Crouch End Vamps 4s 1 – Alexandra Park 5s 4

SAL Minor Div 1 North | February 18, 2017

Scorers: C. Smith (2), Murphy, Forbes

With the 5s having the tightest defence but the bluntest attack of any team in the league this season we decided to go more attacking this week and it worked to good effect. For all the talk of taking a few more risks the skipper almost abandoned all plans after the first 5 minutes when we had been caused difficulties by two long balls from Vamps. Thankfully neither came to anything and we then started to play football and made the most of the big Vamps pitch. We made a few chances with some players returning and a few missing too but our patient passing that had served us well at Norsemen was evident again.

Hyde, Robinson and Wright were all comfortable on the ball and when vamps closed us down in midfield we were happy to recycle the ball through the defence. Thanks to the hard work of Bonello and Browes on the flanks the ball didn’t have to go back to the defence too often and when it did they were always available as an outlet. We were closing vamps down quickly which was not easy on the big pitch, with Dodimead and Smith up top being particularly effective at allowing their defence no time to settle. It was this pressure up top that resulted in the first goal when Smith won the ball out on the right wing. He looked up and either spotted the keeper slightly off his line or mis-hit a cross to Dodimead and the ball went sailing in from 35 yards.

You could see the confidence spread through the team and the midfield of the returning McCley, Murphy and Watson, loving his more advanced role, were taking a strangle hold on the game. They worked hard to press vamps and also work hard off the ball as did the rest of the team and it wasn’t long before 1 became 2 when some nice link up play between McCley and Bonello sent C. Smith through and he managed to force the ball past the keeper at the near post.

The excellent play continued and more good pressure by Dodimead and L. Smith meant that Smith managed to rob the keeper off the ball 20 yards from goal. Being the confident youngster he is and emboldened by his earlier long distance goal he decided to shot straight away rather than running in towards goal. From the side line it looked like it might be heading in but the audible groan from the rest of the team meant it was not surprising to see the ball roll wide.

We then finished the half with the 3 goal lead our play deserved when Dodimead tackled their full back on the by line, kept the ball in and then played a Danny Drinkwateresque cross for Murphy to do his best Vardy impression and run into the box to slot it in from close range and get his first goal for AP.

We started the second half aiming to keep everything the same and despite some more chances coming it was clear that vamps heads were down and our foot was off the pedal a little. We started looking for the killer ball a bit too quickly and were often playing balls in behind the defence but to strikers who were too often in offside positions. Forbes was a bit too keen to get on the score sheet and shot once from a tight angle but almost got his goal with a great free kick but the vamps keeper pulled off a great save to tip it wide. The fourth goal did come when Dodimead got the ball cut back to him and coolly lifted the ball over the keeper.

Vamps went more attacking at this point and started to put us under more pressure the defence which hadn’t been tested too much was very organised and we restricted them to attempting shots from distance which were blocked, saved or hit wide. It looked like we were going to see out an excellent 4-0 but then when the ball fell to their winger on the edge of the box he sliced the ball and sent it spinning towards our goal. Matt thought it was going to spin wide but misjudged it and it snuck in the far corner to end the game 4-1.

A really good win and with 5 games left we can hopefully keep this going and end strongly improving on our 5th placed finish of last year.

5th Team / Match Reports