Winchmore Hill 9s 1 – Alexandra Park 9s 4

SAL Minor Div 4 North | March 28, 2015

Scorers: Gallaway(2), Bardgett, Newson

I have found over a few match reports its difficult to write match reports without slipping out of the 1st to 3rd person and back again, today I make no exception. On the back of two dismal losses it was important to try and relive the feeling of winning. Due to an administrative error, our new guy Anthony Monda- Nelson was named as two separate players. It was to my disbelief I found out it was one, therefore starting the game with fewer players than intended.

Another rumbled start, made the preparation slim to none. This had cost us in our previous game. Our tried and tested formation was setup with a couple of players adopting new roles. We started positively, we were up the field and passing it around well. Some of the best football we had played at times this season. We pressed well and worked hard to win the ball back when it was lost. I was very impressed at how many parts of our game were working well together. It was important not to waste the good play and no get a win. Sam “the wolf” Wolfman was particularly impressive in midfield, he didn’t let anything pass. Mistakes by the midfield were cleared up by Sam. Kanga in midfield had more time on the ball and was able to pull some strings, showed some class in that area of the field. The Pollards were joined with Jason Snuggs in defence for his debut, it was an impressive defensive display from the trio. I have never been on the end of so many 2nd balls thanks to the great work by Gerry upfront. It’s a difficult and often lonely role playing upfront in the formation we adopt but the Big Lepkowski deals with it like a duck to water. Marco had his best game for the 9s, at times gliding by the opposition as if they were not there, but crucially performing his defensive duties (much needed in our formation).

Aside from all that good play and good performances we were not winning, playing well, but hadn’t scored. Apart from a scare, sponsored by Steve Pollard, wonderfully saved with an awkward stuck out foot, we had looked solid at the back. We found ourselves going into half time with a 0-0 draw, but so many positives to take to the second half. L Handbridge came on at half time and offered trickery to their defence, he helped keep the defence back when the opposition could of pressed the game completely in spells. Anthony Monda/ Nelson fortunately was as good as two men so all administrative issues at the start had been forgotten. A great skilful addition to the team. Had the opposition in spins with his skilfulness.

Michael Bardgett barged through the defence with a deft touch, he then went down. I am not sure how he went down, or why he went down, maybe he was scared of missing infront of a fellow member of the goalkeepers union. I jogged to the penalty spot, using more energy than exerted for the prior 50 minutes. I looked around with doubt if my teammates were really going to let me take this penalty. Thankfully no doubt was shown from the team, the doubt in my mind however was high. I remember the typical “don’t change your mind”, a mistake I made in my previous penalty miss. I struck a firm, but awful penalty just to the right, the keeper was unmoved and a deserved lead was gained.

We then became a bit sloppy, losing the ball in positions which offered the opposition to press forward. They pressed up the pitch, offering us little options to counter attack. And those few chances we wasted, this caused increased pressure. We have soaked up pressure well this season, but in a couple of games too much pressure had eventually told. Unfortunately another corner resulted in a direct goal. The wind was swirling and the box was loaded, more so than Subway with all the fillings, it was a difficult one, but one we didn’t wish to regret.

1 all it remained for a while, and then wonder struck. A Michael Bardgett left footer from 25 yards, curled away from the goalkeeper. It was a great goal, struck well and came at a crucial time. The goal re-invigorated our great play of the first half. Gaps now became wider and the opposition tired. Our attacking midfield combo of Newson, Handbridge and Anthony pushed their defence back. We had generated a few goal chances with great link up play with Gerry, but a third was yet to come. Finally a game confirming strike by Newson after a great run on the right had the game won.

I had turned my back, probably looking at where my grand years of footballing ability had faded away to, to find we had a 2nd penalty. I am not 100 percent sure why, as there were doubts from our team I decided not to ask any questions and take the Arsene Wenger strategy to controversy by denying all knowledge. I was in doubts whether to take the second penalty, I had intended to allow someone else as we were told time was almost up. I will claim respect to the opposition, although a level selfishness and lazyness to ask for another taker that I took the penalty. It was a chance to hit a cleaner, better strike. I ended up hitting the exact same average penalty, fortunately the keeper was fooled by the whole “there is no way he will hit the exact same penalty like before”…..but that I did.

A great win, with really good performances all over, which is a quality we have adopted over the season. Wolfman takes the nod due to his tireless running and top level determination, really helped fit all the pieces fit together.

MoM: Wolfman

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