Scorers: Brade(3), Shaw-Morris, Wood, Lynn
A grey day and a trip to the salubrious surroundings of Dulwich sports ground. With the team chomping at the bit to get the 3s juggernaut rolling again we faced our promotion rivals. All the usual suspects were present (never mind better luck next week eh), and the line up looked strong but not particularly pretty.
All every manager wants is for his team to be solid for the first 20mins, to get settled and see what the oppos about. Then you start to up your game and win the game. Simples!
We started the match and within 15mins I felt like beating myself round the head with a bit of 4 by 2 as we slumped to a 2-0 deficit. I also felt like beating some others as well. We had actually started the game well with some decent passing and movement and looked settled, but Bank hit us with two counterattacks which completely undid our defence who were still waiting for mummy to wake them up with a cup of tea and biscuit. To be fair they were quality goals especially the first. I am not one to be to critical, but the whole back line will probably agree (hopefully) with me when I say they were pants (understatement) for the first 20 mins.
We now needed a response, and boy did we get it. We continued to play the better football and kept the pass rate ticking along nicely and created a couple of openings. Then Ash collected the ball on the left cut in and curled an absolute peach from 20yds into the top corner past the despairing dive of their keeper. Tails were up and Kurt was busying (I bet his missus wishes he was this busy at home) himself up front whilst Fraser was finding more and more space in front of their defence. The equaliser came quickly after, when Fraser picked up the ball and advanced to within 30yds. With the defence backing off he let rip with a pile driver that flew in before their keeper could do anything about it. Some exuberant celebrations followed.
At the back things began to settle down as grandpop at the back started marshalling the defence and making his voice heard. We were now winning most balls and spreading the play to release Ash and Liam as often as possible. We took the lead from a goalmouth scramble which saw the ball ricochet off both Kurt’s feet (this goes down as a good first touch) and into the path of Ash who buried it from 6yds. Kurt missed another golden opportunity from 6yds, some things you would bet your house on! Bank looked a bit shell shocked by this 25 minute onslaught, after they probably thought they had the game won. Fevzi and Fabb had began to push up more after our rearguard frailties had been sorted out, which gave us even more forward impetus. 3-2 at the half and the next goal would be crucial.
As expected Bank came out like a train, in an attempt to get a quick equaliser. Fortunately our centre halves were looking more Adams and Keown and less Djourou and Squillaci now and snuffed out Bank’s perpetual long ball attempts. Soon we had a grip on the game again and extended the lead after some ping ponging of the ball in the area led to a lay off to Jed on the edge of the area who perfectly placed his shot to deflect off their defender and past the keeper. We were well in control now and it looked like a case of how many we could score. Ash was taking a bit of a kicking on the left, which only made him angry. And you wouldn’t like him when he’s angry, in fact you might not like him when he’s not angry. This made him torment their defenders even more. New boy Daniel made it five after a lovely passing move led to him chipping perfectly over the keeper. The last goal was another fine drive, this time by Ash. The second half destroyed Bank, who looked like they had had enough with ten minutes to go. We literally passed them off the park at times. A great win and even more satisfying when you have travelled south of the river.
For 65-70 mins we were brilliant, for 15-20 we were average to poor. We need to hit the ground running every match now if we want to win this league. Yes I know mistakes will happen which is fine, but on Sat for 15mins we just were not good enough as a team. God gave you a mouth so bloody well use it (keep it clean you bunch of perverts). Both their goals were avoidable if only we had communicated. This does not have to be from Gary and Will (but it would help), both Fevzi and Ant need to contribute because they look across the whole line and should be able to tell the others what they see even if it does not lead to anything. This verbal guidance across the back should then involve both Mike in goal and Jed as the holding midfielder, this diamond shape should then be able to be fluid and move and rotate according to the oppos attack. I know this will all seem like rocket science to you lot but I just had to get it off my chest. On the attacking front there are rewards to be had from having a pop from distance, so do not be afraid. And it would be nice to see more efforts to get runners beyond oppo defences, especially out wide.
The team. Mike in goal was excellent with no real chance for the goals. He commanded his area and swept up Bank’s long through balls swiftly. Ant, Fevz, Will and Gary played really well after we were 2-0 down. The tackling was clean and well timed, passing was simple and generally they actually looked like a unit. Liam was efficient but not quite up to his usual tigerish standards….probably the beer. Jed did what he does best which is generally be a pain in the ar*e to the oppo and frequently the ref. His passing to keep the game moving was excellent. Ash was top notch on sat, as he terrorised their right back and forced their wide man to track back for most of the game to double up. His goals were excellent with the first a contender for goal of the season. Fraser complimented everyone around him as he was always available for a pass. Always played the right pass and did plenty of defensive work when needed. His goal is also a contender for goal of the season. Adam and Daniel played their part in the win as they also looked for the pass and the return to make space. Both their touches were quality. The skip up front worked his little socks off and although he did not score he worked their defence hard.
Next up Lyonians. No slip ups this season. With the games dwindling these are the must win matches, and if we perform like we did for most of Saturday then we should be fine.