Match Reports

Madison Slashers

U-14 Boys Travel Rec.

Spring 2003

One thing to remember. As a recreational (rec.) team we are constrained by the Southern Central Connecticut Regional Commissioner's unwritten rule that if we won by five goals or more, the head coach of the winning team would have to write to the Commissioner a letter of explanation. If we won by five or more a second time, the youth soccer club President must write a letter of explanation. If it happened a third time, the team would be kicked out of the League and the coach would be suspended. These constraints are only imposed on recreational teams, not competitive (comp.) teams.
12th April, Friendly, Home versus Guilford, Cancelled
Owing to the long, hard winter and extra wet weather at this time, the towns of Madison and Guilford had officially closed their fields.

It is not known at this time if there will be time to make up this friendly game later in the season.
19th April, Friendly, Away versus Branford, Lost 1-8
The Madison Slashers were thrashed 8-1 by Branford today. It was the worst defeat of any of Coach Archer's teams in 12 years and left him to ponder the quality and character of a weak team this season. The proud record of the once mighty Madison Slashers came crashing down in one almighty heap.

To make matters worse Branford played earlier in the morning. You would have thought they would have been a little tired. But The Slashers weren't good enough to take advantage. When Branford were 5-0 up, their coach was taking players off the field. For most of the second half The Slashers were only playing against 9 of Branford's "second string" players and The Slashers still couldn't get by them. That's how bad it was.

The Slashers had 13 today, missing Greg Martin, Jacob Rowland, Devin Briggs, Tion Brett and Phil Prasinos. So, perhaps they may make a difference when they come back.

Branford have a squad of 22 players which includes 4 double-rostered comp players. Today they had 20 players, including all 4 comp players. Branford started the game with all 4 comp players and they completely bossed the game. Owing to their early contribution, The Slashers were 3-0 down after just 12 minutes and the game was effectively over then.

The Slashers defence were failing to mark somebody wide open and to move out of the goal area and that is basically why they got in the hole so early. It wasn't until after then that the team actually moved up the field.

All four defenders and goalkeeper started poorly; but they got swamped and made silly mistakes early that cost goals. Midfield were sucked back to help out and they couldn't get the ball away neither. Consequently, The Slashers weren't getting the ball out to their forwards who had to drop into midfield. All because the defence sat back too deep. Most of the first half was played in The Slashers' half until Coach Archer was able to get the defence to move up to the half-way line after they cleared the ball.

The first three goals were all down to individual errors. Poor handling by the goalkeeper or poor marking in front of the goal at close range. Branford's 4th goal came after a Branford player (he looked like one of the comp players) beat The Slashers' defence on the half-way line. It was a foot race to the goal with him and Ryan Kristoff in chase. Greg Traugh tried to narrow the angle but the Branford player poked it by him. It was a good goal, you have to give Branford credit for that. Their 5th goal was popped from about 30 yards out over everybody's head. Those last two hurt because The Slashers were just beginning to claw their way back into the game and didn't deserve to be smacked in the face like that.

The second half started ominously. Unfortunately, even 5-0 up, Branford continued to look for more goals and scored their 6th easily and early. It really knocked the wind out of The Slashers' sails.

Paddy Stimpson in goal for the second half did not have that much to do except pick the ball out of the net three times. Remember, Branford weren't really pushing to score, but when they did try they seemed to score at will.

The Slashers finally got a goal to make it 6-1 when Andrew Archer with the bit between his teeth beat three defenders in a dribble that got him into their goal area. As the goalie came out, Andrew rounded him and stuck the ball into an empty net.

Andrew Archer -- the only player really shooting -- had about four more shots near goal in the second half, he was unlucky not to score one of them which just whistled past the post. He didn't get any shots in the first half. Andrew wasn't playing at his best owing to a foot injury that hurts when kicking.

The 7th Branford goal was an own goal. A defender chased a weak shot across the goal, but couldn't kick if off the line and could only help it into the net.

Branford's 8th goal was popped over Paddy from about 30 yards and he couldn't do anything about that one, not his fault. Branford were already winning 7-1 at that point and this made it 8-1. Salt in the wounds.

Looks like it is going to be a long season for The Slashers.

Coach Archer's Thoughts:

Before today, I was a bit worried about the make-up of this team, but on today's performance, even I was a little shocked at how bad we are. We were totally outclassed in every department.

Most of the kids worked very hard today, some just seemed to drift aimlessly. Very few of them, however, are very comfortable with the ball and we just seem to kick the ball anywhere except to a team-mate.

We seemed to do better in the second half, but remember, we were only playing against 9 guys who weren't Branford's best players. But it helped to get our defence out of the trenches in our 18-yard box!

Passing left a lot to be desired and positional play let us down. Some of these kids haven't played much good soccer before and here they are up against comp players. I've always disagreed with this double-rostering allowed by the CJSA. Today was a perfect reason why it shouldn't be allowed. It would have been a more even game without the comp players. I mean, come on, they wrecked us after only 10 minutes. Where's the fun and fairness in that?

Overall, except for their work effort, I was disappointed with the team today. Some of it is my fault, perhaps I have to switch some players to other positions. For example, I had Sean Stoessel at right midfield because I was hoping to see him use his speed up and down the wing, but he wasn't given the chance. On reflection, today I could have used his skill more in midfield where I had Jamie Greene and Steven Gagliano. Jamie and Steven did alright, but I'm not sure they complement each other well. Steven wasn't aggressive enough in midfield today. I think Greg Martin will be much better for us there -- from what I have seen of Greg so far, he'd be a little dynamo in midfield and we needed that today. I originally wanted Andrew Archer to play in midfield, but he keeps drifting forward and not coming back enough (although, he probably wasn't trying hard enough with his foot injury). In any case, without Andrew playing forward we don't have enough other players with an attacking mentality like him, except for maybe Jamie and Sean.
27th April, Friendly, Home versus Clinton, Lost 0-2
Today, the Madison Slashers lost another proud record. They can no longer say that they have been unbeaten on New Road field. Until today, The Slashers had won all of their home games at New Road except one, which was a tie during a freak snow storm!

The defeat seemed unfair, however, since a much improved Slashers team dominated Clinton for most of the game. Unfortunately, Clinton scored a goal in each half on breakaway plays.

The difference between this game and the last was amazing. The Slashers were more aggressive in every department. If only they had a little more speed -- Sean Stoessel was unable to make the game today -- it would given them that something missing in which to win a game like today. Having said that, The Slashers were unlucky with a number of chances that just wouldn't go in.

The Slashers defended higher up the field this week and it compressed the field against Clinton who found it difficult to break out of their own half for long periods.

Clinton defended well against a hard-working Madison team. They also had speed where it mattered and when they could find a chink of light through The Slashers' armour they were able to exploit it with this speed. Both goals came from sprinting Clinton forwards on Madison's goal.

The name of the game, however, is to score goals and Madison were unable to achieve this today. At least there were brighter signs than last week.

Coach Archer's Thoughts:

We didn't have a very good practice session on the Friday and after last week's debacle and expecting Clinton to be as tough as they always are, I honestly expected another disaster today. I was pleasantly surprised at how much we able to keep Clinton pinned back. We played higher up the field and defending was sharper and more aggressive. Midfield also battled hard. It was great to get Greg Martin in there -- we missed him last week -- because he is all over the field chasing and tackling.

I knew when we gave up the first goal, however, that we would struggle to get it back. The second goal was the nail in the coffin. We just don't seem to have the quality to score goals. We've only scored one in two games now and today we needed three alone.

It seemed grossly unfair, though, to lose 2-0 today. We played better than Clinton for long periods and deserved something out of the game, a tie at least. We didn't even get a solitary goal. But, that's soccer. Games like this happen even at the professional level, when one team does most of the work and still loses.

The lesson is, it is goals that win games, not the amount of possession -- although that admittedly helps. A goal can be scored at any time. A goal in the first 10 seconds of the game can win the game. So can a goal in the last 10 seconds of the game. Whatever else happens in between may not even matter that much! That is why a goalscorer must be like a predator, patiently waiting for that one time when the other team let down their guard.

I was happier with the team today, but bitterly disappointed that we lost a game we should have won.
4th May, Friendly, Home versus North Branford, Drew 1-1
Report coming soon.
10th May, League, Home versus Branford, Lost 1-3
Report coming soon.
13th May, Commissioner's Cup First Round, Away versus Guilford, Lost 0-5
Report coming soon.
17th May, Clinton Invitational Tournament

Unfortunately, our application was rejected this year since Clinton Youth Soccer Club had already filled up the limited number of slots. The slots were more limited in number than in pervious years owing to a lack of available fields during town construction projects on some of the playing areas.

Coach Archer organised and intra-squad 5-a-side tournament (three teams). Ultimately, this was also cancelled as one-by-one players would drop out with various excuses. On the day of the tournament there were only 8 players committed to playing. You could say the tournament was cancelled through a total lack of interest.

Yet another extremely frustrating day for this team's coach...
31st May, League, Home versus East Haven, Won 5-0
Report coming soon.
1st June, League, Away versus Guilford, Drew 2-2
Report coming soon.
7th June, League, Away versus North Branford, Won 3-2
Report coming soon.
8th June, League, Away versus Clinton, Lost 5-0
Report coming soon.
14th & 15th June, Cheshire Invitational Tournament

Saturday, 2:15 PM, Group Game #1, versus Cheshire, Lost 2-5:

The Madison Slashers only had 10 players in the first half. Cheshire had 7 substitutes and looked more like a comp team than a rec team. Cheshire scored after only 5 seconds after a horrendous mix-up in The Slashers defence. It was an ominous start. It was 3-0 at half-time and then 4-0 at the start of the second half. The Slashers had 11 players in the second half and it made a BIG difference as they staged a major fight-back, and just proved what an extra player or two would have done to help earlier. The Slashers scored two goals to make it 4-2 and Cheshire were really worried as Madison pressed for more. The Slashers had a lot of chances too. Unfortunately, Cheshire scored right near the end on a breakaway while The Slashers had pushed up looking for goals. 5-2 was the final score, but it was an unfair score, it didn't reflect the fighting spirit that The Slashers showed. In the other game, Branford beat Wallingford 6-1.

Sunday, 9:00 AM, Group Game #2, versus Wallingford, Lost 1-2:

Madison Slashers played Wallingford Outlaws in our the game, postponed until 9:00 AM Sunday since it was originally abandoned at 6:00 PM on Saturday owing to a torrential downpour. The Slashers had high hopes to do well in this game. In the first half The Slashers only had 11 players, and Wallingford had 7 substitutes and the weather was very warm and humid. Nonetheless, The Slashers had more of the attacking, hitting the post and the crossbar and Wallingford's goalkeeper kept making incredible saves. The ball just would not go into the net. It was 0-0 at half-time and finally The Slashers had a sub for the second half. As it always seems to happen in these games, after one team does all the attacking, Wallingford got a breakaway and scored with their first shot of the game. It was heartbreaking. The Slashers went back to attacking but Wallingford did the same thing again with only their second attack to go 2-0 up. The Slashers finally did score, but more heroics from the Wallingford goalkeeper kept them out. The Slashers lost 2-1, but based on the chances and near misses they could have won by 7 or 8 goals at least. Madison Slashers needed a break and some luck in this tournament and didn't get it. Meanwhile, in the other game, Branford beat Cheshire 2-1.

Sunday, 10:45 AM, Group Game #3, versus Branford, Lost 1-3:

Madison Slashers had to play Branford next. Yes, the same Branford that has won every game they have played this year, including beating The Slashers 8-1 and 3-1 earlier in the season. They are more like a comp team disguising themselves as a rec teamů They were so cock-sure of themselves of thrashing The Slashers again. Branford had 7 subs, The Slashers had 1. Madison Slashers played extremely well. Although Branford went 2-0 up in the first half The Slashers attacked them more than Cheshire and Wallingford had in two full games combined and The Slashers were rewarded with a deserved goal back. At 2-1 Branford looked worried and less confident. In the second half The Slashers pressed Branford hard for an equiliser, but it wasn't to be. Branford got a breakaway near the end and made it 3-1, the final score. Again, the luck was against The Slashers. Again, they showed a lot of spirit in this game. The Cheshire-Wallingford score was unknown. The winner would meet Branford in the Championship Final later in the day. Cheshire only needed to tie to qualify.

Coach Archer's Post Tournament Thoughts:

So we lost all three games, but in each one we had our chances to win. We deserved better than three straight losses. We had several unlucky goals against us, but got no luck at the other end. It was also hard to play with just 10 or 11 players most of the time against "better" teams who had their full quota of 7 subs allowed. Plus, it was hot and humid and a couple of our less fit (and healthy!) players struggled. An extra player or two may have helped to make a difference, just like in the first game where we struggled with 10 players but an 11th player made all the difference. I know in my heart we could have beaten Cheshire and Wallingford and I think we deserved at least a tie with Branford in the end. We deserved to be in the Final in my humble opinion.