A fantastic day for football saw AP 4XI take on Winchmore Hill 5’s in a game which would see the victor assume their rightful place in the lower half of mid-table.
The lack of i-pod dock, and therefore no banging garage ‘classics’ in the changing room, proved an early handicap but with a strong squad we were still confident of gaining revenge for our reverse earlier in the season.
Running out on to a sun soaked Heartbreak Hill, we engaged in the traditional warm up of repeatedly smashing the ball over the bar and into the car park, whilst Jack told us about his take-away from the night before.
Suitably warm we kicked off down the hill, with the sun blazing in the oppo goalkeeper’s eyes, the aim was to get our necks well in front before we had to turn around. We started well, with James and Leon in central midfield immediately taking hold of proceedings and easily finding Seb who was holding the ball up brilliantly and feeding Angelo, who’s quick feet and pace were causing problems for the Hill backline.
We deservedly went 1-0 up after about 25 minutes. Having won a corner, Jacko swung in a brilliant ball which was powerfully met by James Earle, giving the keeper no chance and heading into the roof of the net. A great set piece goal. Hill came straight back at us but the backline of Ziggy, Stu, James and John Murphy were absolutely solid for the second week in a row.
The game was fairly even in terms of possession, with a pattern of end to end attack being established after the first goal. Steve’s kicking and throwing was great and we caught Hill on a counter attack, a short ball out to Ziggy saw an exchange with Reynolds and then a ball over the top which Angelo picked up after a Seb flick on. One on one with the keeper, he smashed it into the bottom corner.
We kept it tight until half time and went in with a well deserved lead. Jimmy had plenty to say to us, particularly in relation to switching the ball as much as possible. For those who’ve been present in the 4’s this season, I know we were all glad that time ran out before we could get on to throw ins.
We took Jimmy’s advice on board, as the second half saw us playing more expansive football and we kept possession much better, the suspected Hill onslaught never occurring. Strong running up front meant we always had an outlet, and Leon and James were massive in midfield, James in particular won almost every ball in the air and put in some big tackles.
Our third came when John picked the ball up wide on the left. Now at this point I should make it clear that John’s recently been banned from taking set pieces due to an indifferent run of deliveries, apparently down to getting used to his new boots…ahem. As the ball ran out to him, we ploughed into the area more in hope than expectation, and watched as the ball flew over our heads and…..into the net, keeper rooted to the spot.
So a 3-0 victory for the 4’s and that coveted mid table spot under out belt. The next game is against bottom of the table EBOG 5’s, so let’s put a bit of distance between us and those down the bottom. And John, you’re still banned mate.