the track is called Tighten Up:
Thanks again folks and maybe next time you won't have to wait until Thursday to get an update. Be sure to check back next week for more spiel, hopefully winning spiel! I'll also finally get to debut my brand new feature... The Tea's league! For hockey players this will be a fairly easy to work out feature, if you're not a player, well come and check it out next week, all shall be revealed...