Scorers: Parker, Spencer
It was cup day which meant a nice day out in sunny (and pretty windy) Chiswick. The pitches were nicely manicured and looked a world away from some of the less inviting grounds we have played on so far this season. Polytechnic were out warming up early and looked up for it, while half our team were lost somewhere in the city. With the skipper recovering from an injury the captains armband was handed over. Playing his last game for the club before emigrating back to Oz, Sam was the only choice to take it. However things didn’t go according to plan as he lost the toss which meant we would have to face the strong wind and lowering sun in the second half.
When the game got under way we started the stronger, and we forged some decent chances. When Jorge’s nice turn and chipped through ball John was miscontrolled I thought another one had gone, but credit it to him John didn’t give it up and stole it back off the defender, but with plenty of work still to do he beat another and smashed it into the near post, 1-0 to the 6s. Not long after John was presented with another decent chance from a poor goal kick, going clean through but putting the ball narrowly wide, with the defenders miles behind. We looked well in control and dominated the half. However just when it was starting to look a bit too comfortable the Poly attacker controlled a high ball into the box with what looked suspiciously like a hand and as we appealed we gave the guy too much space to turn and shoot. It dipped under Gus and they equalised from their first shot on target. Half time and it was 1-1, back to the drawing board.
The second half started with AP again on top. Jorge controlled the ball and shaped to shoot but James Slater took over and drilled a shot across the keeper, who could only parry the ball and Dan was in like a whippet to follow it up and slot home. We had restored our goal advantage and again looked well placed to push on for more. Although Poly upped the pressure in the second half it was a game that we never looked like loosing, the defence looked solid with Sam making some vital interceptions and James keeping the winger under wraps. But then it happened, Poly equalised with 15 to go. It was a scrappy goal, from a long throw too many defenders went for the same ball, leaving a player free to pick up the loose ball and scramble it home. We were clearly tiring and running out of steam in the strong wind. Terry kept battling in the middle despite getting a nasty cut to the mouth, but he was getting over run and the forwards were seeing less of the ball. James’ hamstring injury forced a half-fit skipper to take the pitch. We were worried, and once again we were hit with a sucker punch. This time a decent strike that Gus couldn’t do much about. It was a shock to the system and one that came just too late to respond to. We pushed for the equaliser but time ran out. So at the first attempt it was a rather feeble cup exit. Once again we are left scratching our heads and wondering how we did not win this match.
So Sam’s one and only captains appearance wasn’t quite the send off we had planned. The only way to go out with a bang ended up being the AP fireworks! Sam has been a great player for us over the last couple of seasons and his height and towering headers in particular, as well as the typical Ozzie banter will be missed. This season the job he did of marking Ben out of the derby game was even applauded by the opposition. So farewell and good luck to him from all at AP.