Scorers: Tabram (2), Mellows
AP 4th XI kicked off their league campaign at home to EBOG’s 4’s, who’d been pipped at the promotion post last season. Having registered a 1-0 win in a preseason match, the 4’s were quietly confident, even when EBOG’s broke out the cones for their warm up.
We lined up in a 4-4-2, with new boy Tyrone in goal and a back four of Murphy, Johnson, McGlogan and Reynolds, a midfield of Mellows, Bell, Earle and Morris, with Tabram and (recent) goalscoring sensation Elvis up front. To say we started poorly is an understatement as the first EBOG’s attack ended with a looping cross finding their man at the far post, to tap home.
1-0 down after 30 seconds and it didn’t get any better as the entire team decided to play statues, with no options for the man on the ball and an increasingly isolated front two being forced to chase down hopeful long punts. We went 2-0 to another dreadful goal, as a long throw in from their mouthy central midfielder (‘SET ME’) was flicked on by a man with two AP players marking him, the ball bounced into the six yard box, evading defenders and goalkeeper and finding the bottom corner.
Poor marking at set plays was something we were guilty of all game, so lads, if someone says ‘get on his toes’, can we make sure we actually do it and stay there as well, rather than staring at the thrower and letting the man drift?
The second goal seemed to be a bit of kick up the arse, and we started to look a bit more progressive, with Seb and James getting to grips with their midfield three and Nathan and Jacko getting into better positions on the flanks. When we did manage to show some composure and actually use the ball, we caused EBOG’s problems and shortly before half time pulled one back. Great work from Jacko and Elvis down the left saw Tabram nodding home.
We came in after 45 and got the b*llocking we deserved from Jimmy, the lack of movement and options for the man on the ball were the main issues we had to deal with. With the rolling subs I kind of lost track but at some point Liam came on for Jacko! The second half started much better, Tabram having more joy with better balls into his feet, allowing him and Elvis to link up and bringing AP up the field, John and Jacko / Nathan also doing the business down the left flank.
We had EBOG’s well on the back foot and we deservedly drew level when Nathan’s inswinger caught the keeper off guard and sailed in. We’ve conceded a few off those over the last couple of years so it was good to see one go in our favour! AP continued to press and it was only a matter of time before we went ahead, as a strong, pacy run from Liam carried the ball deep into the EBOG’s half, where he laid it off to Tabram who expertly bent the ball round the keeper after evading a couple of challenges.
The challenge now was to close the game out, which we were more than capable of doing given our dominance in the second half. Unfortunately a costly error at the back allowed the oppo to equalise and take a share of a game we deserved to win. The second half was excellent and over the last two games we’ve played two really good halves of football, so let’s try and keep it going for the full 90 minutes and get the 3 points we deserve.