Scorers: Kelly, Frugier
If there is one thing that makes my Saturday, it is Martin Egan, head to toe, in white skin tight fabric that closely resembles lycra. Whilst the snugness of the fit may have been more befitting of a leotard, it was actually the AP change kit for the visit of BB Eagles. After a start to the season where we have decent and horrific, often within 10 minutes of each other, we were looking to put together a strong home showing.
After slow starts to the previous games, Egan changed the warm up to half practice drill/half Crystal Maze. His role obviously being a more poorly dressed Richard O’Brien (google him). It certainly got us switched on and we started the game in pretty lively fashion. The skipper did however trundle off injured after 10 minutes with a hamstring injury, which is obviously entirely unrelated to the above*
*I do actually mean that Egan, before you go ape and launch into ‘negativity rant A’
On the positive, we were already ahead by this point. Kevin Frugier can turn probably turn quicker than I can think, which is a real compliment when you consider the regard in which I hold my intelligence. Anyhow, a loose ball broke to Kev in the box, who left the full back 2 trench lines away with a Cruyff turn and slotted home despite a despairing oppo effort on the line. The direct French translation for Own Goal is ‘propre but’ (according to google), but Kev was quick to point out this was not the case.
We doubled the lead soon after, Matt Kelly with a neat spin and finish. When you are still dressed in full kit at 3.15, clutching a plastic bag of ice from Serge’s kitchen to your lower backside, you get the feeling that your Saturday might be somewhat ruined. However, when Matt Kelly is rolling centre halves like a prime Paul Warhurst, you know the afternoon won’t turn out all bad. He fought his way inside onto his right foot and fired home inside the near post. There were unconfirmed reports that he ‘gave him the eyes’ but it was difficult to tell from my angle.
So, we went in 2-0 up at the break and decent enough value for the lead. This isn’t to try and make it sound like a one sided affair, there were decent chances at both ends before the break for both sides. I do however have an Ocado shop on the way.
The half time message was the old ‘next goal is massive’ cliché. I like its generalist nature, it can basically be applied to all contexts except if you are getting absolutely pumped. You can even throw it in at 4-0 up to warn against complacency. It was however, particularly pertinent on Saturday. BB were lively going forward and creating openings, 2-1 would mean a fair bit of tension. 3-0 on the other hand, could have lead to a fair few more, with our pace on the counter troubling the oppo.
As it transpired, all of the above is irrelevant, as both sides drew a blank second half. We had a superb Stu save low down from a header and a last ditch Egan block to thank for the clean sheet. Down the other end, we really should have put the game to bed on the break. Matt and Les were in behind on a few occasions but couldn’t find the finish.
Les Manu still doesn’t really understand how quick he is and was burning past centre halves at ¾ pace. I don’t think anyone has ever received the advice ‘be less like Stanley Matthews, more like Dennis Rommedahl’ but that would be my two cents. Be direct, in less convoluted terms.
Anyhow, it finished 2-0 and you can blame ‘Graham in the Onion Van’ for that abridged summary. Little Ocado reference for the AP middle class masses there. Will be lost on you Fernee.
A fair result, despite a rather strange claim by BB on social media that the home team (us) claimed they should have won. Not having a go at BB, they were a decent bunch of lads, but the general impression of the Skipper, the gaffer, and the dressing room was that we were good value for the 3 points. Chances at both ends for sure, but AP with more cutting edge in the final third and a little more solidity at the back. Anyhow, we won’t dwell upon it. A decent performance to push us up the table to set up what looks like a biggie against NUFC Oilers. One can only hope the absence of the stricken skipper is not too much of a psychological blow.
A few candidates for MOM, Matt Kelly lead the line well, Stu made some great stops. However, a really accomplished performance from Ben Pickford at right back just nicks it ahead of the other members of the back 4.
MOM: Ben Pickford