Scorers: Spencer, Hughes.
A trip to sunny Mill Hill for the 1’s last friendly of a busy pre season schedule…7 games, 6 wins, 1 defeat, 12 goals for and 2 against…decent preparation for the campaign ahead. Our opposition, recently established in memory of an ex AP Youth player, are seeking election to the league and boasted a wealth of young talent, which certainly wouldn’t look out of place in the SAL.
Having checked out several venues in the leafy suburbs of North London, we eventually found the ground ( shared with Old Camdenians ). With a squad of 14, the gaffer reminded players of the competition for places and strength in depth at the club this year, which only served to create anxiety and a rather disjointed start to the game. To their credit Old G’s were patient, comfortable on the ball, had the greater share of early possession, and certainly tested our defensive concentration and organisation. But with the German guesting between the sticks, there was plenty of regular encouragement and direction!
Irvine/Carlin, Jones, Patterson, and Kier, with the added protection of our deeper midfield duo of Dan O’Leary and Hancock, were up to the task and snuffed out any real danger. Fabb and Fraser worked the flanks tirelessly, but we lacked any real penetration. On the half hour Mr Opportunist, Tom Spencer, reacted instinctively to deflect a Danno drive and wrong foot the keeper, to put us 1 – 0 up. Having then made a couple of changes, we then made it 2 – 0, 5 minutes later, when Hughes pounced on a loose ball and crashed in a volley from the edge of the box, leaving Old G’s somewhat disheartened just before half time.
Having asserted the need for greater patience and possession, coupled with quicker movement and earlier release of the ball on the counter attack, AP had a greater share of the second half, dominated longer spells, and created 3 or 4 decent chances. Fraser went close with a header and the enigmatic Kenga tested the keeper from distance. However, the highlight of the second half came when Jack Morris, a late substitution, broke free in the box, accelerated, saw glory…tripped and fell flat on his rather red face !. He blamed Elions borrowed boots, but then took all the stick in good heart. So it finished a satisfying 2 – 0. Old G’s were a credit to both themselves and the memory of Freddie Garcha, and we wish them all the very best in their quest for admission to the SAL.
So as the serious stuff now beckons, we have real strength in depth, healthy competition for places, confidence in our ability and each other, and a real desire to succeed…now lets make it happen…’ AP till I die ! ‘.
PS Special mention to Will Irvine, who in trying to make the managers job a little easier, announced during the game that he was unavailable for selection next week, but then proceeded to pick up a serious knee injury, which will probably put him out for a little longer !. Wish you a speedy recovery.