Scorers: Burwell, Doddimead, Magee
For the captain, Friday night didn’t represent ideal preparation for another must win game. Having long sold his gritty North Eastern roots down the river, he took it one step too far, deciding to try scallops for the first time and thus testing a constitution which has been developed during his formative years when eating a chicken “parmo” was considered a premium treat.
So after a night of throwing up and very little sleep, it was to the game, where another massive performance was required against a Winchmore Hill team that, while floundering at second bottom in the league, were always going to be up for the fight as they attempt to avoid relegation. The 5s welcomed back Bowhill for his first game of 2013, with Mason making his debut in goal, while absentees in defence meant that birthday boy Burwell started in CB with captain Robinson.
So a few conclusions from the first half: 1) food poisoning and lack are sleep are not ideal preparation for a football match – you’ll struggle to find a more all at-sea performance from a CB this season than Robinson’s during the first 30 mins; 2) Having an annoying, moaning Burwell meandering around next to you only serves to make matters worse; 3) the recent weather and the negative impact that it having on north London football pitches is not conducive to the 5s’ regular free-flowing passing football.
The 5s reached half time 1-0 in what was one of the most disappointing halves of the season (forgetting the first three games), having been sloppy in possession and creating almost no goal scoring opportunities. For the second game in a row, there was change in tactics with the side moving to a 4-4-2 formation, with Burwell moving up top to partner Dodimead and Rae dropping back to CB with Robinson.
The second half represented a significant improvement in the team’s performance, with an inspired Burwell out-muscling their defender for the first goal, before assisting Magee with a great slide-rule pass and then providing the pass for Dodimead’s goal (a trade-mark chip over the keeper). Not only did the 5s provide more threat going forward, but the defence improved immeasurably, with Rae bringing some much needed calmness and delivering one particularly ridiculous last-ditch tackle.
Overall, the 5s have to be pleased with the way they fought back and with every game from now till the end of the season being a must win, this level of application and fight will be needed. Good performances from quite a few in the second half, particularly Dodimead, Mason and Rae. However, the birthday boy deserves man-of-the-match for such a dominant second 45.