Scorer – McLoughlin

A scrappy win, but they all count. The day started with the usual delay, due to the almost daily occurrence of Wood High Road being shut off for a stabbing/shooting/ honour killing/human sacrifice. Everyone was running a bit late, so Macca, Simmo, Hancock, Irvine and Jeats killed a bit of time by admiring the new corner flags – did you know that if you have won the FA Cup you can have triangles rather than rectangles? Clearly Jeats has been watching Twin-Town. The other hot topic of conversation was whether or not Macca should wear his new white boots, or revert to back to black – in the 3 games that the white boots have been worn, we have won each 4-2, but the Skipper looks that extra bit stupid when he is being rinsed by wingers in white boots – as his mum would say ‘he thinks he is a right bobby-dazzler’(He went for black – quiet dignity is all he has).

Anyway, to the game! The surface a New River was again firm, although a gale was blowing. We decided to face the sun and kick into the wind in the first half. Jeat’s superb warm-up and Gaffers challenge to actually try and start a game well saw us fly out of the traps. Karnell, Harry and Skips all went close. We took the lead on 7 minutes when a Dan Wilding corner was met at the near post by the aerodynamic and gleaming bonce of the Skipper. We continued to dominate, but were somewhat profligate. OF’s mainly relied on the long ball, which quite often went straight through to MOD. Before half-time, we lost both Ben and Mikey to injury, so we had to reshuffle slightly, with Hancock and Louie Nic entering the fray – we lost our shape slightly and were pleased to hear the halftime whistle as OF’s were having their best spell of the half.

The second half was more of a contest – the sun went in and even though the wind was howling, we seemed to drop off a bit and let OF’s into the game – despite this, they only really had 2 chances – one that was saved by MOD and shepherded wide by Les and another that the oppo striker really should have buried to shanked it wide. On the hour, Macca went down with cramp so Les was introduced and Harry dropped into the backline, playing in about his 7th position of the game. Almost inevitably due to the enforced changes, we lost our shape a bit – Louie and Karn worked admirably, but we were really missing Mikey as the outlet to hold the ball up top. Despite this, we still had the better chances in the game – Dan Wilding hit an absolute bozzler from 30 yards that the keeper did well to save (even though he knew little about it!), and he repeated the trick with fine saves from Les, Richie and Louie.

OF’s battled right to the end, and the 2nd goal wouldn’t quite come, but we were fairly comfortable seeing the game out – despite the fact the referee (who otherwise had a good game) decided to stop the clock every time the ball went out of play, so we ended up playing nearly 110 minutes over the 2 halves!

So another win and a great present for the Gaffer on his birthday. We are firmly ensconced in midtable, but with games in hand on pretty much everyone, we are looking above rather than below. 25 points usually makes you safe, so we are 3 wins away from our first target. Next week attention turns to the AFA Cup, when we entertain our visitors from Brum – lets be up for this one boys!

MOTM – some very good performances – Karnell ran his heart out, Louie’s influence grew as the game went on, Simmo and Jeats were solid as ever, Will fitseamlessly in to the back line. However, it goes to Harry Wilson – for me a future first team captain at this club. Top man.

2nd Team / Match Reports