“If you want the rainbow, you’ve gotta put up with the rain” Dolly Parton.
Whilst the table may not make ideal reading for the AP faithful, positive signs emerged from a battling point at Old Finchleians.
We went into the game off the back of a difficult run and fielding a much changed side. However, a well laundered kit and the addition of some professional looking water bottles showed that it was an AP side in town on business.
Weather considered, it was a decent playing surface, giving us an opportunity to ‘get the ball down and enjoy our football’. It would be fair to say we have struggled to do either of late. We were somewhat subdued in the warm up but this may be partly down to donning bibs which (at the risk of shrinking) could do with a boil wash.
We lined up with a balanced looking 4-4-2 and made an energetic start. Our early enthusiasm was rewarded with a tidy goal, the hard working Dan O’Leary hooking one over his shoulder for Tom Spencer to plant a good head into the bottom corner. From then on, we probably edged the half in a give and take game. OF looked a decent outfit when they got knocked it about, but they spent a lot of time pinging long stuff up to their big man. Pete had evidently sanded the edges off his 50p head and sent the high balls back with interest.
Jed and Janno won a lot in the middle of the park and We continued to create chances as a result. Tom could have put us two up on a couple of occasion but after the last few weeks, it was encouraging to see us consistently threaten.
We were under a bit of pressure towards the end of the half, but OF didn’t create shedloads. Chris’ handling was immaculate when peppered from long range and he blocked well on a couple of occasions. His outbursts after a few sliced kicks were possibly worth the throw ins they conceded.
Speaking of throw ins, a big pat on the back to Will Irvine for a near flawless throwing display. Mr Irvine has struggled a touch with throwing technique this season and we are all very proud of the progress he has made. One hopes that the return to action of his partner in crime Richie Hancock will not stifle this impressive improvement.
The half time team talk was upbeat and the tangerine dream sensed their first 3 points in a while. We looked to extend the lead and delivered real quality when we got the ball wide.
Credit to the oppo, they came back strongly and deserved to level with 20 to go. This said, it took a 25 yard belter to make it 1-1. The post-match speculation was that it took a nick of the left boot of Jannece. If true, surely the first time anything from that distance associated with Janno has ended up in the same postcode as the top right corner.
We didn’t fold and it was up for grabs late on. Cristian looked to have won it, but it span agonisingly wide. Jed took one for the team with a selfless booking to break up a late surge. The lads generously offered to stump up a quid each to cover the fine. In practice, it didn’t materialise but I was neverthless touched by the theoretical gesture.
Overall, both teams could make a case that they deserved the win, although neither could really argue with a point. We left nothing in the tank and had earned our Tesco Congo shower gel. Onwards to next week and I am confident of building upon this. There are winnable games against teams in and around us as long as we can get a settled side out.
“You just have to accept that some days you are the pigeon, and some days you are the statue”
Team : Simpson, Irvine, Patterson, Harrison, Carlin, K O’Leary (Manu), Wood, Jannecce, Leit, D’O Leary, Spencer (Zweck).
MOM – Jed Wood. Tackle after tackle in a tireless display. We hope to see him in the 1s on a regular basis.