Scorers: Fullerton (2), Brade, Bruce, Smith

After the toil of another week there’s nothing better than the thrill and enjoyment of a 3s game. Unless you’re organising the team. With a couple of cry offs it appeared we still had plenty of options, until half hour before kick off when Liam and I were still rattling around the strangely empty changing room. Still at least I had the kit! Gradually players drifted in, which was nice. With a slightly delayed kick off we managed to get 8 players onto the pitch which seemed to be a minor miracle at this point. With four players lurking somewhere within the M25 (hopefully) we started with Andy in goal, Fevzi, Gary, Will and Ziggy across the back. Midfield three of Aso, Adam and the 3s very own Duracell Bunny Liam.

Having missed the first twenty minutes due to a call to the Anderson Taxi service I have been reliably informed by the old man and Nigel (chairman of selection who must have well impressed at this point) that we were putting up a good show with Finch’s having plenty of ball but lacking some craft and guile in the final third. Aso, Adam and Liam were putting in 45 minutes of running in twenty minutes which not only kept Finch’s at bay in defence but tried to relieve pressure on the break whenever possible. With the arrival of Ashley, Jermaine and “Stroller” Fullerton we were at least up to strength. Although it took them a little while to actually get on the pitch due to the warm up required. This did not go down well with Liam who was rapidly turning a very irate Duracell Bunny. Fortunately the late arrivals got stuck into the task ahead and we rapidly took control of the game. Jermaine instantly started taking their left back to task and knocked in a couple of delightful crosses, one of which deserved a finish. The midfield were using the ball well and forcing Finch’s into a lot of chasing. The back four were being superbly marshalled by Gary and Will with Andy picking up anything loose. Fevzi and Ziggy were giving excellent width and were integral to many of the moves. The breakthrough came from a delightful corner by Liam. As the ball came into the front post,”Stroller” was there to direct a header in from two yards. Finch’s still looked dangerous on the break although they were constantly snuffed out before reaching the danger zone. 1-0 at the half and well deserved.

Andy had now turned up to give us a sub, which meant some lucky soul was going to get a breather. We reiterated that our passing was better than theirs and a little extra composure and we could score even more. I did not realise the impact would be so immediate. Literally from the restart Jermaine was released down the right, he beat his defender and fired the ball back for Ash to have a shot which the keeper saved, fortunately Kurt just happened to be passing as the ball ran loose and he tapped in from two yards. 2-0 and we looked well in control and it was not long before we got the third after Ash was on the end of some work down the left which allowed him to step inside the defender and slot home. Andy now came on for Liam to add some extra defensive stability in midfield and to allow the Bunny to recharge after an epic shift. We had more chances to score from Ash especially, who hit a post, passed to the keeper and generally did anything possible to avoid scoring. The skips was also denied his hat trick when he was caught offside, in fact the pair of them made Finch’s defence look like Adams and Bould in their heyday. The fourth came after some more well worked passing led to the ball being slid through their defence Kurt who was several yards off side let the ball run to Adam who raced from well on side (watch and learn guys) to slot calmly past the keeper. The fifth quickly followed from Adams corner which skipped through the crowded penalty area to Andy on the edge of the box who hit a beauty first time past the keeper into the corner. 5-0 and we were well in control. To be fair though Finch’s kept coming and late on they scored from a rebounded through ball. Andy then made a couple of fine stops to deny Finch’s. Unfortunately with legs fading they scored a peach from distance with Andy unsighted. With the clock ticking down we managed to hold on and concede no more.

A well deserved win against a hard working Finch’s side. These three points give us a fighting chance for promotion but we got away with one this weekend. Finch’s could have easily made the superiority count early on if they had been more clinical. That must not take anything away from the effort of the starting eight who were magnificent not just for that period but the whole game. To win matches you have to want it and there have been times this season when we were second best and got what we deserved. When we fight for the ball and help our team mates we are a match for anyone and that is how it has to be for the remainder. Possession and smooth passing is what undoes other teams. As soon as the ball is stopped play breaks down, it is all about momentum. That ball needs to be kept moving but that will only happen when the work is put in.

Andy in goal was excellent and commanded his area almost as a sweeper. Ziggy and Fevzi were always an outlet timing runs and movement to perfection. Gary and Will were as good as they’ve been all season, which showed as Finch’s hardly managed to penetrate the centre. Their decision making when with and without the ball was also excellent. It is no wonder that Aso, Adam and Liam were knackered at the end after the ground they covered. All three were superb when the odds were stacked against us and when things evened up they played a brilliant and expansive game forcing Finch’s to do a lot of ball chasing. Unfortunately guy’s you have now set a precedent so we expect nothing less from now on. Jermaine was his usual tricky self and gave their defence a torrid time with his skill and the timing of his runs. Talking of timing runs Ashley was a handful both up front and on the flank and could…. No should have had more goals. Although when after the game he started to change on the touchline he seemed genuinely surprised that there were changing rooms…..we could have shown you earlier if you had been there! Andy after another mammoth bus journey showed his versatility and scored a cracker to boot. Finally “Stroller”, your skipper, your leader, calmer than a boat in the Doldrums, more laid back than a DFS chair and more chilled than a frozen chicken. Scored a brace, should have had a hat trick, battered their defence and forced Liam into anger management classes, all within about an hour. Nothing short of impressive.

Due to my enforced absence this week I am sure you will continue with the good work from this week. Remember we are not just a team we are an AP team.

Just like to thank the illustrious Mr Bagley for his support, and next time bring your boots!


3rd Team / Match Reports