On a huge cup weekend for the club we had to pit our wits against 1st division oppo again. After previous performances we were reasonably confident in our chances.
With a couple of late changes we took the field with Steve in goal and defence of Fabb, Hancox, Jonsey and Demir. Midfield of Coughlan, Wood, Munero and Brade. Shaw-Morris backed up Fullerton. Adam Bruce started as sub. We started by playing downhill and we pushed Hill back straight away with some good passing and excellent movement with both Liam and Ashley looking effective as they got behind their backs. Johnny was pushing to back up Fraser and Kurt as often as possible. For the first half hour we played most of the football with Hill resorting to the long ball as they tried to release their wingers. The back four dealt ably with all that was thrown at them With Will and Fevzi being especially effective.
Fevzi added plenty in attack with his usual mazy runs and fine touch. Johnny and Jed were winning most of the midfield battles although occasionally Jed was isolated when we pushed up trying to score, something to watch in future. We created plenty of openings in this half with Johnny going close with a header and Liam, Fraser and Ash all having chances but not being able to punish Hill for all our possession. Hill always looked capable on the break and alas with a few minutes to go to the half we lost concentration for the first time and were punished.
Half time and we knew we were still in the game and if we could score next we had a real chance. Adam came on for Fevzi who had taken a knock. Both sides started as they left off with us spreading the play and Hill being a bit more direct. We created a couple of early chances with Will and Fraser going close. We looked slightly more vulnerable when they attacked as they used the hill to their advantage and we pushed hard for the equaliser. We continued to defend well until Hill pulled out a couple of crackers that left Steve in goal with no chance. The third seemed to knock the stuffing out of us a bit, but we gathered our breath and went again. The beauty of this team is that we never give up and no cause is ever lost. Fraser continued to dictate play and had a couple of long shots. Hill extended their lead with a breakaway. At 4-0 even their guy’s on the side said it flattered them. With time running out we pulled one back when Ash latched onto a through ball, rounded the keeper and slotted home. A consolation we deserved.
So out of both cups, but with heads held high. We have showed four first division sides that AP 3s are a force to be reckoned with. In all the games the difference was that the top teams took their chances on a more regular basis than we did. This was all the difference was and if we are to keep raising our game this is the one area we need to be more clinical with. All in all the boys did AP proud with everyone putting in a shift and also playing some sublime football. Some of the pass and move parts of our game are excellent. I do not like to pick out individuals but Fraser, Liam, Jed, Will and Fevzi were absolutely top notch on sat.
Back to the league next, with a home game against Lyonians. This is our chance to get back to winning ways and start taking those chances. Do not take them for granted though, if we do not turn up and play our best then we may just stumble. Remember last season, you have been warned. Let’s see everyone there sharp, get the goals up then we can concentrate on getting another 3 points. I want to win this division, DO YOU?