Old Owens 3s 3 – Alexandra Park 3s 5

SAL Junior Div 2 | February 11, 2017

Scorers: Evans(2), Neill, Bollington, Boyake

At the start of the season if we were told all you needed to do is to win our last four games and you will be promoted, we would have taken it; however, the situation is better, win our last four games and we are champions; that is the reality that is the situation we find ourselves in. So Saturday when we lined up against Old Owens at their ground, that was the task before us, this was the first of those 4 games.

We started the day in a very defensive formation (4-1-4-1), hoping to catch the opposition on the break, and much like all our games this year, except the game against Carshalton, we not only dominated but was a goal up in 15 minutes. Ball from AP Xavi in the midfield, found Richard Neil wide left, who cut in, then pass the ball to Phil Evans, one touch pass to Onique, who then release Richard to run clear of the defence, to put the ball in the bottom corner (1 – 0 ). We were back at it, 5 minutes later, ball from the middle, with the striker coming deep, who return pass and ran onto the ball played back around the defender, first time shot that found the same bottom corner (2-0). Now we were dreaming of the title, but as things always goes in this league, and it seems it’s not a 3s thing it’s an AP thing, we work hard to score goals, and then simple mistakes, and we get punish. It was the same here, one mistake on the flank allowed a cross to come into the box, striker in acres of space (makes me wonder where my defence was), who didn’t break stride, just guided the ball into the top corner (2-1). And after conceding one, we always seem to think it’s a good thing, break down of play in the middle, led to some more dodgy defending, which led to Old Owens equaliser (2-2). Its times like these when I think there are just too many arsenal supporters (No offence guys) in the team, look good on the eye, when the teams allow us to play, and wilt under pressure.

Halftime. Had the regular chats at halftime about how we needed to want this more, and go out there and take it.

It appeared that nothing that was said, got through (I am sure our chairman at this time, will be laughing, saying that it’s just my fault for speaking in American), because 3 minutes into the second half, they won a corner, poor clearance, and the ball fell to their holding midfielder, who volleyed the ball through the crowd of players, Mike rooted to his position (2-3). Looking back at it I think the catalyst for our comeback apart from the changes that were made and change in formation, was the save Michael pulled off with some 20 minutes to go, it was a save he had no business to make, but got a hand to it, push it unto the post and the ball bounce back out, and we manage to clear our lines.

We started our comeback when we had 13 minutes to go; good play down their right hand side by Dillon, who hit a cross come shot about 5 yards from the by-line, keeper unsighted (Richard Neil said he got a touch, up for debate), goal (3 – 3). We got our tail up, started putting more pressure on, won a free kick to the left of the opposition box; wonderful cross by Jake “Superstar” Filipovic, which saw our winger come Defender Chris Bollington who was at hand to head it home (4 – 3). With 5 minutes to go, breakdown of play, in the middle, saw the ball ran lose, close to the opposition box, footrace between our striker Phil Evans, and the goalkeeper; there was only going to be one winner, Phil got to the ball and was able to toe poke it home, through the onrushing keepers legs (5-3).

All and all it was a really good game of football, with some notable performers, in Richie Hancock, Phil Evans, Ani Okono for share comedy value, Dillon at holding midfield and Richard Neil who scored his 10th goal of the season, playing from left inside forward (left-wing at times), having join the club in late October.

M.O.M Richard Neil

As a team we are blessed in that we have been able to keep our same team all year, with a dedicated squad, we have players who travel all the way from Northampton every week, come rain or fall to turn out for us. We have another player that comes every week from Jersey, gets a B&B where he can then travel to our games to turn out for us.

Last but by no means least, the first team and second team skipper and manager alike, rarely take players, which has enabled us to stay focus and get good understanding among the guys, since they seem to play week in and week out together; weather permitting. Thanks Guys.

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