Scorers: K O’Leary, Morris, Kelly
Another convincing away win against higher league opposition ensured AP’s finest continued their impressive pre-season form.
AP took the game by the scruff of the neck from the first whistle with Dan O’Leary and Dan Jones putting in a Midfield performance that will be hard to match this season.
Such was the ‘Dan’ dominance in the first half hour that the oppo struggled to create any chances of note. And with a compact back four of Irvine, Egan, Patterson and Fabb, play was always kept in front and controlled. The distribution from Simpson in goal was again superb and led to many chances being created at the other end.
With this strong defensive foundation AP had the confidence, energy and creativity to wreak havoc at the other end. This attacking threat would ultimately prove decisive during the game with AP having a broader and more incisive threat.
On numerous occasions AP won the ball in the opposing third of the pitch, and also managed to win the ball several times in the opposition Penalty area. This was due to the fantastic work rate of Morris, Kelly and Keiran. Even Jay Hughes managed to run off his two (yes two!) quarter pounders and fries from the night before.
AP were rewarded for their dominance when the impressive Kelly burnt off his marker to drill home from a tight angle. Two goals in two games now for a player who has a bright AP future ahead of him.
As is the way with pre-season, energy levels dipped slightly prior to half-time and Esthameians reminded us why they play in a higher division. O’Leary and Jones went from ‘fancy Dans’ to ‘desperate Dans’ in an attempt to break-up oppo possession.
The half-time whistle was welcomed as it gave us a chance to re-group and remind ourselves of why we dominated for the first half hour. It also gave us the opportunity to introduce Fraser and Carlin who was sporting a new ‘Tin-Tin’ haircut following his morning visit to Tony & Guy (calm down Moruzzi – it’s a hairdressers).
The second half was equally pleasing in the chances that were created from both flanks, and a work-ethic from all players that would embarrass a Japanese prisoner of war.
Second half goals came from Keiran who finished cooly, picking his spot from just inside the area and Sam Morris, who completed the scoring running onto a through ball to beat the keeper with a shot that bounced at least five times! (can you still claim that?).
Overall, another fantastic display with excellent performances all over the pitch. Another clean-sheet for a defensive unit that continues to improve, and three goals for an attacking unit that were at times unplayable in the opposition third.
Most importantly an excellent team display with everyone contributing by winning their own personal battles and helping their team mates win theirs. The current team spirit is one of belief and a real desire to right the wrongs from last season. There is a ‘good smell’ about the changing room, and it isn’t the Brut!
Finally, competition for places this season will be brutal. Pre-season training and matches have shown that every position will be contested by 2, 3 or even 4 players and everyone needs to be on high alert if they want a First team or Reserve jersey.
Also, special mention to Sly Cornibert who came down and supported us and commented on how well everyone played. And with regard to competition for places, Sly will be returning to play for AP in a few weeks…
MoM: The two Dans – O’Leary & Jones. Busy throughout and brilliant when it mattered.
Team: Simpson, Irvine, Egan, Patterson, Fabb, Jones, D O’Leary, Morris, Kelly, K O’Leary, Hughes, Shaw-Morris, Carlin