Scorer: Graves (3)
Norseman are a very physical side and you can see how they usually bully the play to win, not this week. AP went into the game wanting to make a statement about their promotion credentials.
Alec “Pepa” Wright was dancing the day as well as the usual night away with the stars in Wembley and with the usual absentees of Lewis and Hyde, Burwell dropped back in defence alongside Salty Robinson and Mike Graves came in to see if he could back up the preeminence that scoring for the 6ths gives you. With Graves and Magee rocking up five minutes before kick off, Doddy resumed his role up front, Jack Vickerstaff, Marek and Bowhill supporting.
The game started with pace, mainly from Norsemen. We struggled to find our feet on the narrow pitch and there was constant pressure down the wings, Norsemen using their big loan striker well. One long ball to him was misjudged by Salty who decided to stand his ground and was duly steamrolled through by the big chap. Tobias was in two minds whether to come or not and the striker had a few minutes to pick is spot.
AP continued to press throughout the half, starting to create chances, particularly through Jack down the wing. 1-0 down at half time, all still to play for and Salty rung the changes, centre mid was switched round with Magee and Littledale coming in for Piner and Scudamore, Doddy pushing to the wing in place of Marek and Graves taking the forward role.
At the break we spoke about picking up men tighter when the oppo had the ball and moving off the ball when we had possession. The team duly responded, Magee and Littledale doing the hard work so that Bowhill had the freedom of expression, Salty and the full backs of Roschi and Krefting sticking with their men and Burwell mopping up the pieces. The equalizer came as Burwell drove up the right wing on the counter attack and found Bowhill 5 yards from the area who twinkle-toed his way into the box around four Norsemen players, being kicked a few times and finally hacked down in the area. With a twist and shout from Bowhill the penalty was awarded despite the bitching, threats to walk off and offers for fisty cuffs by the oppo. With Magee begging for the ball it was given to Graves to get his confidence up who tucked it home.
With Norsemen now focusing on taking out as many AP players as possible rather than playing football we were in the ascendancy. Every attack they had Salty and Burwell dispatched and the continuous pressure was starting to tell, four or five balls from Doddy and Graves flashing across the face of goal. At one point it looked as if we would struggle to find the back of the net, Doddy missing an absolute sitter by volleying wide but his blushes would be saved by Marek, after replacing the exhausted and ashamed Dodimead, who shanked a ball wide when a yard out, it trickling along the floor to him and no keeper in sight. They’ve both scored some valuable goals this year already -we’re all allowed one.
Our second was created by the former after an excellent passing display by the team, producing a top notch cross to find Graves at the back post to tap home from a yard. The third was a beautiful slipped pass from Bowhill to lay Graves through one on one with the keeper and he produced a tidy finish. The hattrick was delivered by the team and Graves finished all three well. Whatta Man.
The team showed patience, guts and maturity in picking themselves up and pushing home a big win through punishing conditions. Salty couldn’t pick a man of the match due to the excellent performance of all involved. With the cosy showers, Salty nearly suggested ‘lets talk about s~x’ but without Pepa to push it the squad decided just to revel in the glory and look forward to the Graves jug at the xmas bash. Vampires next week in a local derby, bring it on!!