What a difference a few days makes in football. On Tuesday night at training, Lee Carlin was being taken to the cleaners for both pace and power by an unnamed first team centre half and having to ‘put one on him’ to try and stem the tide. Move forward to Saturday Night off Upper Street, he is slumped over in a bar, mumbling about having to go to a dog show on Sunday. He is however a winner. A hero.
Round 2 of the AFA Cup, but I wasn’t feeling ‘the magic’ when I turned up on Saturday. Now I absolutely love donning the tangerine, but a week of a rain had put the Racecourse underwater. Not a day for pretty football, if ever there was one. Net-gate was seemingly postponed for a week though which was rather satisfying.
Brentwoods were a bit of an unknown quantity, top of the the Arthurian League Prem but I haven’t a clue what that means. They had a decent kit and haircuts that were put in place just to make sure everybody was aware they were from Essex. We lined up 4-1-4-1, Matt Kelly moved to central midfield to try and get him on the ball and Ronnie went up top.
We bossed it early doors, it wasn’t particularly easy to stand up but we played some tidy stuff. The breakthrough came when Tom clipped one through to Ronnie, who you will always back one on one. Ron slotted home for 1-0. We might have extended this but to be fair, Brentwoods took a break from trying to ref the game, went 4-4-2 and gave us a bit more to think about. A bit of a mix-up led to them breaking down the right and working a tidy equaliser. We lost the plot a bit, but went in level at the break.
I am borderline obsessed with our transition when we lose the ball, so I went on about that for a bit. This is only matched by the gaffer’s obsession with the second ball, so he gave us some about that. I would consider both valid points. Either way, we were behind within a couple of minutes. A straightforward ball through the middle caught the skipper dancing on ice, their handy Mark Wright-a-like striker rounded Stu and tapped in.
It was going to be an uphill struggle at 2-1 down, literally and metaphorically. We dug in and didn’t let our heads drop. The next goal was all important and we got it. Matt Kelly went in on goal, rounded the keeper and kept his head, squaring back to debutant Matt Hiller who passed it home.
The momentum was with us and we kicked on. We were having a few set pieces in good areas, but I do feel sorry for Kieran. He whips them in all day immaculately, I don’t get anywhere near. The moment he shanks one I jog past him, ‘Kieran………Kieran…….Kieran…..*looks up*. You don’t need me to tell you mate….’. An entirely contradictory statement. Anyway, he was about to get that treatment after a corner went short and was cleared back out to him. I was 1 v 1 at the back stick and the ball went sailing 10 yards over my head. Just as I was weighing up some sort of noise of disapproval (Egan has his Auerrrgghhh down to a tee) the ginger Cafu arrived in the corner of my eye. Carlin struck it first time from a more than tight angle, full volley, laces at all costs. 99/100 (kind) that’s in the trees. However, the ball flew into the back post side netting, the keeper didn’t even move. Given the circumstances, given expectations when he lined it up, absolute wonder goal. It was literally a net buster but to be fair that’s only because we didn’t have enough pegs. We all ran after him down the line in what was retrospectively, a slightly camp fashion.
We managed to grind out the last 15, the oppo whinging their way to a cup exit. They moaned about each other, the ref and the fact we had a scouser in the team (genuinely). Onto the third round for the mighty AP.
A cracking come back by the lads in difficult conditions. We have got it together the last few games, with confidence, strength in depth and a borderline drinking problem. Onto the Middlesex & Essex cup next week. Last word for Chris Nicholau who broke his arm on Saturday, get well soon mate.
MOM : Split between our two full backs Tom Thrale was an absolute beast and is having an awesome season. Lee Carlin was incredibly solid with a wonder goal winner. I bet he bloody won at the dog show as well.
AP : Pennycook, Carlin, Patterson, Egan, Thrale, Gunyon, Nicholau (Hillier), McVeigh, Kelly, Fernee (O’Leary), Adjekwei (Casper)