Goals – Hubbard (3), Harvey.
A second consecutive hat-trick by Mikey Hubbard eased the Reserves into their second Quarter Final of the season where they are due to meet Birbeck College at the home of football.
With Hancock unavailable and Woots injured, we welcomed back Louie Nic and Tom Spencer. Short on defenders, the gaffer made a tactical masterstroke by playing Dan Wilding a rightback where he had a great game.
On the main pitch at the Racecourse we found a sticky but firm surface – yet more testament to the hard work that Mark Carter puts in as groundsman! Within 30 seconds we had Salvo’s on the back foot – Tom was put through and forced an excellent save from the keeper, and the rebound fell to Mikey who lobbed the keeper only for a defender to make an excellent clearance off the line. Salvo’s then came at us, but they were restricted to speculative efforts from distance. The sun was making it very hard to judge any ball in the air, and the only time they were able to get behind us were long balls into the channels that were near impossible for Macca and Dan W to judge.
25 minutes in we scored – Tom collected the ball out wide, burned the winger and fullback and pulled back an excellent centre for Mikey to deftly flick on the volley into the bottom corner. Great goal and 1-0. We again let Salvo’s in when a fairly contentious freekick was awarded against Karnell – a good centre in was turned home at the near post with a great finish, catching the AP defence flat-footed and giving MOD no chance.
5 minutes before half-time we regained the lead – a fortunate indirect was awarded for a harshly penalised back pass. Ben tapped the ball to Mikey who found the gap in the mass of bodies on the line to make it 2-1.
At half time, Gaffer told us not to be so harsh on ourselves, relax and the result would come. Manu was introduced for Macca to inject a bit of pace, which we felt Salvo’s were susceptible to, and Ben dropped in at left back. Within minutes this move paid dividends, when a massive toe-punt by Jeats was picked up by Les, who jinked by one player, tied another one in knots with step-overs and centred a ball to Mikey who had his back to goal – Tom was arriving and it looked like his best option would be to square it back to him, however continuing his rich vein of form he cheekily backheeled it into the bottom corner, notching his 8th goal in the 3 games. Soon after Karnell was set clear, ran through and hammered a 4th, giving the keeper no chance. At this point Louie Nic entered the fray, after Mikey pulled up sharply with his groin.
The last 25 minutes of the game were fairly comfortable, the defence led by Simmo and Jeats repelled most things thrown at them, although we made it a bit more interesting by conceding a goal with 15 to go. We were a bit wasteful to be honest – instead of holding the ball up and retaining possession, we were too gung-ho and often found ourselves in offside positions, thus surrendering possession straight back to Salvo’s. However, we saw the game out.
Credit to Salvo’s a good bunch of lads who never stopped trying. Comedy moment after the game in the changing room was when Karn realised that we had won 4-2 – he had thought it had been 3-2, and that was the only reason why he was trying so hard – if he had known the actual score he would not have done so much running.
MOTM – many good performances today – Simmo and Jeats were strong at the back, Dan W and Ben were excellent out of position, Harry and Sly ran the midfield, Tom had a great game and was full of running. However, can Mikey H be overlooked? Really on form and has his goal scoring touch.