Goals: Fernee, Patterson
A blustery day up at Preston Manor saw the arrival of West Wickham to face AP. We needed inspiration and 3 points, so John Morris reached into his deck. It would be both easy and confusing to play John Morris at Poker. Easy, in the sense that you know his hand consists entirely of wildcards with the occasional joker. Difficult, in that those cards don’t really feature within the rules of the game. Anyhow, John has had one eye on the Austrian lower leagues this season and added Patrick to our right flank to make his debut. Top scouser McVey was also briefly prized away from tinder and back into the starting line up.
The game started in a relatively open fashion, AP looking lively going forward. Matt Kelly was causing all sorts of problems, with some lovely touches and aerial prowess. As has been the way this season, we missed two good opportunities and were made to pay. We were caught wide open down the left hand side and their wide man ran in on goal to slot home. 1-0 West Wickham.
Soon after we were cut open again, a swift break and tidy finish made it 2-0. Stu was to later reveal after a few ales that he was indeed ‘given the eyes’, devastating for any keeper.
An unbelievably frustrating half. After a good bit of swearing at each other, particularly at Jay who wasn’t even on the pitch, the conclusion was that the game was there for the taking if we stepped it up. That we did, with lots of shouting, throw ins and slightly wayward passes that get applauded for being a ‘good idea’. Eventually though, the quality came. A cross from the right was superbly arced home on the volley by Laurence, dipping into the far corner. Mr Fernee is as fond of using his right foot as he is sitting in silence, so it certainly took me by surprise. See what happens when you get in between the posts….
We had Wickham on the back foot but continued to squander chances. After the early second half onslaught we appeared to be running out of steam down the straight, Patterson went up top to create some sort of low quality nuisance. At this point, Wickham should have put the game to bed. Stu appeared to handle outside of his area and with minutes left they smashed the crossbar when in on goal.
AP broke away down the right, Jay decided that the wire mesh behind the goal had probably taken enough of a battering from our second half delivery and guided one across the box. What followed was quite simply finishing 101. Whilst more ‘technical’ teammates had been trying to take the net out, the skipper guided it in off the post, expertly using left and right shins simultaneously. To less learned onlookers, it might have looked a panicked bundle, to those in the know it was a masterclass in finishing under pressure. 2-2.
There was still time for Wickham to hit the bar but a battling comeback had earned a point. To be honest, we needed 3 but I think psychologically, if we had lost that game despite creating so many chances, it would have been a massive blow. We can go into the next few with our heads up. Bit of a strange game, in that on the balance of it, a point was probably fair but given the circumstances and the lead they had, Wickham will be gutted. In the 3 times we have played them recently, they have conceded 4 goals from the Patterson/Egan axis, which is a record nobody wants.
A lot of positives to take into next week, albeit with what might be a patched up side. Let’s see what we can do.
MOM : Matt Kelly. Quality throughout.
AP : Pennycook, Thatcher, Patterson, Jeater, Egan, Hubbard (Nicholau), McVey, Patrick, Hawes, Kelly, Fernee (Adjekwei),