A bit of a perplexing defeat for the AP first team on Saturday. Following two consecutive postponements we were happy to get the game on, all credit to the gaffer for his vigorous forking of Preston Manor from 9.30 onwards. Granted, it was pretty flat performance and we showed all the rust you would expect of a team who hadn’t played in a month. That said, 3-0 doesn’t really explain the balance of play.
We had a strong squad, a good bench and lined up 4-2-3-1. The first 20 minutes we were actually relatively lively and I thought we just needed a goal to settle. Chances came and went, I have no idea what the literal opposite of clinical is but we were certainly that. A mix of casual finishing, sloppy offsides, a poor final ball and bizarre shots from distance ensured it stayed level.
Kings were a solid side and were handy on the break. Their delivery was excellent from wide areas and they began to create later in the half.
At half time, it was quite clear that we needed to break through or be at risk of enduring, ‘a long afternoon’. The game drifted through until the hour mark and Kings went ahead in odd circumstances. A deflected effort span high into the air and their striker out jumped Mike for a goal resembling something from the 50s. We continued to frustrate and Kings effectively ended the game 10 later with an absolute corker from range. The back line not covering itself in glory, but you really don’t tend to get anyone at our level wind one up from that range. With 5 left, we were done on the break and that was that. 3-0 full time.
A lacklustre display by AP and an end to any cup hopes. It’s a little lazy to say ‘we need to take our chances’, as nobody is missing intentionally. However, I have been vocal about people taking responsibility for hitting the box and getting ‘between the posts’ for months. It isn’t rocket science, get there consistently enough and you will be on the end of things. Whether it be due to fitness, desire or people simply thinking it doesn’t apply to them, we haven’t done it.
It comes back to the point I made post game on Saturday. It’s going to be a battle for every point between now and the end of the season and we need to people to step up. Influence the game in your decision making and effort as opposed to being a passenger. To be fair, if we ever needed to ‘focus on the league’ now was the time. Clean slate on Saturday.