Alexandra Park 0 – Old Finchleians 1

SAL Senior Div 2 | October 7, 2017

There was a North-Easterly wind a blowing on Saturday morning if my random guess is correct. After two cup weeks we were back to league fixtures, once again on home soil. Old Finchelians had done the double over us last season, nicking the win by one goal in each game.

Team news: Returning was Lanigan, Banks, Bassetti, Bailey, Banks and Bollington who missed last weeks’ Thriller that was worth of MJ himself. We also welcomed new boys Sam Fowler and Jake Martin-­Pavey who make their competitive debuts for the 1s. Unavailable was Graves and both Woods. Starting the game upfront we could field the three strikers who scored 5 between them last week.

Not much to report in the opening minutes as both teams struggled to create chances. The game was very niggly and lots of cheap fouls were given away as both teams made it clear that they’d be fighting for every ball. The ref must have been hard of hearing as he chose to shout loudly at the players no matter what the reason. I’m sure he wouldn’t have been pleased if we had shouted back at him and I’ve always thought you should treat others how you’d like to be treated yourself. There’s not much football talk in this report but you might learn a few life morals.

The opposition finally got a chance when their striker managed to get one­‐on‐one with Redford inside the box towards the left hand side. The striker dropped his shoulder, paced to the byline and pulled back neatly for the oncoming midfielder who slotted away.

After 30 mins AP made a change to bring on P.Banks to make an impact, and sure enough he made his impression almost immediately. Taking the ball on the run he sped past the opposition right back but couldn’t get enough power on the shot. Great piece of speed and dribbling but perhaps the cut back was a better option, although I’m sure he didn’t anticipate such a weak effort.

Duncan’s Orange Army was the better of the two sides as they began the second half with Banksy continually causing a nuisance down our left hand side. Good chances, however, were few and far between as we couldn’t quite unlock the opposition. Any good piece of play or threatening dribble was often met by a dirty foul. Most notably on Banksy who got his opposite number booked, but I’m sure if he’d not been fouled he would have fancied his chances burying that chance. Was a yellow enough? Yeah probably but we’ll whinge anyway.

It was at this point in the game, with the opposition acting like dogs in the midfield that an actual dog came on the field. Man’s best friend disrupted play for several minutes as numerous players failed to catch the bugger. Sign him up! Play resumed and the free kick was well wasted. I can’t remember a chance for the oppo in the second half although I’m sure they’d have had one. The game was pretty forty forty. (It was even so I would say fifty fifty but I don’t think it’s fair for it to add up to a hundred in this instance). Like a Steelers Wheel song the ball was Stuck in the Middle for the majority.

HUGE CHANCE AT THE END! Banksy picked up the ball on the edge of the box in the dying minutes of the game. After weighing up his options, he saw Richard Neil cleverly peel free to his left and Banksy slotted through. Now one‐on-­one, 15 yards out, Rich opted to strike first time with his right foot but couldn’t keep it down as the shot went well high.

Overall I wouldn’t say the game was boring; big machines drilling holes in the ground is boring, this was just rather dull. We were very disappointed to lose the game but in truth I don’t think we really can say we deserved to win either. We battled well, were a strong unit and were definitely at the races as far as physicality goes. We seemed the fitter of the two sides too and at no point did we feel stamina was affecting our game. It was our bravery on the ball which I believe cost us. Not enough confidence from the whole team to consistently look for the ball and be confident to receive in the right areas. We rarely strung numerous passes together high up the field and could have benefitted a lot more from switching the play and using the width of the pitch.

Man of the match for me was Sam Fowler. Half a dozen players came to me after the game to say that if we had more players like Sam, we would have comfortably won this game. He was very calm on the ball and didn’t mind gettng involved with the dirty side of the game which earned him a yellow card. We prefer that than not sticking a foot in.

By Timothy Banks

1st Team / Match Reports