Scorers: Tolcher (3), Parsons, Lott
“A game of two halves” was how AP 8s boss Simon Tolcher intelligently described this gripping SAL cup first round fixture at Firs Farm. In a game that had everything it was AP that eventually triumphed after a stirring second half fightback.
It could all have been very different had the visitors not improved on a sloppy first period, where defensive errors and poor passing led to Winchmore Hill racing into a deserved two goal lead. In truth, Winchmore Hill may well have put the game beyond their visitors before Olly Tolcher held off his marker and slotted the ball high past the goalkeeper to half the deficit on 30 minutes. This seemed to galvanise AP and they may have scored again before half time, with their Player Manager going close with a rare effort from outside the area.
AP brought on fresh legs at half time in the shape of Jan Lott and Sam Wolfman on either flank, and both made big contributions to a memorable comeback. The writing was on the wall for the home side immediately after the restart, with AP winning their personal battles all over the pitch and dominating possession. Dan Ware and James Broome typified the visitors spirit with some crunching tackles and brave headers. This sort of effort lifted the whole team and Jan Lott effortlessly linked up with Ware and Dave Potter as AP began to cause the hosts problems in the final third.
The equaliser finally arrived on 65 minutes with captain Jack Parsons grabbing a deserved first goal for the club to bring his side level, leading by example when needed. Winchmore Hill heads began to drop and it wasn’t long before Olly Tolcher made it 3-2 with his second of the game after Potter had unluckily hit the post. AP were now running away with it and confidence grew throughout their side.
Goal of the game was a fine team move involving Dudmish, Wolfman, Parsons, Potter, Olly Tolcher and finally Jan Lott, who finished with a calm left footed curler for 4-2. Olly Tolcher then rounded the Winchmore Hill keeper, and rounded off the scoring, to make it 5-2 and grab his hat-trick. He left the field moments later, to a standing ovation from the travelling fans, after being replaced by AP legend Amit Bose.
There was still time for Jamie Roberts to pull off a fine save in the closing minutes and the impressive Emlyn Robbins to deny the home side a consolation with another well timed tackle.
According to AP’s manager, Jan Lott’s goal was “world class” and he felt it was down to “the hard work my boys have put in all summer on the training pitch”. A good draw in the next round and the 8s may feel their name is on the cup this year.
MOM – James Broome. A tough decision this week as huge contributions from Olly Tolcher, Jan Lott and Daniel Ware make them all a close second. James just wins it for, yet again, putting his head in where it hurt and winning some vital second half challenges in the midfield battle ground.