Scorers: Kortevoss (2), Scantlebury, O’Donnell
It was a much changed 6th team that travelled to Wembley for a ‘Home’ game against Vamps, but the dressing room was still lively and confident. Unfortunately this was due to the 7th team also playing there – at 2.15 most of the 6th team was still wandering the streets of North West London. However, we all still managed to get together in time for a quick warm up and our 18th team photo of the season, so can’t complain too much.
With all the changes we looked a little disjointed but still dangerous on the attack. After missing an early chance Jan quickly made amends, taking the ball on the halfway line, advancing and lobbing the keeper. He added a second not long later with another klasse finish (bit of German there).
The defence was looking solid. During the game Tony deliberately headed the ball back to the keeper some five or six times, which was just incredible. Prior to this game I’d only ever seen it done on TV or by accident – it really was wonderful stuff.
Not long before half time we allowed Vamps back into the game. A lucky bounce saw their centre midfielder in acres of space and he hit the shot early from distance. Lloyd got fingers to it but couldn’t quite tip it over.
We went out for the second 45 with renewed hunger. Within a few minutes Jan was through again and as he shaped to shoot the Vamp’s bald and angry little fullback cynically tripped him. With no intention of playing the ball a red card was a formality. (Vamps had a similar appeal of their own minutes later, when one of ours collided with their striker, but the ref gave us the benefit of the doubt, rightly recognising the comparative lack of malice. Also the incident was much further out and there were covering defenders, so even if it was a foul, it was a free kick at most, despite the Vamp’s whining. So let that be the end of it.)
To their credit, Crouch End remained very much the tie despite their 1 man disadvantage, sensing that, at 2-1, they were still in with a chance. They raised their work rate and played a really high line to squeeze the game. We toiled a bit and a lack of patience and composure meant it was all a bit nervy, although, admittedly, some of the offsides being called against us were a little dubious.
We finally got the killer goal after some good work by Conor on the left led to Scants pouncing on a weak backpass to dispatch a cool finish. Understandably this knocked a bit of the stuffing from Vamps and we looked to add more. We finally sprung the offside trap with ten to go, allowing Brendan to curl in a fourth, and saw the rest of the game out very comfortably.
Huge thanks to Andy, Tony, Brendan and Conor (who was well behind the ball for his disallowed ‘offside’ goal) for stepping in to fill the gaps – it certainly helps having good players to call on.
Team: Edwards, Myers, Smith, Pugh, McGilvray, O’Leary, Scantlebury, Hodges, Law, Kortevoss, Crofts, Piner, O’Donnell
MOM: Some classy performances defensively and Jan got his 2 goals, but I’ll give it to Mike Myers – dominant in the tackle/air and hit some great channel balls as well – all that you want from a full back.