With an unprecedented single cry-off we took our 16 man squad to our home game at Muswell Hill playing fields. In a turnaround from our game against the 6s when we didn’t have any this squad boasted two goalkeepers. Bardgett got the nod to start as he arrived earlier. The defence was made up of Taylor, debutant Jeater, Kralik and Dudnesh. Another debutant, Horner began on the left of midfield with Johnson on the right. Skipper K. Howarth was partnered by Rae in the middle of midfield and Chvojka partnered D. Howarth up top.
In the pre-match team talk K. Howarth talked about how he wanted the team to play and dismissed the defeat from the previous week as poor captaincy (he was absent!). The skipper has clearly been reading the Captains checklist as by the time he got through all the messages from the club it was time to kick off.
Old Actonians 5th finished just above our 4th team last year and that now represents a 2 league jump for us. In the early stages we competed well and despite Actonians having one or two players who will play very high this year the defence and keeper held firm to keep the scoreline level.
Around the 25 minute mark though a long punt from the keeper was superbly controlled by the right winger who then crossed to the back post for a simple tap-in. I don’t think I’ve played in many games where this team have taken the lead so the resurgence in our play after going behind was not unexpected.
Just before half time the Slovakian maverick decided it was time for ‘one of those runs’, carrying the ball from deep in our own half he played a one two with Johnson and crossed the ball for his Czech mate Chvojka to hit the ball home – “perfect time to score” cried the skipper.
At half time Ajagobana came on for Bardgett in goal, Foster replaced Horner, Barry for Rae and D Howarth made way for McGahey. Despite all the changes the team still competed well and we were creating chances. The best of these fell to Foster, who recreated Carlos Tevez’ recent howler, and McGahey who “wasn’t expecting it” when a cross from West -Hunter made it to the back post and headed just wide. West-Hunter replaced K. Horner and in a shuffle Horner came into left back for Dudnesh.
It was Old Actonians who took the lead again though and won the game. A through ball beating the offside trap and a low cross being converted into the top corner.
Impressive debuts by both goalkeepers (although Ajagobana needs to learn how to kick, including out of his hands) Jeater in defence, Horner, West-Hunter and Barry in midfield and McGahey who was vocal and made a difference up front. We haven’t had MoMs in preseason and no-one stood out enough to earn it here but a special mention for youngster Dudnesh who has now started at right back in the last three games and looked solid in each one.
Team: Bardgett (Ajagobana), Taylor, Jeater, Kralik, Dudnesh, Horner (Foster), K Howarth (C) (West-Hunter), Rae (Barry), Johnson, D Howarth (McGahey), Chvojka