The 12.55 to Hertford North has been….cancelled. I knew I was in all sorts of trouble stood at Finsbury Park. Having berated the general timekeeping in the previous match report, I knew I was going to be walking into all sorts of abuse. Indeed so it proved. I would like to apologise sincerely and profusely. I know how the lads look up to me on and off the field, and this is not the example to be setting. Unacceptable (but the trains were ballsed….)
Back in the salubrious surrounding of the Racecourse. With a quite superb sofa and newly plastered walls, I did briefly think I might have taken a wrong turn and ended up at the Ritz. Needless to say, the sight of the lads ‘Tiger Balming’ / Under Armouring (did somebody order an athlete?) up soon dispelled this.
It was seriously, horribly cold and the pitch was all sorts of wrong. The surrounding area resembled an episode of Ground Force where Titchmarsh has p*ssed off for a brew and not returned. Not ideal. Neither was the fact that in conditions likely to cause and aggravate injuries, we had 1 sub. I have absolutely no idea how this occurs at a club with 9 teams, with the 1’s chasing promotion to the top tier.
Was another big game, they pretty much all are as we turn the corner for the second half of the season. We are playing catch up and need the points on the board. We had battered a decent OF side at their place earlier in the season but we played the conditions miles better than them.
We were off to a flyer, 1-0 up in the opening ten minutes. We actually managed to work the ball from right to left pretty well and Laurence was in space wide of the full back and ran onto one, drilling it inside the near post with his first touch. Great ping. Did somebody order a left foot?
Offside is a complex beast in the SAL, it is pretty much a lottery so probably best avoided. However, when someone goes running off in a straight line your natural reaction as a defender is just to let him go. The OF forward ran away, there was no flag, no linesmen for starters, but Stu managed to parry his strike. The ball then fell to another OF player who was almost stood next to Stu to tap home. If the first one was 2 yards off, the second was literally about 7. Goal given, bizarre.
It was a pretty low quality game and it was just a little bit flat. Marc McVey re-ignited the club vs country debate after returning from AFA duty as stiff as a board. Fortunately, Ronald Adjekwei was the man providing our spark. Since this man flu has shifted, he has been pretty much unplayable and he put us 2-1 to the good. A recycled free-kick (we are a green set piece provider) was flicked on by Matt, Ronnie rolled the defender and sculpted one into the far corner. He didn’t do the arm celebration which disappointed me a bit, I was doing it running off to celebrate and looked like an idiot.
It was 3-1 minutes later, Ronnie was played in down the left channel and after hitting the keeper with his first effort, lashed the rebound into the roof of the net. Cracking finish. Half time was all about the next goal and trying to get that little bit more from the lads. There was defo another 20% in the locker. Alas, it was 3-2 shortly after. Stu was off on his holidays expecting a cross from an angled free-kick 30 yards. The oppo player spotted him creeping out and whipped it straight over his head downwind.
We dug in, it was pretty nervy, a fair bit of infighting as per. We have been quite good at keeping it constructive of late but I think everyone was a bit cold and grumpy. That said, we were creating chances to put the game to bed. I did start to worry after a few had gone by the wayside, but with 15 to play, Ronnie poached the goal that sealed it after the keeper parried Laurence’s strike.
Not a vintage performance and a pretty horrible game but onwards and upwards. It was tricky conditions and it speaks volumes that we were still deserved winners despite being under par. Need an improvement in the work rate next week though, we were sloppy defensively as a team. It is that hunger and drive that has set us apart from other sides this season, if we start thinking we have a right to focus when we are only in possession we will come down with a bump. We can’t forget that we are only just over half way through the league season, so still so much work to be done. We just have to keep winning and it will fall into place.
Finally, a special thanks to Andy Burwell who stood out in full kit following his earlier game in case we needed an emergency sub. In that weather, it was one hell of an effort.
AP : Pennycook, Carlin, Patterson, Egan, Thrale, Monero, Gunyon, McVey (Brown), Kelly, Fernee, Adjekwei
MOM : Adjekwei. Lethal. Special mentions to Wizard of the dribble, Fernee and Matt and John in midfield.