Scorers : Patterson, Kelly (2), Manu, Shaw-Morris.
Massive game and a serious test of AP mettle. The first team were missing 5 regulars. Andy suspended, whilst Ron and Tom were filming a pilot for an unlikely comedy, ‘Thrale and Pace’. Ronnie is no slouch but I can’t help feel that they have used a bit of creative license there. Laurence was in Sweden, likely dressed like he was on a Bournemouth stag do. Lee Carlin was on a Bournemouth stag do, likely dressed like he should be in Sweden (roll necks are BACK).
We made the short trip to Norsemen with a patched up side but no shortage of quality and confidence. A few latecomers letting us all down, most notably Stu who had been having breakfast with his nan. He was strangely keen to point out that ‘it wasn’t just me and her’. Not exactly sure why he needed to get that in there.
Norsemen’s pitch was in good nick considering the rain. We lined up 4-2-3-1, the lads are going to get tired of me describing games as ‘massive’ over the next few weeks but 1) it’s true 2) I can’t start bringing adjectives such as ‘gargantuan’ into play, it would be like speaking Mandarin. We had shuffled a few players around but the side was still a strong one.
The opening was competitive, Norsemen had a bit of pace down the flanks and a flat long throw that was always going to keep us on our toes. We were lively on the break. One of those ‘earn the right to play’ days that I bang on about. Was still 0-0 half hour gone and a bit nervy. It needed someone to step up and settle the nerves…..oh go on then.
We had a free-kick just inside the oppo half, I was worried that Egan was going to do one of his mental quick ones, where he smashes it straight out and shouts at someone for a ‘lack of movement’. Fortunately, he had the vision to spot the skipper 1 v 1 at the back stick (I shouted ‘Martin, 1 v 1’ at least 3 times) and stood it up. Patterson got the run on his marker and guided a flicked header into the corner. 6 goals in 8 games in 2013 then #JustSaying
1-0 at the break and we knew the next goal was going to shape the game. We had been solid but in situations like that, you know that if you keep your discipline at the back, chances will occur at the other end. So it proved. About 10 minutes in, Kelly, who was absolutely exceptional in behind Shieldsy, was brought down in the box for a ‘stonewaller’ as Andy Townsend might say. He picked himself up to dispatch. Good bottle under pressure.
It was 3-0 shortly after with the goal that effectively killed the game. With Norsemen pushing on, a lot of space was opening up in behind. Enter Les Manu, who spent the game looking a combination of highly threatening and about to keel over. However, with a ball in behind, there is only one winner and Les raced onto one and delicately lifted past the keeper.
Goal of the game followed with another superb AP break, a move was built from right to left. We worked the ball down the right flank, one and two touch football finding Marc, who produced a lovely little flick out to the left. Fraser, who had been composed on the ball all game, cooly slotted inside the near post. The rout was complete when a lovely little Monero reverse played in Kelly, who walked round the keeper to tap home. The only blot was a bizarre late consolation by Norsemen that ended up with Stu almost out for the count and Macca in the net.
Anyway, an absolutely superb performance given the circumstances. Whilst we had taken a poor oppo for 5 the week previous this was a different game. We earnt the right to play on Saturday against a handy side and put together some really incisive stuff in the second half to tear them apart. Excellent display.
A big thanks to the lads that made the effort to come up from the 2s and help us out, it was a real testament to the strength in depth we now have. From our regular line up, the two Matt’s (Shields and Kelly) linked superbly. Shieldsy worked his socks off, made it stick and hit the inside of the inside of the post with an absolute belter of a free kick. The goals will come. Kelly pulled all manner of strings in the 10. Marc and John bossed it in behind them. Another 3 points and another week ticked off. We are in a great position but as I keep saying to the lads (repeatedly) we have to be ruthless in our pursuit. Every win brings us a step closer but there is still a lot of work left to do. Keep that focus. BIG turnout at training Thursday please, for a MASSIVE game at home on Saturday.
MOM : Whilst Monero and Shields were excellent, Matt Kelly was a cut above. Always in 5 yards of space, most of what we did went through him.
AP : Pennycook, Gunyon, Patterson, Egan, Hillier, McVey, Monero, Kelly, Shaw-Morris (Nicholau), Manu, Shields (McLoughlin)