Scorers: Rae, Robinson
The 4’s were brought back down to Earth with a bump, as a poor second half performance saw our unbeaten run come to an abrupt end. We travelled to the wilds of Hertfordshire to face second in the table Old Owens, and with a strong squad and some good recent results, the changing room was a very positive place. Jimmy kept spirits high by turning up dressed as a Geordie hobo, an important role for our currently non-playing Captain.
Our warm up was interrupted by the referee, who seemed to have mistaken an SAL match for the World Cup final. An easy thing to do on a windy day in Potters Bar. After checking all studs, he proceeded to give Jimmy a lengthy description of various situations which would result in a sending off, which apparently included foul throw-ins.
Forewarned we kicked off, and immediately got into our rhythm , the 4-4-2 line up more familiar to everyone and it showed as we moved the ball around midfield with ease and got in behind their full backs, Angelo and James getting into some good crossing positions. However, it wouldn’t be the 4’s without giving away at least one goal and we duly obliged after about 15 minutes when a kick out from the back was punished by their midfielder, who lobbed our stranded keeper from about 40 yards.
Unfazed by this, we immediately struck back at Owens, as some patient build up play in midfield culminated in Carl being played through on the left hand side of the area, rifling the ball into the roof of the net as the goalkeeper advanced. By this point we were really in control as Carl and Leon bossed the centre and the back four dealt quite comfortably with everything Owens could throw at them. Our second goal came when pressure down our right led to Angelo being hauled back just as he was about to break into the area. He took the resulting free kick, and delivered a fantastic ball which James Rae simply had to nod into the net.
2-1 up at half time and genuinely good value for it, we were confident of increasing our lead and closing the game out. Unfortunately all the good work we’d done in the first half was thrown away by a combination of poor decision making on the ball, a lack of concentration and an inability to stop the oppo playing through us. This applies to the entire team, from front to back so no particular area is being singled out.
Admittedly we weren’t assisted by the referee who was an utter shambles the whole game, and made things worse by awarding a fantasy penalty to Owens from which they duly equalised. The lack of appeal and the look of bemusement on the Owens player said it all really. Three goals in fairly quick succession were scored to put the game beyond doubt, a couple of one-twos was enough to outfox us and it was only after the game I wondered why, at 2-2, we were pushing forward in suicidal waves, a la Newcastle 95-96. With no Darren Peacock to soak things up at the back we were always open to the counter-attack. Perhaps a lesson for next week?
The good thing is that we know we can do better than this, but we really need to start delivering these performances starting with a MASSIVE six pointer this weekend against Winchmore Hill 5’s. Win this and we move effortlessly into mid-table mediocrity and above the oppo. Early nights all round on Friday for those selected, we can celebrate on Saturday with a win!