AP lined up at Albert Road keen to improve on the rather mediocre performance in the final friendly, perhaps even venturing into the opposition’s half. With the sun shining and the pitch representing a carpet (a carpet laid on a bumpy hill) it was a perfect day for football, or at least it was once the team’s fairer/gingerer players had slapped on the factor 50.
Despite a ropey first few minutes, with Edelman called in to an early save, AP did indeed look much improved. New boy Pugh bolstered the defence, with left back Krefting coming out on top in Old Park’s repeated attacks down the right. The midfield battled hard, with Battams and Hyde in particular covering plenty of ground. However, with the two sides looking equally matched, both struggled to create much of note, with AP failing to really test the Old Parks keeper and Park’s long balls dealt with by Edelman rushing out to clatter their forwards at every opportunity.
In the beginning of the second half AP were quickly faced with a rather unfortunate turning point when a loose ball in the box bounced up and struck Rae on the arm. The ref immediately awarded a penalty which Parks converted.
With little attacking threat so far the introduction of Rogan and Dudmish gave AP a fresh injection of skill. Dudmish revelled in his role as the second striker, finding space and linking the play with a maturity that belies his youth. This finally led to AP creating an array of half chances, but sadly we were unable to convert.
With time running out AP poured forward for a corner. While ‘gambling’ at this stage is obviously fine, what was disappointing was that, with everyone committed forward, we gave the ball away cheaply, allowing Parks to hit us on the counter, to make it 2-0 and kill the game.
Overall this was a solid, battling performance by AP and we were unlucky not to take something from the game. The addition of more goal threat and penetration this Saturday should see us wrapping up 3 points.
MOM (from the skipper): Josh Hyde and Sam Battams both played well but Harald had an absolute stormer