SAL Senior Novets Cup Final, played at Old Finchleians Memorial Ground
A disappointing Cup Final appearance for the 6s. I thought that they showed them too much respect in the first half, relying on long balls to Benn Weston who was frequently outnumbered 4 to 1. We did have the ball in the net mid way through the 1st half but Benn was flagged offside – a very tight decision but the lino (I’m old school) was far better placed to see than us spectators. It looked as though the half would end 0-0 but WW scored a fortunate goal with 4 minutes of the half remaining. A innocuous ball across the 18-yd line was being marshalled by Charlie L-J but he was closed down quickly and instead of putting it out of play turned back inside, realised he was still under pressure decided to thump it upfield but unfortunately another WW player was closing him down, the ball ricocheting off the latter’s shins past a startled Harry Cook in goal. Indecision was final.
WW started the 2nd half well put AP under severe pressure with a succession of dangerous corners and their persistence paid off with a well worked move down our left, good cross into the area and a firmly planted header.
AP came more into the game thereafter a Benn had another sprint through the middle only for the keeper to quickly close him down and leave him little to aim for and his shot went just wide. Their third goal also had a measure of good fortune – an excellent diving save from Harry saw the ball loop upward and towards the goal. Showing presence of mind and agility he spun round (obviously a break-dancer in his youth) and hooked the ball clear with an outstretched foot only for the clearance to fall at the feet of a WW player who had an empty net to stroke home.
The guys were very dispirited after the game, understandably, but it was a fighting performance against a well drilled, physical 4th XI (yet AP were the ones who ended up with 3 bookings…go figure) and they should all be proud of getting to the final and the way they conducted themselves.