Following a number of drop outs in the 2s, sudden last minute injuries to 3s players and a rather unhelpful no show from Mr.Carter, the 3s ended up with the bare 11 for a trip to the vast pitches of HSBC. The reputation of the pristine surface at HSBC was ruined by the rain and playing quality football proved difficult at times.
We started the game with a new core to the team with newbie Noah Reich joining skipper Burwell at CB and Steve Biss, Seb Bell and John Gatenby stepping up from the 4s to fill in in the middle of the park and up front. Despite all the new faces the team gelled well, a decent warm up assisting no end. As a unit we joined the super keen ‘Martin Atkinson’ ref to walk out through the imaginary tunnel onto the pitch, stopped for the national anthems and then applauded the one man and his dog watching.
The game started scrappily with the very tall HSBC team dominating the air and the lack of fulltime AP wingers narrowing the pitch and making fluid passing difficult. The only occasions that AP were really troubled is when we tried to be too intricate, otherwise we retained possession well, starting to use the back four to spread the play. Half time came without either side really having a clear cut chance and we discussed the need for greater width.
After talking Martin Atkinson down from a 15 minute break we started the second half positively and immediately Elion was causing the right back problems from the left. A few awful decisions by the ref later and AP were in the ascendancy. It wasn’t long before Elion again tore through a couple of the HSBC players and unleashed a fierce drive against the bar which set the tone for the next twenty minutes. Elion was at the centre of everything offensively and when an AP corner was knocked back out to him at the flag, he swung it back in and found the skipper on the penalty spot who only had to place his header into the top right corner.
The goal relieved a bit of pressure which meant that the tiredness from only having 11 started to show and only some smart saves by Jason and some hard chasing by Steve Biss and the back four kept the lead.
All in all, a hard, well deserved win and good step to launch our promotion season from.
MoM: in the second half Elion gave us width, an outlet from the back and the attacking impetus that won the game. Excellent. Special mention has to go to Seb and Steve who had a hard day against two 6’3+ midfielders on a very long pitch and gave their all.