Alexandra Park Reserves 4 – Old Minchendenians Reserves 2

AFA Intermediate Cup 4th Round | November 17, 2012

Scorers: Tabram (2), Hancock, Manu

A game which showed the Reserves 2 contrasting styles – for most of the first half we blitzed the oppo, in the second we had to grind out a result.

The pitches at Wembley were again superb, with most of the team wearing moulds – we were looking forward to being able to give our full squad of 14 a decent run out, but alas no – 2 players failed to turn up. Considering the fact we have enough players wanting to join the club to fill 10 XI’s, this is not on and these players will not be selected next week. So, just 12 players, but certainly a very strong squad.

We started very well, and it was at least 10 minutes into the game before Andy got a touch in goal. We were spraying the ball across the backline and feeding the midfield well. Fraz and Les were getting behind the fullbacks over and over. The first goal was fashioned out a quick counter attack. Macca’s shining bonce cleared a ball away, which was turned over quickly – great link up play by Ricky, Les and Tabs saw the ball squared back to The Bishops son Hancock (who managed to get over the disappointment of the Padre being overlooked for the top job this week – he was a 1000-1 outsider – you would have got better odds on Mickey Beard to be Arch Bishop of Canterbury!) who hit a daisy cutter from 20 yards into the bottom corner. 1-0.

Soon after, a corner by Frazer was turned in by a combination of Tabs and the oppo defender – it is brilliant that we actually are threatening from set-pieces now – earlier in the season we looked really blunt – fair play to Tabs who is offering  a real threat up top – it is a complete shame that he is Welsh though. It is really embarrassing when he tapes up his ears before the game and starts bellowing ‘Bread of Heaven’ when we toss up before the game. Also Ref’s actively persecute him for being Welsh – anything he appeals for is turned down – any chance of some elocution lessons – Simmo- will you teach him your estuary Engilish?

On 35, Les mugged off the centre back and ran through to hammer in to the bottom corner – 3-0 and game over. Or so we thought. In the last 8 minutes of the half we let in to 2 silly goals. The first was a cheap penalty. The Minch winger went down cheaply and convinced the Ref he was fouled by a combination of Macca, Jeats and Simmo – in truth there was not a touch and he dived, but fair play to the oppo striker who took a cool pen and sent Andy the wrong way. Their second goal came when a combo of Macca and Andy failed to deal with a looped ball into the box and the same striker headed in to the net. At half-time, 3-2 AP.

We spoke about the need to dig in and make sure that we get the result we deserved. Minch’s had their tails up and to be fair came at us strongly. We brought Mikey on for Macca and dropped Sly into centre back. Mikey had a couple of chances that were well dealt with by the keeper. To be fair it was real gritty performance second half, and Minch’s really came at us. Andy pulled off a top class save from  a  long freekick that was missed by the whole defence.

Fraz had to come off with an injury, so Macca came back on 15 to go. Our first corner after this saw ‘Bread of Heaven’ Tabs head a quality corner by Mikey home, making it 4-2. With 7 to go, Macca was penalised for a handball in the box by a penalty, to which Andy pulled off an absolutely top class save, blocking it to his right. Again Minch’s pushed, but we had a few chances on the break where we could have run down the clock but made the wrong choices. However, the whistle went and we won.

In the first half we were irresistible. In the second half we were resilient and gritty. We need to make sure we keep this roll going. We have a quality Keeper in Andy and a great striker in Bread of Heaven, however MOTM is Les Manu – the past 2 weeks he has been unplayable.

Team – Quinn, Wilding, McLoughlin, Jeater, Simpson, Hancock, Cornibert, Manu, Shaw-Morris, Shaw, Tabram, Hubbard.

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