A stirring second half comeback from the 4’s against probably the most aggressive team I’ve seen in the SAL, which made it all the sweeter.
It was a must win game as OF were level on points with us near the foot of the table, a real six-pointer, and we lined up with Edelman in goal, a back four of Ziggy, Rae, Moruzzi and John Murphy, a midfield five with Elvis, Carl, Leon, James Earle and a returning Jimmy Lambert, with Reynolds playing the lone striker. We lost the toss so had to play into the gale force wind which was to have a major influence on proceedings.
I don’t think I’m alone in saying that the first half was the most dismal performance I’ve seen by an AP 4’s team. A complete inability to string more than two passes together and a willingness to smash the ball wildly up the field to no-one in particular meant that we were under the cosh from the off. Their two central midfielders, one 6ft tall and the other 6ft wide, had all the time in the world to pick off passes and we were losing out to every second ball, in all areas of the pitch.
Despite all this, the OF goal came in fortuitous albeit predictable circumstances, as a corner on the left was hung up into the air, and the vicious wind did the rest, looping up over Edelman and our post boy. We picked up a bit after that with Leon and Carl in central midfield getting to grips with their opposition, leaving James free to get into the box. We looked dangerous when we got the ball in behind their back four, and James was unlucky not to connect with Reynolds’ low cross and then having his goalbound shot blocked by a last ditch slide. OF also could have had a man sent off after bringing Reynolds down on the edge of the area when one on one.
We managed to get through to half time just 1-0 down, and got a deserved caning from Captain Lambert, who made three changes at half time, bringing on McGlogan, Morris and Angelo to revert to a 4-4-2. Roberto Mancini can only look on in envy at the strength of our bench. With the wind behind us, we tore into the oppo from the kick off and had them on the back foot immediately, with Angelo and Jack giving their back four something to think about and Carl, Leon and James Earle bossing the middle.
A free kick about 25 yards out on the 15 min mark and, after his last minute top corner belter last week (disallowed), Angelo was the obvious choice. He stepped up and nonchalantly bent the ball round the wall into bottom right. Top goal. With the bit between our teeth we pushed for the winner and cracks really started to show in the OF team.
Our second goal came with about 20 to go, from a throw in on the right we switched play to Earle who was free on the left, he whipped in a fantastic cross to Angelo who was alone on the edge of the six yard box to nod home and send the away supporters (Dougie Rice) into ecstasy.
All in all, a vital win which moved us into mid table points wise and kept up the little run we’re on now. It was also genuinely good to be able to bring on the players we did at half time, and the 4’s have now got a squad with some real quality. Another positive was that we didn’t react to some robust OF challenges, we played our football knowing it would come. Let’s keep this run going till the end of the season lads, we know we can beat every team in this division if we do what we can do.