Goals: Hyde, Tullet (p), Bowhill, Roberts
With Brough and Paqdin injured and absent our talismanic Frenchman stepped up to captaincy duty. To be fair he’d asked availability for this weekends game before Torq could even name the team last week. His 4 pages of tactics detailing various formations and personnel showed that he meant business and he finally settled on a fashionable 4-2-3-1 formation – following a brisk warm up led by Bowhill the boys lined up with the Cat in goal, Tornarides, le capitaine, Taylor and Manning across the back – Kennedy and Hyde screening just in front – Tullet, Bowhill and Causer in the 3 and Fletcher as the lone striker.
The novelty of a warm up seemed to wake us up and within a minute Hyde had put us into the lead. A swift passing move found the midfielder just inside the box and he sent a low finish past the Alleyn keeper. The formation seemed to be working well and we created chances in the first 20 minutes which we were unable to take. Alleyn then made a rare foray forward and although they didn’t create anything too threatening woke us from our slumber.
The half followed that pattern until the final minute when a long lofted goalkick was slightly lost by Kennedy and then should have been cleared by Caudebac – the cat did his best and managed to get a hand on the strike from the Alleyn forward but the ball nestled into the bottom corner.
Half time and 1 – 1 but we’d been the better team – looked solid and created chances that we (read Fletcher) should have put away.
Le capitaine decided to leave it 10 minutes before making any changes and that proved to be the right decision when the influential Hyde was brought down in the box. Tullet duly stepped up to convert the penalty. He was then immediately substituted for Kirton who swapped positions with Hyde. Roberts then came on for Fletcher and swapped with Causer. Chances came a plenty and Roberts and Hyde were finding space out wide. Kennedy and Manning were disciplined in holding back their attacking instincts and we looked solid.
When the defence was finally breached the cat rolled back the years and flew through the air, palming the ball around the post and keeping us in the lead. Caudebac and Taylor made important interceptions and blocks and then finally the ball dropped to Bowhill who despatched a brilliant half volley into the bottom right hand corner of the net to settle the game as a contest.
In the final 10 minutes almost every AP player had a chance to score and Causer is still probably scratching his head at how the defender managed to block his best effort on the line. Kirton who was enjoying a midfield role then used his magic feet to dance around a couple of midfielders and put in Roberts on the right – the winger hit a shot with the outside of his foot into the bottom corner and seal a 4 – 1 cup victory.
Positives: the formation, the cat, Kennedy and Manning, creating chances and scoring 4, substitutes who support the team and give genuine competition for places with the performances they put in when they come on.
Negatives: playing against 10 men, the long journey, the lack of pizza after the match.
Team: King, Tornarides (Oberhuber), Caudebac (C), Taylor, Manning, Tullet (Kirton), Kennedy, Hyde, Bowhill, Causer, Fletcher (Roberts)