Goals – Gunes (3), Hubbard, Shaw, Tabram
One thing I notice quite a lot as I read twitter and other such internet musings about our beloved club, is that a lot of people and a lot of clubs do not seem to know what the actual name of the club is – the most common variants seem to be ‘Alexander Park’, ‘Alexandra Palace’ or my personal favourite ‘Alexander Palace’. Surely everyone must know that the park in which we are based was named after Princess Alexandra of Denmark, in commemoration of her marriage to Edward VII when he was Prince of Wales? Well, on Saturday, Hancock was asked which team we were, and when he responded the conversant cheerily replied he had never heard of either place or team.
Anyway, we took a strong team down to Mitcham, with Graves, Hancock, A Pennycook, Brown and Gunes all coming into the squad from the previous week. Despite this, we started fairly indifferently, and it was OWC who had the better of the early exchanges and struck the bar. We took the lead fairly early though when Gunes delightfully controlled a cross on his chest and acrobatically volleyed home in one fluid movement. Soon after, he made it 2 when he curled an inch perfect shot in to the top corner. 2-0 AP and looking comfortable.
At this point, we started getting slap-dash and lax – which pretty much summed us up throughout the game. We were giving away the ball in silly areas, and despite having numerous chances to clear, allowed an OWC to jink in and score, much to Skipper McLoughlin’s chagrin. We then relied on a smart point blank save from Smith in goal to keep our noses in front, before almost instantly going up the other end where Mike Hubbard pounced on a Manu cross that the keeper could not hold to make it 3-1.
We should have seen the half out comfortably but unfortunately fell back into slap-dash ways, and despite numerous opportunities to clear, the oppo winger was able to jink past several players before he was clipped by McLoughlin in the area – despite a theatrical fall a definite penalty that was coolly slotted home.
10 into the 2nd half we made a change with Hancock and Brown coming on for the hardworking Ad Pennycook and Tim Jenkin, that filled in well in an unfamiliar position. We were under a bit of pressure until a fine cross field ball by Casper Sonnet put Les Manu away on the right who worked it back into Ricky Shaw who arrowed home from the angle – 4-2 and that should have been that. However, Hancock got one in the unmentionables so was incapacitated for around 10 minutes, which left a huge gaping hole in the middle for the oppo to rampage through. We scored again when Ozan was put through in the channel and pulled the ball back to be deflected into the net by a desperate defender (the dubious goals committee gave it to Gunes however).
We decided to carry on with our generous defending when Jeater needlessly took a free kick in the corner, played it straight to their striker with the defence snoozing so was able to cut it back for an easy tap in.
Tabram then went up the other end to coolly slot home form 20 yards when Les Manu pulled back the ball to him. Still the scoring was not over, as McLoughlin dallied on the ball and was robbed of it, fouling the striker in the process – the resultant freekick caught Jason flatfooted in goal.
So a 6-4 win in the end. We were excellent going forward but dreadful in defence (with the exception of Mike Graves who was imperious at left back). Every goal was caused by one of our mistakes or needlessly giving the ball away. If we have designs of playing at a higher level we will need to sort this out.
We REALLY need to work on our shape which was at times awful, particularly as a back 4. Please make sure you get to training so that we can do this – we have proved we have great fire-power now, but we need a stronger back bone in defence.
Team – Smith, Graves, McLoughlin, Jeater, Jensen (Brown), Manu, A Pennycook (Hancock), Shaw, Sonnet, Gunes, Hubbard (Tabram).