In sunny conditions on Saturday Alexandra Park 6th team arrived at Winchmore Hill looking to extend their winning run to 5 games including pre-season. In their previous incarnation as the 8’s most of the team had been involved in 4 matches against the same Winchmore Hill side last season and put 5 past them in one of those so confidence was high.
The move to a slightly later kick off than the previous weeks early start meant that White, Dudmish and Sulemajani had already been called in for their tea, while Dan Ware and Olly Tolcher were ironing out some issues in their relationship so a few changes to the side were needed. These included the return of Gavin Johnson in midfield and Toby Smith at right back and a debut for new Canadian midfielder Pete Oiler.
The first 15 minutes of the game was a close fought and evenly balanced affair with both teams favouring a short passing approach and looking organised. As the half went on though the greater threat posed across the park by Alexandra Park allowed them to take control and push Winchmore Hill back into their own half, where they decided to make base camp and presumably use a combination of text messages and email to stay in touch with their forward players. Gavin Johnson was excellent in the middle chasing down every loose ball while the full backs Smith and Waldrum pushed forward to add even greater width to the 4-3-3 formation. It looked as though the goal must come but just as with last week the finishing touch was missing, in fact as chance after chance was missed through the last 15 minutes of the first half it became clear that the finishing touch was not only missing it had been pronounced dead at 15:17pm on Saturday as the half time whistle blew.
Although frustrated at half time the AP players roused themselves by the knowledge that one goal would put them on the way to a deserved victory, and that goal finally came about 15 minutes into the second half. A loose ball was pushed into the path of Nally by Oiler allowing him to fire it left footed into the corner of the net. Rather than roll over at this point Winchmore Hill responded to the goal by attempting a few forays further forward. Fortunately for AP, Tolcher and Sims were looking every inch the Bruce and Pallister of their generation in terms of their reading of the game, but the fact they combine that with current day pace of Bruce and Pallister meant the lively Winchmore forward line briefly threatened a response.
The second goal of the game however was scored by AP, this time as a chance fell to Booth in the box he made no mistake and clinically dispatched it to end the game as any kind of contest. From there with 10 minutes of the match remaining it became a procession. First Waldrum caused confusion in the penalty area between the central defenders and touched the ball off to Booth to apply a simple finish, before the same two players combined again as Waldrum won the ball on the right hand side before picking out an inch perfect cross for Booth to head home via the underside of the bar. The fifth AP goal was celebrated most vociferously over 3000 miles away in Ottawa as Canada’s finest Pete Oiler flicked a near post header from a corner into the back of the net. The game was now wide open and Tolcher.S was afforded a brief run out in midfield where he picked out a through ball to Booth now in clear space and he was able to run through and put the ball past the Winchmore keeper for the 6th.
All in all it was a pleasing performance and a good win, the aim is now to start taking chances earlier in games, but when it ends up at 6 there can’t be too many complaints. Other high points include Paddy Knight winning pretty much every header in the top half of the pitch and the later realisation that George Waldrum looks a lot like a stretched out version of Frank Nally.
MOM – Alex Booth for the goals and Gavin Johnson for setting the tone from the first whistle.