Alexandra Park 5 – Carshalton 1

SAL Senior Div 2 | September 21, 2019

Scorers: Hawke(2), Graves, Brough, OG

Nobody was looking forward to this fixture. In last season’s ties, the teams shared the points on both occasions in a couple of January bore draws that Duncan had described as “killing parts of the soul” which suspiciously coincided with his resignation threat. Let’s all pray that it’s not another dead heat.

The initial stages showed the game would be a robust affair. Carshalton dominating the early minutes with play out the back comfortably instigated by a tidy number 8 and useful stalwart left back. Their number 8 forcing a tremendous save from Pat in goals as a tackle turned into a shot from 30 yards. One for the cameras.

The 1s took the lead however with some nifty play. Some collected football from Luke utilises the space to the right back. Lanigan plays the ball into Dan Hawke’s path on the right wing who drives at the defence before cutting inside with a feint, buying him more time than ‘Bernard’s watch’ (that reference might be worth a google). He looks up and plays a low pass laterally along the 18 yard box. It’s hard to know if the pass was meant for Gravesy but he’s never been one for turning down presents. His first touch is a glorious lunge to get his toe on the ball, which pops between the defenders. The centre halves may as well have been Tom Hanks and Wilson because the touch left them helpless and stranded as Gravesy leaps after the ball. All the time in the world, but admittedly nervous, Graves buries the ball for the lead. Good football, good goal.

Dan Hawke put the game to 2-0 and at 5:43am on my way to Stanstep Airport for the trip to Bucharest, I can’t recall for the life of me how it happened. Does that mean I’m going to die? For arguments sake let’s call it a 30 yard bicycle kick, but more likely a through ball tucked away neatly as the end of the first half really started to open up for Duncan’s horny oranges. Slava tried to get in the mix when he rinsed his full back as he does so well, opting to shoot instead of feeding Dan for his hatty. Even JJ raised a few eyebrows. Not know for his pace, he did the old kick and run round the large ginger lump in centre half only to try and cross the ball from a clear one on one situation. Like a bad mathematician, it didn’t work out.

Half time 2-0 and the oranges are looking impressive.

Second half and Carshalton respond toward the 60 minute mark. Their ever-threatful left back worked his way to the byline and delivered a peach of a cross to the back post for an easy nod in. I wish he’d delivered an actual peach, because then we wouldn’t have conceded. You can say we shouldn’t have let him get the cross away but you still have to admire the delivery, in the same you do with some of my jokes. The first goal AP concede of the season.

Despite the opposition barely threatening the goal itself, a certain nervousness lingers with the unsettling 2-1 scoreline in a game we looked so comfortable. Will we rue missed chances? In short, no. Dan Hawke restores the two goal cushion with his second brace in as many games. The long throw from Browse is flicked on by Graves into the 6 yard box of death. Slava and Hawkey swing once each but the shots blocked each time before finally falling to Dan again at the back post to slot away. Is Gravesy really trying to claim the assist? Thinking about it, I retrieved the ball for the throw…do I get the assist? Let’s get real.

Now the game starts to open up massively again and it could end up being a rout. Carlo skies one from 12 yards. Lots of other chances I’d like to mention but it’s still 6:02am and I can’t give a …

One of note though is Gravesy working down the left side on a counter against an unrecognisable back line. He cruyffs inside opening the whole pitch up. There’s a body charging forward on the right hand side. What a thriving charge it is as well. Athletic, determined and powerful, yet with an elegant grace, like a young Steven Gerrard. Echos boom round the palace grounds from the huge scream which still sends shivers for my spine: “G-mannnnnm!!!!!” Gravesy plays the ball through. Oh ffs it’s Hancock. I don’t know what he ate for breakfast but I want some. He takes a touch and buries it from 18 yards. What a goal. No lie, I woke up startled in the middle of the night shouting “G-man.” Well that is a lie, in the middle of the night I was still piling back jäger bombs in the faithful cloobhouse.

Free scoring centre back Elliot Brough joined in on the action (scoring, not jäger bombs) to make it 5-1 and really make us feel like the tetchy 2-1 period was ancient history. A
Gravesy free kick was low and fumbled by the keeper. Brough, the only player alert to the rebound, pokes in.

I’ve just realised what Hawke’s first goal was. And I think it was actually in the second half as it was towards that clubhouse end. Not sure exactly how the situation occurred but he shot inside the box, and whilst the shot wasn’t that strong, it was too forceful for the keeper who’s parry ended up in the top corner. I remember because it resembled his new chant which I came up with before the game.

To the tune of Murray Head – One Night in Bangkok
One strike from Dan Hawke makes the goalie fumble
He bags another to extend our lead
One skill from Dan Hawke and he takes a tumble
He’ll score a brace but never will score three
I can see him f*’ up the penalty

5-1 and the only last thing to mention is Tim’s two minute cameo which enabled a miss from 8 yards. Hawke powers down the right and does the decent thing by crossing low. It’s a pretty decent ball but a little behind Tim. A more agile player may have been nimble enough to manoeuvre their body in a goal scoring fashion. Not Tim though who tries a back heeled flick to a disappointing scuff. We’re all quite glad really, as we wouldn’t have heard the end of it.

Man of the match has to be the G-man, Gravesy, for his lovely, important opening goal and 2.5 assists. Fantasy points galore for the midfield dominator. Special mention to Slava Stotyka for his disciplined defensive game to go along with his constant threat from lightning speed. He won the ball back umpteen times in the middle of the park as he continues to improve on Tim’s narrow Bankopress. Upcoming chant alert.

1st Team / Match Reports