Goals: Morris, McLoughlin
This was technically our home game, but as pitch one was under 4 inches of water, we switched to HSBC. We weren’t on the massive pitch there, and neither were their first team who were on a smaller pitch than us! (The oppo skipper said after the game that this was because they did not feel that they were fit enough to play on the big one, so they put their 3rd team on there instead.) However, we got to wear our snazzy Juve style away kit, which is yet to be worn in a win – what more motivation did the boys need before the game?
As for the meet, everyone was there – Moruzzi turned his ‘queer eye for the straight guy’ on the team (as he was resplendent in a pink Brokeback Mountain shirt – very apt), telling Janno that ‘blue and green should never be seen’, labelling him ‘Jacamo’.
There was a gale force wind that having lost the toss AP played with in the first half. The Gaffer told us that he was unsatisfied with our performance last week, and that we needed to up our intensity if we were to get the result we wanted. He envisaged 3 possible ways for the second half of the season to go – firstly, we go back to old ways, not putting in the required effort and getting relegated. Secondly, we could mirror our first half of the season and survive. Thirdly, we could play our hearts out – go for every point and push the leading teams all the way for promotion. This served to gee us up well as we started with gusto – pinning back the oppo in their half. The strong wind proved to be more of a hindrance than a help – it did not suit our short passing game. Our intensity and pressure paid off on about 25 minutes when we took the lead – German hooked a clearance into the path of Ben Carter, who played a beautifully deft flick into the path on Sam Morris, who was able to lob the keeper from about 25 yards (no mean feat as the keeper was a 7ft Aryan man-mountain!). A great goal that was well laid on and taken.
After that, we generally controlled the half, we played neat passing football, and only really let the oppo in when we took that extra touch and overplayed it. We had all the play, and came close with efforts from Dan Gun, Ben and Pete (who was showing great versatility by playing on the right wing – not bad for a left back!) The half time message was that we were playing well, doing enough, but that we could up it another 20% or so. From the kick off, the oppo striker took a shot that despite the wind went out for a throw on – from this we knew what type of half we were in for. Despite the howling wind against us, we continued to play all the football. We extended our lead just after the hour when Sam Morris stood up a delightful ball for Skips to powerfully head home. 2-0 and cruising. As per usual, we had chances to further extend our lead but couldn’t take them. We were made to pay for this when the oppo brought on a Cristiano Ronaldo clone that hit a 30 yard free kick like a skud missile giving smudge in goal no chance. Why the oppo didn’t start with him I do not know. Soon after this the Skips capped his eventful day by getting booked – the oppo player managed to keep a ball in and had a clear run at goal when skips flattened him – he would claim he took one for the team, but he did not find many of his team-mates reaching into their pockets for a whip for the fine!
The Gaffer made to smart changes with 20 to go, when Tom Marshall came on for Ben and Dan Hunt returned after a year out for injury with skips coming off, as he was being rinsed by Ronaldo, so we moved Brucie out wide, Pete to left back and Dan uptop. Tom had a good shout for a penner turned down when he was hauled down when clean through on goal and a man the oppo centre back probably should have been sent off for putting Sam in a headlock as he ran clean through. Despite late pressure we held on for the win. A good performance, where we did just enough for the win. Also, a special mention to Dan Hunt as it was great to see him back at AP.
Man of the Match – Sam Morris – proves he can be a quality player when he is not throwing his arms up and sulking at his Dad!
Team: Smith, McLoughlin (Hunt), Moruzzi, Simpson, Egan, Gunyon, Jannece, Carter (Marshall), Morris, Nugent, McMeekin.