Despite dominating large portions of this SAL 1st Division encounter against last year’s Champions (just think about that sentence for a minute!), AP’s finest couldn’t convert any of their chances and had to settle for a point.
AP entered the game with only 7 points from 7 league games – not a great return and one that has to improve in 2014.
Having said that 2013 has been a good year for us and we were determined to sign-off with a performance and 3 points.
This ambition was greatly helped by a very positive start from AP. Nicholaou & Fernee were creating havoc in a new look 4-4-2 formation that in addition to providing greater flank defensive cover, also provided us with a greater attacking threat in wide areas.
On numerous occasions we got behind the Nottsborough back four but couldn’t find an end product.
AP continued to exert greater pressure on their opponents and were unlucky not to go ahead from a Kelly shot which rattled the Notts bar.
Notts. played much of the first half on the counter-attack but AP were equal to it thanks to a disciplined midfield performance from Mcvey & Shaw, and assured performances from fullbacks Carlin & Hillier.
0-0 half time and the instructions were to continue the second half in the same vein.
AP did start the second half well but lacked the incisive runs and dribbles of the previous 45 minutes (fitness levels anyone?).
Nottsborough are Champions for a reason and demonstrated their grit and determination by getting a foothold midway through the game, enjoying better possession and fashioning a few half-chances.
The introduction of Adjekwei for the again impressive O’Donnell, and O’Leary for the influential but now tired Nicholaou added extra attacking impetus.
This was nearly rewarded when AP again hit the woodwork (how long have goals been made of metal and why do we persist with woodwork?).
Final whistle 0-0, and a great performance but ultimately disappointing not to take all 3 points. We do however go into to 2014 with greater confidence, now convinced we can compete at this level.
MoM: Fantastic performance from our midfield, particularly in the first-half. The nod goes to our new ‘wing-wizards’ Nicholaou & Fernee whose rapier like runs and incisive passing gave Nottsborough nightmares.