AFA Intermediate Cup 4th Round
Goals – Gunyon, McMeekin.
This was our first game in 4 weeks and to be honest it showed. We played with nowhere near our normal fluency and discipline. Clearly, we are not fit enough and with due respect to the oppo if this had have been an SAL game we would lost heavily. I will start the match report with a suggestion that players need to maybe get out for a run in the week, to make sure you can get about the pitch on a Saturday.
As for the game, we were able to name a strong team, with Gunyon, Jannece and (ahem) Moruzzi returning. We started the game brightly, and I would not be exaggerating when I said that for the first 10 minutes the oppo barely got out of their half. Imagine our surprise then when they took the lead! Smudge shanked a clearance which Woots, Simmo and German all had opportunities to get rid of, Smudge then parried a shot that their 4ft forward was able to bang in the rebound. We huffed and puffed, having plenty of possession but lacking the quality of the final ball. After 25 minutes Gaffer Morris had to sub Elion, who now looks to be out for a while with an injury lay off. Skips, Dan Gun and Young Master Carter all came close, but we found the oppo keeper in good form. Despite this, at the back we looked shocking. Huge gaps in-between us left gaping holes for the players to run through, and it was only profligate finishing that did not punish us further.
We drew level on the half time whistle, when Dan Gun picked the ball deep and set off on a surging run, played 1-2 and slipped it under the advancing keeper – a great goal.
In the second half, a blinding sun came out of nowhere, which made it impossible to see the ball in the air. Yet again we were poor in the second half, and there was a real paucity of quality on show by both sides. For the first half hour, again we were defensively poor – we allowed the oppo striker to run through who contrived to miss an open goal with 2 attempts!
The turning point came when the Gaffer proved he did more than shout abuse from the sideline and reshuffled the formation, moving Dan Gun up top with Brucie and switching to a 442. The new top 2 linked up for the winner with 10 to go, when the former laid a beautiful ball on for the latter to sweetly chip the keeper from 20 yards. We had further chances to score when Skips backheaded a Carter freekick which the keeper did well to save, although Smudge saved us from extra time, producing a fine tip over in the last minute after German gave away a ludicrous foul on the edge of the area.
So all in all, we just about did enough. I will finish as I started, by saying that we are not fit enough. If truth be told, we laboured in beating a team that our 4th XI should comfortable turn over, and that is not good enough. It is back to the league next week, and I expect to see a higher tempo in our game next week, otherwise we will get murdered. I expect to see Reserve team players beating the streets Crouch End and Muswell Hill!
Man of the Match – honourable mention for Ben Carter, who was in and out of the game, but is massively creative, but for me it is a tie between Dan Gun and Brucie, who for me dragged us by the short and curlies to victory.
Smith, McLoughlin, Wootten, Simpson, Egan, Gunyon, Jannece, Kenga (Moruzzi), Carter (J Morris), S Morris, McMeekin.