Scorers: Reader, Arowosafe, P Banks
It was blowing a hoolie down at Alexandra Park Racecourse and the game was sure to be like a good episode of Coronation Street in the fact that Gail would surely play a huge part. AP came into the game with some confidence after having time out, albeit against bottom of the league. This would be a tougher test now against top of the league with perfect form. To give an analogy so the younger lads can understand, it’s as if we’ve recently pulled one reasonable-looking girl but Actonians have been pulling worldies all year.
For the first time since records began, Alexandra Park 1’s have been able to field the same XI two weeks on the trot which is the best thing since sliced bread. The history buffs amongst you will know that the best thing before sliced bread was indeed massive sandwiches. There’s also news in the pipeline of a sooner-than-expected Elliot Brough recovery just to put a spanner in the teamsheet. If it’s not broke, don’t fix it? Just don’t look down the pipeline.
They often describe the wind as an act of god, which is the only way to describe the miracle we received before the game when the opposition’s tactics blew across into our path. As such, our entire teamtalk analysed the fact that they’d be playing a 3-5-2.
CapTim Banks couldn’t give a toss as he lost the toss, meaning they’d be playing against the wind in the first half. For all the opposition’s possession, they’d be better off pissing in the wind than continuing to attempt crosses that were high and wild just like foliage behind the goal that they kept finding. Actonions Association, for a team with the word ‘onions’ in the name they didn’t have many layers to their game and the only way they were ‘associated’ to onions was that they stunk. Only messing, they were a very good team and were working very hard to break us down and probably would have done if we weren’t so switched on to their tactics.
As we tried to relieve ourselves and break wind we created good counter attacking opportunities with Bassetti and Banksy running at defenders and Reader once again stretching the defence with killer runs in behind. Our big chance came as Hills broke forward through the wind with gusto and crossed the ball towards Reader. It was a direct ball but not the greatest and the defender will be disappointed that he didn’t deal with it. But there was Reader, ready to pounce on the mistake like the unforgiving man that he is. Composed as a cat, he slotted the ball to the left of the goal to grab the lead…
The opposition kept pressing and AP struggled to counter more and more. Hillsy tried his best to make the opposition level as his miskick from 18 yards came devastatingly close to looping in his own top corner. Holy schnikes.
It was just before half time that we threw our clean sheet to the wind. Actonions screamed for a strong penalty shout as the ball struck Chris’ arm in the box, although it was by his side. The ref played advantage and the back four was at 6s and 7s. They crossed over to the centre forward who’d worked himself free and he volleyed first time into the bottom corner. Great finish.
Just after half time, with the wind on their side, AP got their second wind. Within minutes of Emmanuel coming off the bench he played a one-two off one defender, a one-two off another, jinked/fumbled his way through a third and found himself with just the keeper to beat. He hit it cleanly off the underside of the keeper’s leg which ricocheted into the left of the goal. It’s impressive how he always manages to dribble his way through! That’s five in his last three. The opposition now threw caution to the wind as their perfect record was seriously at risk. Pressing well but playing a ridiculous high line, so Banksy began to lick his lips repeatedly. Actonians had their chances though getting lots of numbers into the box but wasting a lot of crosses. A big chance springs to mind of the ball bouncing round in our six yard box before Bails calmy pokes it 6 inches wide of his own post.
We kept counter attacking with our pace upfront and Gravesy tried to join in too but kicked the ball too far (it’s hard to explain in a match report but it was a really really heavy touch that was pretty funny to watch). Jed showed him how it is done when Sam Fowler slipped him through on goal. A lovely composed touch round the keeper, he only had to put it in the empty net… but somehow missed the open goal from 6 yards! It’s so sad.
A couple of solo counter attacks later, Banksy once again found himself on the edge of the opposition box. With the wind in his favour (have I said that already) he took a strike at goal which was pretty much straight at the keeper. However, he made a bit of a meal of it as the parry fell in front of him. Banksy timidly jogged towards the keeper who would surely gather the loose ball. Banksy started to sprint toward the ball as he realised that somehow the keeper and the defender were dilly-dallying (as the pro’s call it). Banksy bizarrely nicked the ball first, rounded the keeper and made sure this time that it went in the back of the net to make it 3-1, put the game out of sight and take the wind out of the sails of Actonians.
Banksy had another opportunity when a header was finger-tipped onto the post. He also had the final opportunity of the game when he got the ball on the half way line and tested the pace of the centre back as he sprinted towards the byline. He cut back in and eyed up the easy square ball to Reader for a simple tap in. I don’t know what he saw but he opted to shoot and missed wide of the left post. He owes Reader a pint for that one… or more.
Thanks to roll-on, roll-off substitutes, Tim was given the opportunity to return to the field 5 mins before the end and see out the rest of the game. Tim did not oblige as once again he lasted for 2minutes before he had to come off the pitch for his second time in one game. The opposition did not take kindly to this outrageous ‘time wasting,’
It was a terrific display from Duncan’s Orange Windbreakers as they deservedly beat a terrific side. On a better day it could have 6 or 7. It shows what we can do when we have a full strength side out for two weeks running. Confidence in the dressing room is booming! There can only be one MOTM and I’ll give it this week to Redford who dealt with everything thrown at him today.