SAL Senior Div 2

Old Lyonians 0 – Alexandra Park 3


25/11/2017 | Alexandra Park FC

Scorers: Arowosafe, P.Banks, Bollington

BOSSSSSHHHHH. Five wins on the spin and AP were flying going into the weekend! The attitude of the day was not to let complacency get the better of them as they slipped into their boots, like a working girl, ready to face bottom of the league. Some of the AP lads have faced the bottom of the table before but this is usually after waking up after a wild night out.

The 1s are able to name another strong side with a fantastic string of availability. Supersub Emmanuel returns to the squad alongside a rare appearance of Captain Timothy Banks who trained well in the week after a hamstring injury; they say he was attempting overhead kicks and all sorts. The Brough returns for Redford who is away on a birthday international duty. Sam Fowler was not so fortunate midweek as he took a knock in the ankle.

AP force a couple of early corners out of Old Lyonians. Brough comes close to the first one but couldn’t quite find the net. Banksy whips in the next corner and it was our very own ‘Bald John Terry’, Chris Bollington, who gets a shot away only to be denied on the line. But there was Chris again to nod the ball the rest of the way into the net. 4 minutes in and it’s already 1-0, this is sure to be a tough day for the bottom of the table side. The next 20 minutes was strange as Old Lyonians dominated possession. They calmly sprayed the ball from side to side out the back and let AP chase the ball. It was to little avail though as they struggled to progress meaningfully up the pitch. They hit a couple of long range efforts and a few of rebounds and pinball in the box caused some nervy defensive moments but everything was dealt with mostly with ease.

AP worked hard and defensively trying to maintain a good structure and also stop the big lad storm through the middle. As always with a good, organised, hardworking defence, we manage to force the opposition into mistakes and steal the ball back high up the pitch. The opposition defence was deep though and it was very tough to get in behind. We were restricted to deep crosses which didn’t come to much.

Our biggest chance was a penalty appeal. Banksy through one on one 8 yards out and the defenders bundles him over in the back. Referee thinks Banksy went down softly which wouldn’t be his first time this season. Looked a pen from where I was stood. Reader can’t catch a break (He’s our penalty taker). We went in to half time 1-0 up and this was kind of fortunate given that the opposition had seen so much of the ball.

Supersub Emmanuel is whipped on at half time. After a few dodgy dribbles as he tried to settle in the game, he began to get his groove on. Although so did the opposition. The game was becoming more and more stretched as both defences sat deep to protect from the pace of each of the left wingers.

The opposition left winger was enjoying his time on the left as he was repeatedly fed the ball and given the opportunity to open up his quick stride. Lanigan was becoming dazed by the stepovers, dummies and feints and we were fortunate in the opening 20 minutes of the half not to concede a goal. Brough and Bollington were called upon numerous times to make last ditch tackles and interceptions. Ashenden was put to right back to give us a bit more pace.

It was time to shine for Captain Timothy Banks to make his return as Gravesy is forced to come off with a knock. Not before long he combined with his brother on the left and Banksy got a shot away to the far corner but it was a nice height for the keeper and it was turned round the post.

Just as AP were beginning to believe they had weathered the storm, their striker finds himself one on one with Brough who can’t get his foot to the ball but body checks him over. It’s on the edge of the box but the referee runs over and awards the penalty. I don’t know if anybody knows for sure that it was outside the box but it looked it to me. As the lad steps up to take it, Jed screams “C’mon keeper, you’ve saved your last three”. It’s a barefaced lie but hopefully it can put off the striker. AND IT DID. He powers it against the right hand post and we clear it away from danger. Huge let off.

It was our turn to respond as get forward down the right hand side. I think it was Reader but I’m not sure, crosses into the back post where Emmanuel is lurking for a header. The keeper is all over the place and Emmanuel has the whole goal to aim at… but he salmon heads into the cross bar! It falls down to Banksy to poke into the net but he pokes it wide. I’m not sure which miss was worse.

Not long later and as Banksy brings the ball down on his chest with his back to goal, Tim hoards forward into the huge gap between the fullback and centre half. Banksy picks him out like telepathy and Tim has to bring the ball down on the edge of the box. He eases away the fullback who he has eight inches on (in every direction). Tim’s touch inside is a little heavy though and he won’t be able to get a shot away. He lunges for the ball and pokes into the screaming Emmanuel who slots into the empty net. 2-0! Tim bundles Emmanuel over and the whole team join in the celebrations. That was a big goal. Relax.

Oh wait don’t Relax. It was Bailey’s turn to plough forward into another gaping hole in the oppo defence. Banksy once again picks him out and his touch just on the edge of the box was nice. He shoots low to the left of the goal but the keeper gets down to parry. Only as far as Banksy though who slots in for 3-0. Game over.

It wasn’t the way we would like to do it but the scoreline says 3-0. For bottom of the league they were a bloody nifty side who played some really nice football combined with some dangerous attacking players. How they didn’t score I will never know. But my best guess is that it was down to our solid defence. Man of the Match goes to Chris Bollington who was first to everything and just magnificent. Those who saw his last ditch lunge slide tackle in the second half will remember it for seasons to come. It’s worth noting how much of a patient strong team we look at the moment. Not often do we dominate possession at the moment but we are digging in deep defensively and killing teams off with firepower particularly late in the game which is a credit to our stamina. Let’s keep it up.

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