A poor result that we will need to learn a lot from if we are going to do well this season. Unlike most games this season we started well keeping the ball and playing some nice football. Stephen, Nathan and Jack seeing lots of the ball in midfield and Sam and Tristan getting in to some dangerous positions down the flanks. We had a good chance when Jack got the ball through to Diegomead who hit it on the turn and just knocked it wide.
We continued to probe but Dodimead was fairly isolated up top and all of our possession wasn’t leading to enough chances on goal. This meant we were effectively just passing the ball around midfield, which we did well for long spells with good support from Liam and Josh at full backs, but when the play broke down Old Parks looked to hit us on the counter. Towards the end of the first half Old Parks won the ball got forward well and when the ball was shifted to the edge of the box one of their midfielders had too much time and space to hit a good strike which Henry got a hand to but couldn’t keep out. The rest of the half old parks looked long as soon as they got the ball but Rae and Summerling dealt with anything coming their way against their strong and quick striker.
We spoke about mixing play up a bit more so Old Parks couldn’t put men behind the ball and rely on us passing round in front of them, we did keep the ball well again and started to create more opportunities, unfortunately we often kept the ball too long when in good positions with players trying to beat their man 2 or 3 times rather than just knocking the ball in the box. When we did get the ball in there Dodimead was unlucky to have his back post header denied by a smart save from the keeper and Tristan hit a well struck shot which just happened to be straight at the keeper, a yard either side and it was a definite goal.
Duane had come in to the middle and helped us to continue to have the majority of the ball, and we dominated possession and Old Parks looked to run down the clock with very slow goal kicks from the start of the second half. The ref kept telling the keeper to hurry up and said he was adding the time on but it made it no less frustrating and a yellow card would surely have speeded him up.
With about 15 mins to go we finally got the goal our dominance deserved albeit it a coming from a cross from Nathan that curled in to the top corner. We expected a response from Old Parks but they seemed happy to let us continue to attack and from our next corner they hit a long ball and despite us have 2 against their one he managed to get the ball through on goal and knock it past the on rushing Henry to give them a lead I’m not sure either side could believe.
They then continued to try and see the game out and didn’t look to get numbers to forward at all, they even seemed slightly embarrassed when they had a corner and only had 4 players in our half. Nathan had close effort from another cross and when the final whistle came they were the happy side and we were left embarrassed.
Losing a game to a better side is understandable, losing a game we definitely could have and should have won is incredibly frustrating. There were positives, we played the ball around well and they didn’t create much. However, there were obvious things to improve, shifting the ball more quickly and not being afraid to knock it in the box first time when we get in the final third. As long as we learn from this game we can write it off as a blip and look to be a bit smarter with all the possession we had going in to our future games. Starting with Old Parks 5s next Saturday!
On a much sadder note following on from Billy’s departure the 5s have been hit this week by another loss with the news that Richard Bowhill has decided to take an indefinite break from AP. He will be missed by all of the 5s on and off the pitch. He has been a loyal servant to AP for several years now and will be a big loss to the club. Hopefully we will see him back in the AP orange one day.