Scorers: Adjekwei, Kelly, Patterson
Off to Beckenham and back on league duty for the 1s. With all this cup fever, it was back to the bread and butter of the league. I hoped someone would use that exact phrase and I am pretty sure Egan did at some point in the warm up. HSBC is one of the better away days, relatively swift train journey, good facilities, no walking distance from the train. The stuff dreams are made of.
We knew what to expect from HSBC, they had come up with us with last year and were well organised, competitive and dangerous from crosses. It was a must win for us, games in hand are all well and good but you need the points on the board. Nothing major to report from the trip down there, a couple of iffy Egan jokes (and a shed load of woeful ones) and a quick debrief from the previous Saturday’s endgame in the Wenlock & Essex, where the self proclaimed ‘spice boys’ Marc and Stu were up to their usual tricks.
Lawrence had put himself in a strong position for MOM before a ball was even kicked, having both washed the kit and cleaning the skippers boots that had been left in his car. Lawrence Fernee, you have arrived at this football club. 2 general points of note for away games….again. If you are meeting at the train station and you are late, you will probably make us miss the train. The meet time is the LATEST time to arrive. I will likely get angry if you are later than this. If you are going direct, the traffic in South London will be bad. I cannot deal with it causing cr@p preparation. Fortunately, despite a touch of lateness, there was a good level of focus as we got underway. In addition to this, the squad was seriously strong with 3 quality subs.
We started pretty well, taking advantage of the width of the pitch and creating a few chances. We looked dangerous from set pieces, I absolutely love the look on the oppo faces when they get caught offside just inside our half and we then stick Stu on the kick and send the big lads forward. It is actually effective. That said, we lost our opener to a set piece, although there wasn’t too much we could do about it. A half cleared free kick was fired back into the bottom corner from about 25 yards, a belter.
It went from bad to worse, a pretty intense game but maybe a touch less so than the card count would suggest. Andy had been harshly booked for reacting to an offside call and after taking a couple of kicks was late with one and given his marching orders. We are certainly a team that reacts well when fired up but we had probably lost the plot just a touch. We were bailed out right on half time, with an absolute wonder save from Stu. The oppo curled one up and over the wall and Stu, not only got across but managed to claw it out of the corner and over the bar. Class and the turning point of the game.
Needless to say, John went absolutely ballistic at the half, a proper old school, angry Northern b0llocking. His face went as red as Egan’s. We needed it. Laurence came on for Munero to give us a bit of width down the left. We also had water bottles for the first time in a little while, an absolute luxury. So motivated and hydrated we emerged for the second half.
We were on it second half and despite the 10 men probably played higher up the pitch. It was hard work but we were getting a foot hold in the game. Carlin was Cafuing off down the right and had a half chance turned away whilst Lawrence had a near post piledriver superbly saved. There was a greater urgency in our play and Ronnie was introduced for Shieldsy who had run himself into the ground.
Ronnie has been a little under the weather the last few weeks bless him, so there has been little chance to drop the celebration that has got SAL fans buzzing. And by buzzing I mean murmuring to each other ‘what is that guy doing?’ and ‘why is he dressed like a Newquay surfer?’. However, he was back to full health Saturday and in absolute beast mode. With about half an hour remaining, he received it into feet back to goal, flipped it between two defenders before powering away and lifting over the keeper. So sure was Marc that Ronnie would finish it off that he was already doing the Ronnie arm pump before the ball was in. We had a little pitch invasion that must be incredibly irritating for the oppo, although there was no pre-emptive ‘knee slide’ from Chris Nicholau this week (LOL)
We kicked on and we weren’t settling for a point. After a set piece had broken down we worked the ball down the right and after a nice interchange it was cut back to Marc Lad. Marc drilled it low towards the bottom corner but in an attempt to get out of the way the ball flicked off the boot of Patterson and nestled in the bottom corner. Was it going in? Probably. Did the deflection change the direction of the ball? Not particularly. Will I get sh*t for claiming the goal? Certainly. However, there is humility and there is mis-information. I would love to credit the goal to Marc, he is a very nice young man and hasn’t scored in a little while. But I cannot and will not lie to the loyal newsletter readers or attempt to change the laws of the game. I know it’s gutting for all of us, but it’s skipper’s goal…….
We defended resolutely, forcing a few speculative efforts but HSBC couldn’t break us down. With 5 minutes left to play, we built it down the left hand side and I believe it was the pride of Magnet Trade, Laurence who cut back for Matt to coolly slot home. He deserved it for his work down the flanks. Game over.
A massive win given the circumstances. We completed our unbeaten season at their ground last season but I agree with Egan when he said it was as good or better than last year. We were up the creek at 1-0 down with 10 men but I will say it again, the spirit of this team is unbelievable. We didn’t even ride our luck second half, after Stu clawed the free-kick out we dictated the game. HSBC is always good for a session and the inevitable bender unravelled.
10 games left and it is absolutely vital that we kick on. It’s all to play for and in my mind now, the option is pretty simple. Win 7 of the next 10 games and play Div 1 football next year. It is tantalising when you think of it like that, so no stone left unturned. Training tonight, on time Saturday.
MOM : Marc Mcvey. Tireless and aggressive, shame he couldn’t cap the performance with a goal. Mentions for Laurence & Ronnie who changed the game and Lee Carlin who was excellent at right back.
Team : Pennycook, Carlin, Patterson, Egan, Thrale, Gunyon, Monero (Fernee), McVey, Kelly, Brown, Shields (Adjekwei)