Goals; Gonzalez (3), Mbelo, Kenga
Saturday saw the first friendly game of the season pitting a team of a combination of 1st and 2nd eleven and potential new players, against a newly promoted to division one EBOG team.
The players involved showed great attitude and amplitude throughout the whole match.
I was very impressed with the new players who played their first games for the club, although very early doors, Louis Cain, Ben Wilkinson, Valencia Gonzalez in particular where ones that stood out and definitely ones to look out for.
The team showed a good fighting spirit and desire and passion and for a pre season game it was very competitive.
Players showed a good level of fitness and for some who attended pre season training the hill running and fitness sessions seems to pay off especially in the last quarter of the game.
The match started on an even footing with EBOG testing our defence on a regular basis, however it was not all one way as AP could not capitalise on the mistakes made by EBOG and to go in 2 – 0 seemed a bit harsh. Nevertheless, If AP are to make good their promise this season, we shall have to be more alert when defending set pieces, and make sure we remain calm and in control when defending. However, even AP players were struggling to stifle a smile when Egan did a ‘Djimi Traore’ and scored an og – ‘He just can’t control his feet’.
Half time substitutions saw an immediate change in style and balance of play with AP going on the attack more, Half time substitute Valencia scored 10 minutes in, with his first few touches.
This psychologically gave the AP team a massive boost and not long after the first AP equalise through Valencia again.
The time spent running up the hill in preseason began to pay dividends when we began to take control of the game, with new players slotting in well alongside seasoned campaigners. The 3rd goal saw Leslie Manu rinse the EBOG fullback and play in a wicked ball, Ozan Gunes was sliding in to bury it when it hit a bobble and skidded up, but luckily Claude Mbelo was behind him to nod in. After, Valencia completed his hat-trick when he was set free, skinned the defender and buried from an acute angle. Not content with this he then turned provider, Setting Elion Kenga away to hit an absolute bozzler of a shot that the keeper had no chance with.
Overall a good performance from all involved and a great start to preseason. Several players proved they are certainly good enough to play 1st XI football, so let the competition for places begin!