Scorers: Dewan(2), Croft, Davies, Holder, Hobbs
AP9s approached the final game of the season in second to last place in the league, but we would be damned if we were staying there. Old Parks could win the league with a win against us, but we were not to be intimidated! Having called 3 keepers and finding them all unavailable, Emlyn went in goal again, which left us a few players short, which will filled with friends of friends etc! However we started the match with a regular 11 that have played all season. The first half we were brilliant! Matt and Jon combined for probably the best centre back pairing all season, Tim and Freddy caused immediate danger on both wings, while Crofty was bossing the midfield. Not that OP were without their chances, they had a few corners (during the first our keeper broke his thumb), and a rather comical goal line scrap which ended in a clearance.
Our first goal of the half was one of the best all season. Seven or eight really nicely put together passes cumulated in a cross by Freddy and a tidy finish from Tim. It was truly a goal worthy of an Ant and Dec tribute song, we were now truly on the ball! The second goal saw Robert go on a weaving run through the penalty box, and hit the ground like a sack of potatoes! Crofty claimed the spot kick, and put it low into the bottom left corner while sending the keeper the wrong way. Classic Crofty technique, with a one step run up, cool as you like! Freddy came close next with an absolute belter from about 40 yards, perfect connection and it rattled the woodwork in the top left corner. If that had gone in I think we might have to have re-voted for goal of the season! I think it may have done permanent damage to the goal posts! Final goal of the half went to Robert, who was threaded through a great pass by Crofty (I think), Robert rounds he goalie, and shoots. One of their defenders very nearly gets back to clear it, but can’t do much more than put it in off the post (well I thing it had already crossed the line anyway). We went in at the half 3-0 up, a good display by the AP regulars.
At half time some changes were required, Joe had arrived from work, Robert needed to leave for work, and the rest of the subs needed a run out. In the second half we were against the wind, but started strongly. It wasn’t long before Oli rounded the keeper and slotted home a 4th (which was nicer than when he rounded the keeper later in the match and ended up missing!) However Old Parks we starting to have more of the possession, and we soon found ourselves under much pressure. One move saw a ball fall to an OP striker (who looked very offside to me) who turned and shot low to the keeper’s right. However, playing to the whistle, the keeper came sprinting out with the cumulative speed of a thousand snails and spread his rather large bulk in the way. By some miracle the ball hit him and went off for a corner. Unfortunately the pressure was maintained, and such saves were not frequent. Old Park first breakthrough came from a possible cross/shot which trickled into the bottom right hand corner. We pulled one back again, some impressive ball juggling skills while turning a player from Crofty, led him to play a very nice ball to Ben, who finished nicely to put us 5-1 up. However Old Parks could smell the figurative blood in the water, and seem to be all out attack with about three players up front. Another ball behind our defence led to a good shot, a decent save, which unfortunately fell to an Old Parks player to finish into an empty net, 5-2. Soon another goal saw us at 5-3 with about 10 minutes to go. Oli once again eased the pressure with his 2nd of the match, but OP responded with a free kick into the top corner (keeper should have done better, but remember he’d been playing most of the match with a broken thumb!). The game finished 6-4, but with a few more scares before full time!
So overall a good performance to round the season off with, we didn’t finish second to bottom and we stopped Old Parks winning the league this week (though if they beat the 10’s on Saturday they will still come top!).
Want to thank the lads for a great season; everyone had the right attitude which makes the managing a lot easier! I think this has been the closest league I have ever played in; we were only 6 points off first place!
MOM: Great performance by everyone, but MOM this week must be Tim. Not only was he a constant danger going forward, but he never neglects his defensive duties. A brilliant example of a team player!