Goals; Sulemanji (2), Je Scantlebury, Kralik (2), K Howarth 

On a wet afternoon at New River the 5th team returned to action against Old Esthamieans. With the opposition arriving late the skipper had plenty of time to get the team ready and talk through the changes he wished to make following our last outing which had ended in defeat. 

Shahidi came in for a ‘guest appearance’ in goal, Guenzi at left back pushing Kralik to right back and Taylor to the bench, Jeater and McGlogan continued at centre back. McGoohan started on the left of midfield and Sulemanji on the right. Donnelly would play the holding role with Cumberbatch meaning the skipper was to start on the bench. McGahey led the line with Je Scantlebury, D.Howarth also only making the bench. 

When Old Esthamieans did rock up it was clear they were very much a developing team, some looking like they still have some years of puberty ahead. The point being they were very young, OK. Predictably they started the game in a very lively fashion, knocking the ball around, moving positions on the field very fluidly and all showing neat touches. Epitomised when the left back deftly knocked

the ball over Sulemanji’s head and ran round him to collect, likely saying ‘burn’ or ‘wounded’ or some more up to date dis in the process. 

Despite the obvious skill though they failed to really create any chances other than the odd speculative long range effort which Shahidi expertly watched fly over. Apart from another skied free kick on the edge of our box the only real threat seemed to becoming from our own jitters, Jeater and Shahidi failing to communicate on one occasion leading to plenty of forthright communication directly afterwards. 

It was around this point though that we blew the cobwebs away and started to take a hold on the game. A neat move on the left which included traded passes from Guenzi and the increasingly influential McGoohan ended up at the feet of McGahey who played a delightful through ball for the onrushing Sulemanji, one on one with the keeper there was to be only one outcome, 1 – 0 AP. It was

a crucial goal in many respects, AP visibly lifted and the previously unbeaten Old E’s visibly deflated, the captains selection justified? 

We continued to attack, Cumberbatch taking hold of the centre of the park and dictating a nice passing game ably assisted by Donnelly, McGoohan and McGahey. Jeater and McGlogan had got hold of Old E’s strikers and they failed to really threaten for the rest of the half. It seemed only matter of time before Sulemanji or Je Scantlebury would increase our lead but the nature of the second surprised us all. Having won a corner Sulemanji delivered a superb cross deep into Old E’s

box, Guenzi popped up from left back to head directly on goal, it was going in but Jermaine did what all good strikers (poachers?) should do and made sure from a yard out. Well done Francesco Jermaine. 

This led to a comfortable half time team talk for K Howarth. Keep playing the same way. 

Shortly after half time McGahey pulled up with an ankle injury, it was a concern because although we’d dominated McGahey had led the line superbly for an hour and “the next goal could be crucial” © Sky Sports. D Howarth replaced him and shortly afterward in a reshuffle Taylor came on for Je Scantlebury and swapped with Kralik at right back. Now if any of you have ever played with Kralik

you’ll know why he can go from right back to up front, Cumberbatch has obviously seen this before too as he played a delightful through ball which the Slovak latched onto and drilled home past the keeper. 

The fourth and fifth goals came in similar fashion, first D Howarth unleashed Kralik and then K Howarth played in Sulemanji who turned the last defender and fired past the keeper. The sixth goal might live longer in the memory, more fluid passing finding D Howarth on the edge of the box who spotting Taylor on the edge of the box elected to put in a deft back heel to the over lapping K Howarth who then sent a delicate lob over the keeper from an acute angle. It’s only taken a season and a half but he finally has the oft promised goal of the season contender. 

A little more to say about Old E’s, firstly they are a very talented side who’ll do well this season, they pushed all game and in the closing minutes forced a superb blocking save from Farhad who should be praised for staying alert and maintaining a clean sheet. The second though is that they got a little over excited by Guenzi’s theatrical diving. The point being it wasn’t simulation but it is admittedly very theatrical. Mixed opinion on this in our snug New River dressing room after (McGlogan “it’s the way they are taught to play”, McGoohan “it’s a disgrace”) but the Old E’s coach, sporting an outrageous gillet, went a bit far in the end. Is accosting Francesco and then haranguing the ref setting much of a better example? 

MoM: A few to choose from but McGoohan just gets the nod over McGahey. 

Team: Shahidi, Guenzi, Kralik, Jeater, McGlogan, McGoohan (K Howarth), Cumberbatch, Donnelly, Sulemanji, McGahey (D Howarth), Je Scantelbury (Taylor).

5th Team / Match Reports