Scorers: Scott, Routledge, Ahmadzahed
It’s a pleasant coincidence that this push for match reports should fall on the same weekend we chalked up our first win this season. Perhaps I have a team of pressure players, eager for the added incentive of seeing their exploits immortalised in the AP Newsletter. Perhaps the new signing of former Civil Service star, Ollie Richardson, emergency loan of precocious talent, Finlay Martin, and the return of AP3s prodigal son, Paul Scott was enough to galvanise the squad to an as yet uncharted level of formidability? Perhaps it just happens that fate pitted us against a team that looked to be struggling even more than us so far this season. I’d be inclined to go with the later primarily, but that’s not to denigrate the monumental performances of the aforementioned three additions. Or the rest of the team for that matter. Why, even managing to make it all the way to Teddington, carving a path through a city with looming Tier 3 restrictions deserves credit enough.
Surprisingly spoilt for choice up front with out and out strikers Alpha Cauwenbergh and Paul Scott both gracing the teamsheet, we decided to opt for a positive 4-4-2 from the off, and despite the bare two in the middle of the park, Rich Turner and Anton Routledge began to exert their control on the game straight from the whistle. Despite this control in the early stages, a lack of decisiveness in the final third kept the scoreline even. In fact, when our most promising opportunity – a quick 3-vs-3 counter attack – broke down with Alpha pulling up with a hamstring injury, it certainly seemed like it might end up being one of those days. Thankfully Rich Turner was on hand to provide that much needed moment of quality to break the deadlock, lofting a pinpoint pass to the back post for Paul Scott to finish with a diving header.
At this point we should have pushed on and started running away with the game, but instead we found ourselves gifting the opposition with chances, putting ourselves on the back foot, and if not for timely last ditch challenges from Ollie and Finlay we could have found ourselves going into the break all square. Indeed this is exactly where we did find ourselves 5 minutes after half time as a swirling lofted cross from their right landed flukily on our goal line, and trickled into the net. So followed a nervy 15 minutes of low sun making it all but impossible to pick out anything but silhouettes on the field. Things could have gotten worse at this point if not for the industrious work of Paul Scott and full backs, Fred Stanley and Scott Doherty, digging deep to retain our control of the game, and on the 60th minute their endeavour was rewarded as Paul Scott managed to square the ball to Routledge with time and space on the edge of the box, making the most of that luxury by picking out the top left corner with a sumptuous curling effort.
2-1, but with 20 minutes to go and play getting more stretched (with both teams bereft of substitutes), one could sense there would yet be another goal in it, and thankfully that chance would fall to 3s captain Hadi Ahmadzadeh, who was found by Routledge on the edge of the six yard box nearing the 80th minute, and from a tight angle opened up his body to curl the ball precisely into the far post to put the game to bed.
So it ended 3-1 and the 3s finally found themselves off the mark for the season. Man of the match could easily have gone to Ollie, Rich or Paul, but I don’t think anyone would have any qualms with me awarding the accolade to Finlay Martin, for a determined and mature performance in the middle of the park. He’s been taught well!