The team came into the game confident after a 4-1 win against Bank of England and excited to play Old Garchonians for the 24th time this season. We were fortunate to start the game with a largely unchanged side and in our usual 4-3-3 formation, which allows for the perfect expression of Keith-Ball.
We could have easily been one up in the first couple of minutes after Phil put in an excellent ball from the right that Ardit put narrowly wide. The first 20 minutes were played at a frenetic pace, with Rich and Chris putting in a series of big tackles in the middle of the pitch, whilst Ed and Phil playing on the wings pressed hard and carried the ball effectively in transition. Later in the half Ed put through an excellent ball from the left that took Garchonians’ defence out of the game and Phil clean through, unfortunately, their keeper was able to save well low to his right. A competitive first half ended 0-0 with few clear chances for Garch and a strong defensive performance from AP.
The second half started with a similar intensity to the first and a rare mistake at the back early in the half left Garchonians’ captain clean through. Fortunately for us, he tried to square it to their striker who had strayed into an offside position. We bounced back and started to get on top of the game, Marek was creating chances and linking play up well and we were winning our battles across the pitch, with Ed scoring 15 minutes in to capitalise on the dominance. Unfortunately, as has been the case too often, we invited pressure after scoring and Garchonians were able to get one back after a string of corners and a goalmouth scramble.
We kept our heads and began to create our own chances, with Ed having a goal ruled out for a narrow off-side decision. As we entered the last 15 minutes the game became increasingly stretched. We moved Phil into the middle of the pitch and Luke came onto the right-wing to provide some extra energy. Five minutes from time Marek fired in a freekick from 25 yards out that dipped and caused the keeper to fumble. Ed was there in a flash, capitalising on the dropped ball and burying the chance, 2-1 to AP.
An excellent battling performance across the pitch, lots of chances created and we go into next week’s game against top of the table Civil Service confident we’ll beat them. Man of the match goes to Ed Cockcroft, two excellent goals, boundless energy, and created some great chances.