Scorers: Brade (7), Malachi (3), Fullerton, Demir
A trip the entire length of the Piccadilly line saw us eventually arrive in Harrow to get our SAL Junior cup campaign underway. The pre-game talk was mainly 1) Ashley complaining that his long-range headed lob last week was not a fluke – this game showed that, even he gets 7 goals every week, he is never going to repeat that again, and 2) wondering if we’d actually be allowed to start the game, as we had seven players until about 2 minutes before kick-off.
Despite the hurried preparation, AP dominated from the off with Jed and Sly winning everything in the centre, driving the ball forward to Malachi and Junior, who were getting the ball down and creating constant opportunities in the final third – this pretty much summed up the entire game, but makes for a very short match report, so I’ll keep going…
Tom, at right-back, set the tone for the day by cracking a shot across the penalty box, only for their keeper to pull off what would prove to be a rare save. The breakthrough came after about 20 minutes, with Ashley on his toes – as he was all game – to latch onto a through ball, nick it round the keeper and curl in from an acute angle. This was followed with an unmemorable goal (or maybe that’s just me) from Malachi, and then another as Kurt side-stepped the keeper to slot in another to make it 3-0 at half-time.
The second half started in much the same fashion, with AP winning the ball, Malachi tearing through the defence down the right and slotting it across for Ashley to slide in: 4-0. This massively disheartened whatever Old Lyonians had been planning for the second half, causing them to quickly implode.
AP continued to play good football, and a slew of goals followed to take our goal tally up to 12. The best of the goals were 1) Malachi jinking through their entire defence as he had all game, before slipping it round the keeper; 2) Ashley running onto a bouncing through-ball to dink it perfectly over the keeper’s head; 3) Fevzi getting the ball from a throw-on down the left, playing a couple of 1-2’s, tricking and turning his way past Lyonians already demoralised defenders, and curling it into the far corner.
Lyonians managed to pull a couple back, one of which was an absolute wonder-strike from the top-right of our box, which rocketed into the top-left corner – and despite our 12, was probably the best goal of the game. In spite of the lack of clean sheet, the AP back-line looked hugely improved since last week, with the good-cop/ bad-cop combination of Steve sweeping up behind Gary’s snapping tackles working well together, and Mike doing well on the rare occasion he saw the ball. Overall, a decent and clinical performance from AP, but there should be no illusion that this was anything but an easy game, with far tougher tests to come.