Goals: Frugier, Shaw, O.G.
Whilst our away performances have stuttered more than a Lee Carlin 2 step, AP continued our strong home run on Saturday. 3 goals conceded, only 2 points dropped.
Whilst it wasn’t the Racecourse, the Preston Manor pitches were in good nick. Dictated by availability, like the dusty Christmas decorations from the loft, the switch to 4-4-2 got its annual outing.
We faced Actonians, one of approximately 54 teams ‘in and around’ the promotion mix. We started fast, although chances were coming at both ends. Whilst Kevin and Ronnie had initially elected to play 50 yards apart, once they moved closer together it began to pay dividends. After a good move, Kevin was played in, jinked away from the centre half, and rolled home.
The second soon followed, after Ronnie and Rickie bundled through the middle in some sort of flying V formation. Ricky definitely didn’t shout ‘LEAVE IT!’ before eventually slotting home.
Actonians pulled one back almost immediately. Yours truly seemed to be turning through treacle but there was more than a hint of offside about the striker who appeared from nowhere to apply the finish. Karma for the second goal or just sh*t defending, the universe works in mysterious ways.
There was nothing mysterious about our 3rd goal, which was a sobering reminder of the level we play at. Kev latched onto to Egan free kick and dug out a cross. Their onrushing centre half chested it back towards his own goal and it squirmed under the keeper, over the line, barely touching the back of the net.
The second half had a totally different flow and we showed different qualities to close the game out. Actonians had almost all of the possession, but our two banks of four worked really hard to limit the amount of meaningful chances they were able to carve out. After 45 minutes of huffing, puffing, heading and shepherding, we had our 3 points.
Whilst I feared the worst with the 4-4-2, the lads responded to the Stationers loss with a really mature and well rounded performance. The platform was laid by the boys in midfield who were excellent in both directions. The deployment of Richie Hancock in a Dirk Kuytesque wideman capacity giving us a weird balance.
Some really good performances that can’t all be covered, but mentions to Matt (workrate and quality), Egan (came into his own in the second half) and Sam Bolger (calm and faultless throughout) MOM however was probably Ricky Shaw, a direct, aggressive performance capped with a goal. Onto next week, where 3 points is a must. It would put us, all things considered, in a really good position moving into the year. Let’s close off the year with a win.