Goals; Croft, D. Howarth
The perils of being one of the lower teams playing surfaced at the meet point at Bounds Green when Club Chairman and temporary 4s Captain Tony Bent called up 5s keeper Wilkinson. Thanks to Kralik for stepping up from the 6s and agreeing to play in goal. The game was billed as a good way for new skippers K. Howarth and Mills to look at a number of players and in that spirit the 5s let Kamarl Phillips go to the 6s to even up the numbers.
For the starting eleven the selection was forced somewhat by only having 3 defenders and a 3-5-2 seemed the practical way forward. It was clear early on that the 6s were up for the game with both Loughnane and Gallaway putting in late tackles which would have been bookings in league games. The 6s though were enjoying the slight hill advantage and in Beswick, Phillips and especially Chvojka looked the more dangerous team. Indeed it was Chvojka who broke the deadlock after some neat play on the 6s right from Shah gave the striker the opportunity to turn the last defender and fire into the top corner past fellow countryman Kralik.
With a lot of new faces in the 5s it was good to see the team trying to keep the ball down and put some passes together but the 6s forward line constantly harried and were rewarded with a second goal when a Graham clearance only made it to the edge of the 5s box and lovely chipped through ball put Phillips in – the striker finishing neatly into the bottom corner. Again though it was heartening to that despite being 2-0 down the 5s managed to keep to the game plan and although Rae and Malone were protecting their keeper well it seemed only a matter of time before we carved out some chances.
Not long after Piner had nearly put the 6s 3-0 up (with a delightful chip that beat the keeper but also the crossbar – Ed.) we finally broke our duck when Croft forced a smart save and managed to collect the rebound and drill a low shot home just before half time. That was the striker’s last contribution as he had to leave at half time. Danny Howarth replaced him up front and Sid Mason came on for the impressive Josh Marcus.
The 5s were enjoying the better of the play in the second half and using the advantage of the hill to good effect. Johnson looked dangerous having come into the middle and the youngster fired just wide after breaking through the 6s defence – the same player should have done better when he broke to the by-line choosing to fire at the keeper rather than square it to the waiting Dawkins. The equaliser came though when the lively Mason played a ball inside to D. Howarth who hit a rasping shot into the top corner.
It was a quieter half for the 5s defence but Dudnesh and Graham impressed. Shackling the main threat of Chvojka, the striker was clearly frustrated with the lack of second half chances. Marcus came back on for Edwards and we had a couple of chances to win the game – K. Howarth released Dawkins who found the 6s keeper in good form, making an impressive save with his legs and Johnson hit an impressive 35 yard strike which beat the keeper but not the crossbar.
Team: Kralik, Dudnesh, Graham, Taylor, Johnson, K. Howarth (C), Edwards, Marcus, Foster, Dawkins, Croft Subs: Mason, D. Howarth