Goals: Olomowewe (2).
This was possibly one of the most satisfying wins of the season, as we beat a team with little sporting spirit, miniscule amounts of intelligence and absolutely no class at all.
Selection is a real headache at the moment – we named 15 expecting someone to cry-off, but no-one did, so Les stepped out of the team, but was also down to watch the game, showing his team ethic. Sly was unavailable, and Karnell’s fine form was rewarded with a call up to the 1st XI, so in came the returning Harry Wilson into the heart of the midfield with Richie, Frazer Shaw-Morris on the left wing and Ben Carter returning to a spot on the bench.
Within the first 5 minutes of the game, it was clear to see that we were a class apart from our opposition. They were quite open about the fact that their preferred tactic was to pump the ball long for their livewire striker to run onto. Imagine our surprise when found ourselves 1-0 down – a nothing cross into the box was missed by 3 AP defenders and their striker finished neatly into the corner.
This shook us into life – T had ferocious strike in to the top corner disallowed as the ball bobbled up and hit his hand in the build up. Despite having the territorial advantage, we did not really threaten the goal on too many occasions – mainly because anytime we looked to build the ball through midfield we were cynically hacked down – the ref kept saying the booking would come but it never did.
At half time we spoke about upping it, so imagine the consternation of the team when 5 minutes in we found ourselves 2-0 down, with another thoroughly preventable goal – Jeats and Simmo stopped to claim an offside that was not awarded, their striker nipped round behind to poke in, and despite the best efforts of Mike and Skips, who both got touches, they could only help it on its way as it hit the post and trickled in.
This shook us into life, but the low sun was causing havoc and we were unable to see anything, particularly at the back. On the 65 minute mark, 2 things happened – the sun went behind a cloud so for the first time in the half we were able to see. Secondly, The Gaffer made a smart double change bringing on Ben and Fabb for the hardworking Frazer (who impressed out of position in his first game for the Reserves) and Recovery Wootten. Within 5 minutes if this we had pulled a goal back – Ben sent T through who smashed one home from the tightest of angles.
From then on in it was generally all AP. Edmontonians imploded. They were arguing amongst themselves, getting frustrated and kicking out. They had absolutely no problem dishing out aggression, but whined whenever any AP player went near them. One farcical moment their Captain accused T of causing a neck injury by ‘not jumping for a header’, When we kicked the ball out so their man could receive treatment, they refused to return the ball– remember what I said earlier about intelligence and sportsmanlike behaviour?
The Troglodytes of Edmonton thought it would be entertaining to needle the skipper, shouting abuse at him and likening him to a certain root vegetable. This soon dissipated when Toib equalized with 10 to go with a neat header from a corner. Dan Wilding nearly won it in the last second when he had one cleared of the line, T flat footed and unable to gobble up the rebound.
So to extra-time. It wasn’t a great half hour of football as we were so tired. Harry ran himself into the ground so the Gaffer made the second inspired change, bringing on Louie to work uptop with T, Mike Hubbard dropping back in to shore up the midfield. Despite this, we had Mike OD to thank saving 2 one-on-ones in the closing stages to bring the game to penalties.
When asked what end he would like to go for, the opposition captain said ‘it doesn’t matter, the whole pitch is s***’ – coming from a team that play in a park in Edmonton! They won the toss and chose to go first. Mike was beaten by a low drive. Showing their absolute class again, the opposition started to jeer Louie as he stepped up to rifle in below the keeper. When Mike OD made himself big to save the next pen, that shut them up. They went even quieter when he saved the next one, then completely silent when he saved the next one. We were even afforded the luxury of a pen miss, when T decided to try and chip his one in to the top corner! Ben scored for us Richie hit the winner.
So a very satisfying result. Yet again Mike OD proves himself to be one of the best keepers around at this level. The back 4 managed to iron out the problems to be solid and lock down the defence, Richie and Harry were Busy throughout and T proved what a great finisher he is.
Eyes now turn to a much trickier tie in the AFA cup away at Salesian next week. Lets keep the run going!!
Thank God we do not have to play teams like this every week. It just goes to show that there actually is an SAL spirit, and I for one am very much looking forward to getting back to playing teams who subscribe to this ideal!
Team: O’Donnell, McLoughlin, Simpson, Jeator, Wootten (Fabb), Wilson (Nicholas), Hancock, Shaw-Morris (Carter), Wilding, Olomowewe, Hubbard.
MOTM – Penalty king O’Donnell – faced 5 this season and saved 4 of them.