Scorers: Danny Hunt, Hussein Salim, Sam Morris
I had a rather impending sense of doom about this game – it was our first after a 2 week lay off due to cancellations, and our previous game before it was the complete disaster against Old Parks. This sense of doom was not helped by the fact that at 9am on Saturday morning we were down to 10 players, one of whom said he could manage about 20 minutes! Being the quality bloke that I am, I decided not to decimate the teams below me, but instead decided to do some Harry Redknapp style wheeler dealings (Richard, check the subs sheet and you will see that despite this, no bungs or kick backs were received) by giving my housemate from University and part time latin love god Paul a ring to come and play.
Anticipating a glut of traffic, I organised picking everyone up really early, however, this never materialised so we were there ages before the oppo even turned up. However, we were entertained by Nathan’s stories of tears before bedtime over Ricky Hatton (..WHY? ……RICKY! ……) and his little brother, Nuthun.
When we finally kicked off, we started at a blistering pace, tearing through the oppo, our front four of T, Nathan, Sam and Danny proving impossible to handle. In defensive midfield, we had Brooko and Paul providing good cover for the defence and getting forward well to link up the play, at the back Fabb and our resident fighting Irish Stu were giving excellent options on the overlap, and our makeshift centre half pairing of Luigi and Reece providing a formidable barrier. Despite looking like a length with his woolly hat/cap combo, Martin Bojtos was a real rock in goal, bossing his area, dominant in the air and with excellent distribution – his kicking was huge and his quick throws often turned defence into attack quickly.
Our first goal came from cute play down the right, where the rejuvenated Nathan played a searching ball out to Danny, who had pulled right. He then played a deft flick into the path for the on-rushing Sam, who cutely dinked the ball over the keeper for a great finish. 1-0 AP. Again we made some excellent chances, but Stationers had a goal rightly disallowed, when a reaction save from Martin was followed up by their forward who slotted the ball home, but not before burying all 6 studs in Martins chest!
Goal number 2 was the best of the game. A ball was won in the midfield by Paul who set T away down the left. T spotted the run of Danny and floated a ball into him, where Danny took the volley over his shoulder to hammer home (ala David Platt in Italia 90!). This was from the edge of the area and an impossible angle – the quality of the goal left everyone gawping. Throughout the game Stationers tried to bully their way through the game, and it was no surprise when they finished the half with about 6 bookings.
The second half was always going to be a bit of a scrappy affair, and to be fair to the oppo they came at us, but we defended strongly and with real grit, the midfield constantly working back, and when we were breached they found Martin in inspired form.
Just before the hour, we replaced Danny who was cramping badly (be fair though, he’s been injured for ages!) for Has ‘Hips’ Salim. We were awarded a flurry of free-kicks as Stationers set about trying to maim us, and after bottling sending off their centre midfield for a horror challenge on Brooko, the ref did so for a similar one on Nathan. Has stepped up and dinked a beaut of a freekick in – 3-0.
What a performance – so many noteworthy players – Paul glided on a muddy pitch and showed real quality (hopefully his missus will allow him to play regularly!) and Brooko showed his usual mixture of grit, hard-work, and quality. Danny made a huge difference in his first game back, and will be formidable when his sharpness fully returns, and Reece was amazing playing out of position in defence – he was not beaten in the air once, by a striker a good foot taller in the air! Martin was a great presence in goal, but Man of the Match has to go to Sam Morris. A great goal and a constant threat, the oppo tried to bully him but he was having none of it, mugging them off at every opportunity. Roll on the New Year!