We have the ability, we have the heart, we just have to use it
We know we have a good passing side here. We know we have a lot of heart and a good moral in this team. We know we are as fit as Dave Mc was when he had hair. Today we showed it.
Travelling away to a ground that boasted Watford’s (ex-Arsenal) training pitches the team knew they were in for a treat. Starting with a master class in table tennis from the skipper the team were looking sharp. A few new boys joined the ranks thanks to Ditmir’s big birthday night out in Colchester keeping regulars away. Brad Firth came to slot in up front, John Murphy and Elliot Brough stepped in to create a new left hand side and some bloke called Jimmy Lambert also helped out in the centre of the park (until his body reminded him how old he was).
The team did a big warm up due to it being a cold day and the pitches being HUGE. The carpet that we played on suited a beautiful passing game and that is what we did, Jimmy and Lewis controlling the centre of the park and ensuring that the wings were fully exploited. Skipper wasn’t so happy, being more content on a ploughed field and had a shocker of a first half, fortunately James Rae was more cultured.
AP dominated the first half creating a tonne of chances. The AP goal came from the breakdown of one such chance, the skipper chasing down the loose ball from an attacking corner and rolling a perfectly weighted pass to Lewis as he accelerated past him on the overlap. Lewis, looked up, new he could lob the keeper from the byeline with the feign cross-shot and dutifully planted it in the far bottom corner. Hands in the air like he meant it, beautiful. (This is so not what happened I can’t even be bothered to correct it. Firstly, you didn’t ‘chase a ball down’, I passed it to you. Secondly, it went in the top corner, not the bottom. Thirdly this goal didn’t happen until we were in the first half of added time! – ed.)
AP continued to play their best footie of the season and half time was a happy occasion. Second half was different. Jimmy, being old, had to be taken off – nay begged to be taken off and was replaced by Jenkins for his 5s debut and Brad, who was excellent, rolled off for Rose. UCL then started passing the ball around and AP started to tire as they chased the ball. Chances were still coming on the counter but most of the effective attacks were UCL and, ten minutes from time, the equalizer came…AP were under the cosh but managed to last until the whistle.
First half extra time
Suck in some air, take on some fluids, take in the words of wisdom from Brough senior “give it to the lad, he’ll win it”. Expectations were high. AP again launched into it, Marek in particular throwing himself about. The reward was quick to come, Dodimead after missing a couple of simpler chances powered the ball through the UCL keeper. (actually this goal happened in normal time – ed.)
Second half extra time
A swift turn around after 15 mins completely caught the AP defence and midfield off guard. With the words resounding ‘mark up straight away’ no-one did. The first came from a drive down the UCL right with a perfect cross, Skip could only get his foot up and in front of their strikers head, the nick taking it away from the striker being just enough to hit the far post and in. The second, 2 minutes later was worse. No marking from a number of players left AP sliding in from every angle to try and stop the shot but the end product was inevitable. 4 minutes gone, UCL up 3-2, AP deflated.
One of the UCL boys needed a breather so had a sit down and cry so the skipper called in the troops Martin Johnson esq. DO WE WANT THIS BOYS?!, WELL DO WE?? LETS F#*KING DO THIS….yes we do came the reply. With the skipper leading the charge and making up for his first half we went in all guns blazing leaving the UCL skipper with a bloody face (accidently trampled by my lumbering thighs/knees etc) and their team completely on the back foot. 3 minutes from time a quick throw from Piner to the hard working Dodimead just inside the opponents half saw him look up and see the skipper still pushed up from the previous corner. In the ball came, skipper back tracked and just got the knock on; Lewis neatly controlled it and rolled it to the charging Brough. Rose ran for cover, the team shouted “Daddy said you’d do it”, the expectation was high, the world stopped….and the keeper sh@t himself as Elliot let rip into the top right corner.
Despite another flurry of attacks the game was heading to penalties.
Skipper asked for volunteers
- Murphy, first up and placed it beautifully with pace to the left of the UCL keeper
- Dodimead stood up, looked for a cigarette but decided the penalty should come first and quickly hobbled to the spot spanked it in and came and sat back down
- Someone (sorry lad bad memory) stood up and slotted home…obviously you didn’t brag as much as John Murphy afterwards
- With Andy Brough in his ear about rolling it in, up stepped Rose and rolled it at the bottom right, keeper guessed correctly and made the finger tip save – agony
- Marek’s turn, skipper had no doubt about this one, should’ve just told the player. The placement 8 foot wide of the right (not shanked, placed), just evaded the goal
Things didn’t look good, Skipper shouted good luck to Jason in the form of “no pressure”. Jason, for the third time this year, made a beautiful sav, obviously…
“No pressure Jason”……worked the first time…and nearly worked the second, Smith getting a good hand to the ball but not having enough to avoid it going over him
Cup game number two this weekend – anyone not coming to watch?!?!?!
MoM Lewis worked all day, left his kids waiting at Arsenal FC to continue fighting for AP in extra time and showed his heart. Honourable mention the whole team.
Team: Smith, Burwell, Rae, Murphy, Piner, Lewis, Lambert, Brough, Kralik, Dodimead, Firth, Jenkins, Rose
Longest match report ever over.