Scorers: Dodimead, Mumuni
We welcomed Old Finchleians 5s to the Racecourse for the second time this season as we replayed the game from much earlier this season. We were again on the slope but this time won the toss and started up hill with the benefit of downhill saved for the second half. It wasn’t the most organised of build ups as with 10 minutes until kick off we had 11 players and then a very hung over Alex turned up very relieved to be told he was starting on the bench. Our last two players turned up at some point during the first half not realising (despite being told) that the kick off was 1pm.
The 11 we had to begin with started brightly with Duane relishing his more advanced role and going on a great early run from half way to inside their box but couldn’t find Dodimead at the end. We played some really nice passing football early on up the hill especially down the left with Huw and Cainan linking up well and causing their skipper at right back all sorts of problems. We got in and around the edge of their box a few times but couldn’t find the final pass or finish to get a lead. Fincheians were a better side than the two previous times we played them this season with two or three good players who began getting on the ball more and we started to get pinned back a little. Our passing became a little rushed at this point and we started slicing balls out for throws or corners or misplacing passes rather than getting a good clearance in or finding feet with easier passes.
This resulted in us conceding the first goal when a failure to clear ended in a corner and this was again not cleared and after a bit of a scramble it was hooked in from close range. We lost a bit of composure after this which was a bit like us at the start of the season but unlike us recently. One quickly became two in controversial fashion when with their attacker received the ball in a clearly offside position to turn it in, it became clear the ref wasn’t aware that if the keeper was ahead of the attacker then their needed to be two defenders between him and the goal so the goal stood. Despite the energy of Smith and McCley in midfield runners were getting through too often so we made a change to get Alex on in the middle and tried to tighten up until half time. This worked well and we managed to get a hold of the game again. We organised ourselves at the back and kept them out of the final third and started to improve our territory and possession. Just before the break we managed to get the goal our play deserved when Dodimead put the keeper under pressure from a looped ball and out jumped him to nod home from close range to put us in a health position at half time.
We started the second half well and in general dominated the half. We tried not to be overly eager going downhill as the ball often runs straight out but despite our efforts this still happened a bit too often. We did get down the sides of them relatively easy with a combination of clever movement and sensible passing and looked dangerous from crosses but never quite got a clean enough connection. As the second half wore on Pat, Joe and Josh at the back, having done a sterling defensive job in the first half started to get forward a bit more as they were becoming spectators more and more. Junior and Elion up top were getting the ball regularly and trying to work an opening and McCley got more space in midfield to dictate play. We got the equaliser our play deserved when Elion put in an excellent corner and Junior got up well to nod in. With 15 minutes to go we felt we had enough to win the game, we went 3-4-3 with Dodimead joining Elion and Junior up top. We had a couple of good chances that could have won us the game with Elion firing over from a tight angle and then having a good effort knocked around the post by the keeper. Late on Junior was played through but after a heavy touch the ball ran away and out for a goal kick.
Our attacking switch did give Finchleians a couple of late chances but Matt made an excellent save from a free kick and then a looped header hit the bar but was then cleared. It finished 2-2 but we were on top for most the game and deserved the win. It still keeps second place in our hands with 4 points from 2 games guarenteeing a very successful season.
MOTM – good performances across the pitch but Cainan was superb after being out for a month. Good to have him back.