Scorers: Dodimead (2), Burwell (2), Bowhill
As you’re all avid followers of the 5’s progress, I’m sure you’ll all be dying to find out how a team which had just won on penalties and savoured the delights of the annual AP fireworks evening faired against a team which they had beaten 4-1 just weeks ago. Surely this was a team full of confidence? No. Sadly, there was a distinct lack of confidence in the build up to this important league game. On the way back from their nail biting penalty shoot-out win the 5’s (being the gentlemen they are) met up with their skipper’s (Joe ‘Salty’ Robsinson’s) lovely girlfriend. She was shocked we had won as the morning before the match the skipper had told her that he was “wasting his time travelling to Reigate as many players wouldn’t turn up and the one’s that did would simply let him down”.
Added to this huge confidence blow was Burwell being so late with the kit that the ref thought our home kit was ‘denim’, giving us under 15 minutes to get changed for the game.
Into the match and in the first 20 minutes the previous weeks ‘managerial leak’ was clearly affecting the team. Going uphill on the AP slope the 5’s were struggling to gain a foothold in the game, though fortunately Scudamore and Piner were solid in midfield allowing nothing to go through them. A rare 5’s breakaway enabled Bowhill to play Dodimead in down the left, who preceded to cut back on to his right foot to chip the keeper, an undeserved lead but after the tumultuous build up to the game, surely a commendable one?
Despite being in the lead and Finchlean’s heads clearly going down, AP still struggled to produce any real attacking flair. Finchlean’s continued to press and only a couple of top draw saves from Tobias enabled AP to retain their lead. A heavy pitch was clearly taking a toll on the neat passing some of the 5’s are used to, and so Burwell took himself by the horns, neatly turning his man and playing a beautiful, if not a little heavy ‘through toe punt’; due to the heavy pitch the ball held up nicely and led Rich Bowhill to neatly slot the ball past the Finchean’s keeper.
The 2nd goal released the shackles for AP, with Liam causing problems down the right and Manuel picking the ball up from deep and being able to carry the ball into attacking positions down the left. After another AP attack the ball come out to Dodimead who hit it on the volley and, whilst on target, it took a big deflection to land in the back of the net. AP were now cruising, the defence now looked solid and it was only going to take a moment of sheer creative genius to beat the back line. Sadly creativity shouldn’t be part of a referee’s repertoire, a ball got knocked hopefully into the box and a Finchlean’s player, quite clearly offside snuck in, to put the ball past Tobias, little appeal came from AP despite the offside and it was 3-1 half time.
HALF TIME TEAM TALK
Joe ‘Salty’ Robinsion: “Look guy’s, if we keep playing the ball around more chances will come, we’re in control so let’s look to build on this by getting out to the wings and….
Burwell: “No no no, look, we’re going downhill let’s not be afraid to play some balls up to me and we can get some knock downs and score some more”
The 2nd half started and almost instantly the 2 goal lead was restored, Dodimead picked the ball up just inside the Finchlean’s half and played a delightful ball over the centre back onto Burwell’s foot, Burwell, taking a heavy touch snorted ‘s%‹t’ and started charging towards the Fincleans keeper, the keeper decided not to come for the ball (thereby retaining his teeth) allowing Burwell to slam the ball home from 3 yards out. 4-1 AP.
As 60 minutes approached ‘Salty’ rang the changes swapping Bowhill, Piner and Scudamore for Paul, Jack and Marek. AP didn’t let this new midfield dynamic affect them though and continued to press and despite the heavy pitch played some lovely stuff around the midfield. Dodimead had to be subbed with what was either a pectoral strain, breast cancer, or the results of the previous night’s expolits with Scudamore coming back into the fold. By now Finchleans were beat, allowing the fresh legs of Marek and Jack to tease the Finchleans defence. Liam played in Burwell who from the far right of the 18 yard box toe punted a delightful (if that’s possible) shot to the far top corner of the Finchleans goal.
With nothing left to play for Finchleans came out fighting, though both wingers were being kept very quiet by the solid fullbacks Harold and Manuel. A brief foray through the centre of the park allowed them to sneak a very minor consolation but in the end this was a comfortable victory. Despite AP being off the boil in the first 20 minutes the back four, helped by the two defensive midfielders, meant that once the attack got itself into gear there was only ever going to be one winner. AP currently sit comfortably in mid table and the next couple of weeks give them a chance to define their season.
Man of the match: A tough one as the whole defence didn’t put a foot wrong, both full backs deserve a mention, but Manuel edges it this week.