Scorers: Gatenby, Earle, Gregory
After a penalty shootout lose last week the 4s were back in league action with a midtable clash with Norsemen 5s. After a bit of net swapping with Wood Green Old Boys and traffic, changing room availability and ongoing building work at New River delaying Norsemens arrival we kicked off with a 10 minute delay.
The AP midfield trio of Bell, Lagos and Earle dominated from the start, finding acres of space in the centre of the park and laying on some early chances for the forwards. The first proper chance fell to Kenga who intercepted a miskicked clearance by the keeper on the edge of the box, took a couple of steps and decided for the lob over the advancing keeper which didn’t quite work as he hoped and the keeper gathered comfortably. Kenga was at the centre of attention shortly afterwards when he was brought down in the area after being played in by Earle. Kenga took the penalty but saw his effort saved by the keeper…back to the Gerry Lepkowski school of finishing for Elion. Defensively we were very solid with Collins in goal not having a save to make all half. After Gatenby was unfortunate not to score after a great piece of skill just inside the box we took the lead in what must have been the 55th minute of the first half. Gregory picked up the ball at right back and jogged about 60 yards unchallenged where Gatenby made a ten yard sprint behind the centre backs where he latched onto Gregory’s through ball and slotted the ball in at the near post.
A couple of changes at half time saw McGlogan come on at left back for Long and Hall up front for Kenga both happy to escape the midges that had been feasting on them on the sidelines. We continued to create chances for the first 15 mins of the second half but Norsemen were slowly starting to get back into the game. We had our first warning when McGlogan cleared a shot of the line after we were unable to clear the ball from a corner. Norsemen got the equaliser shortly after when we gave the ball away on the edge of the Norsmen area and were hit with a perfectly executed 2 pass counter attack. The game became a lot more open and Norsemen almost took the lead shortly after their goal but their striker’s lob narrowly went over. Going forwards we were still creating chances and we retook the lead when some good pressing by Hall and Gatenby recovered the ball which was played across to Earle on the edge of the box who hit a rising shot which the Norsemen keeper could only watch as it flew past. Norsemen kept coming at us and equalised for the second time with about 10 minutes to go when their striker broke a couple of challenges and hit a great shot that Collins was unable to keep out. Norsemen seemed happy to settle for a draw and started defending deep in their own half. After an AP attack broke down the ball broke to their right winger 40 yards out, McGlogan nicked the ball off him and advancing towards the goal was brought down 30 yards out by the recovering Norseman player. With time running out and the light fading Gregory stepped up and hit a curling, dipping freekick into the top right hand corner, off the bar leaving the keeper no chance.
A much needed win and once again we controlled the majority of the game, looked very good going forward and were unlucky not to be four up at half time. We still need to work on getting the balance right defensively as we have a tendency to push a lot of players forward leaving ourselves vulnerable to conceding on the counter but overall a very satisfying performance.
Squad: Collins, Johnson, C.Smith, Gregory, Long, Bell, Lagos, Earle, Kenga, Gatenby, Tolcher. Subs: Lambert, Hall, McGlogan