Spring Cup Group Game 1
Team: Manuel Veth, Chirac Shah, Derek Graham, Mike Myers, Ollie Edge, Ditmir Sulemanji, Anthony Shaw, John Scantlebury, Mel Loughnane, Jack Dudmish (Robert Stagg), Michael Graves
We opened our Spring Cup campaign with a comprehensive win over our visitors, Old Actonians. Following a disheartening defeat in the league the previous week to an unsporting Southgate team which was more like a 2’s team, we bounced back with an energetic and very hard working performance producing some of the best football that we have played all season. Starting with a 4-5-1 formation, and unsure of the opposition’s strengths, we agreed before kick off that we would keep it tight across the middle for the first twenty minutes and try to open them up at every opportunity.
To say that we terrorised them for the first 45 minutes was probably a fair comment. We scored 5 in the first half, another spectacular “cross” from newly appointed left back Ollie which found the keeper off his line and four great goals from Michael up front. The pick of his goals in the half had to be the one where Derek took a free kick from our 18 yard box, Jack headed superbly onto the path of Michael who finished spectacularly. Three touches to find the net, and each of them top quality. At half time, we took a breather and prepared to finish them off with the assistance of the hill. However, and in fairness to Old Actonians, we faced a more stern test for the opening 20 minutes where they managed to keep us from scoring. This was not to be the case for the entire half however as Michael scored his fifth and Robert who entered the action finished well to ensure the 7-1 victory.
Credit where it is due, our team played with great energy and intensity for the entire 90 minutes. Whatever it is about cup games, they always bring out the best in this team. Manuel had a solid game in goal, at the back, Derek had a stormer and Ollie impressed in his new position at left back. Our midfield dominated every exchange with Mel effectively playing the defensive role with the energy of an 18 year old! Scants deliveries from dead balls was a joy to watch and contributed to a few of the goals of the day. Anthony, Jack and Ditmir proved too classy for the opposition and played with confidence and provided quality link up play with Michael up top who probably will star in many nightmares among the Old Actonians defence with his performance. It was simply phenomenal and well deserving of the man of the match award!
Two things that impressed me outside of our own display on the day were the performance of the referee and the attitude from the Old Actonians players who never gave up for 90 minutes and continued to play the game in the spirit that it should be played in. Not many teams wish the opposition luck after such a convincing defeat. They played with dignity, respected the referees decisions at all times and kept their discipline.