Scorers: Kortevoss (2), O’Leary
After 2 games where the sixes had taken an early lead and controlled the game, this encounter with a solid Old Park’s side, fresh from a 10-0 win against Owens, provided a very different kind of test. However, we had a strong starting lineup ourselves and an impressive bench, offering a mix of the technique, pace and power to change the game if required.
With the pristine Wembley surfaces of the previous week forgotten we were back at the racecourse on the famous slope.
I’m pretty sure that since I first played on the ‘hill’ pitch at AP, as a 22 year old, it has become even steeper. There are two possible explanations for this:
1) Either my legs are going as I’ve got older or;
2) There is some sort of tectonic plate activity going on in N22 which has pushed the clubhouse end of the pitch several more metres above sea level.
In summary I’ve decided it’s Definitely 2) and I will be writing to National geographic to let them know.
Anyway, in classic AP home side fashion we won the toss and elected to shoot up the hill for the first half, knowing we would be spending much of that under the cosh. Fortunately the new centre back pairing of Simon ‘The big man is back’ Tolcher and Duane ‘diving headered a winger right off the pitch’ Watson slipped into gear like a high performance sportscar. Further up Scants, Robin, Crofty and Terry battled away in difficult conditions, with Jan and Conor offering more of the threat and we could even have taken a shock lead, with Crofty and Simon both going close with headers.
As the half progressed Simon was winning all the long balls, with Duane sweeping up. However, with Old Parks making good use of the space on the wings it also took some luck, desperate defending and good goalkeeping to keep them out.
With Harold’s troublesome groin playing up again (get well soon) Jamie, who had been looking for a lost ball, emerged from the woods like some sort of enraged beast to take his place at full back and proceeded to win the next 25 headers.
Finally Old Parks made the breakthrough but with just one goal in it at half time we very much felt the game was ours to win. The front players, Banny, Jan and Conor, were now able to do more of their work closer to goal and ten minutes into the second half it paid off, Banny bustling through and Jan applying the finish.
The game became end to end as we pressed for the lead and Duane was forced off with an injury, leading to a re-shuffle and Derek dropping back from a brief stint at centre mid to add some much needed composure to our back line. Our second finally came when a quick switch released Conor for a tidy finish – great to see the lad sign off for the 6s by getting on the scoresheet.
The momentum was now with us but things were still a bit nervy and it was a relief to see Jan add a third with a great shot across the keeper. Ein wundergoal.
There was still time for Old Parks to grab a stoppage time consolation but the 3 points was ours. Pleasingly, we battled to the end, we believed and we got our reward. A top result.
Now on to a huge away game on Saturday, but one where we don’t have to travel very far. We all know what this one means, so I won’t repeat it here – but I think I speak for all of us when I say “bring it on”.
Mom: Scants held the shape in midfield, and Simon returned to the side with a bang, but Duane just edges it for a classy display at centre half.
Team: Edwards, Piner, S.Tolcher, Watson, Krefting, Law, O’Leary, Scantlebury, Hodges, Crofts, Kortevoss, N’Gola, Graham, Scudamore