The ‘ Mighty 6’s ‘ ( Jacks always had illusions of grandeur ! ) descended upon The Paulin Ground for the second week running having beaten the Hill’s 6’s last time out. Couple of changes to the 14 man squad with debuts for new member Ryan Yems and one from the ‘ academy ‘ ( APYFC ) James Holden.
Having assembled in a car park and got changed on a footpath ( the new norm in grassroots football ! ), the boys went through their skippers pre match warm up with real enthusiasm on what proved to be a decent playing surface.
Having decided ( well the gaffer did ) to stay with a somewhat cautious 4:1:4:1 line up, the lads took the game by the scruff of the neck and set up camp in the Hills half, keeping good possession, linking up really well and using both flanks to good effect. Despite coming close on several occasions, AP only managed to find the net once in a dominant first half, when McDonald was put through wide right and hit one of those cross come shots that the keeper could only get a fingertip to ( clearly Joe’s version was he saw the keeper off his line and went for the dipping shot ! ). So half time arrived with all 14 having had a run out ( rotation being a must with a squad blessed with such levels of fitness and physique !! ), winning 1 – 0 and in full control.
So obviously half time chit chat was full of all the old cliches ‘ more of the same ‘, ‘ keep it tight ‘, ‘ kill it off with a second ‘, and of course the old favourite ‘ don’t get complacent ‘ ( must read up on reverse psychology ! ).
Whilst the lads didn’t completely ignore these age old words of wisdom, the Hill, to their credit, regrouped, played a bit higher and got back into the game, whilst limiting AP to the counter attack for the first 20 minutes of the second half. Just as it appeared the team had weathered the storm, the Hill broke down the left and a near post drive made it 1 – 1. Whilst Matt was still beating himself up about the latter, he managed to pull off a brilliant 1 on 1 save to deny the resurgent Hill, which both kept AP in the game and proved to be the catalyst to a strong last 25 for AP. Despite maintaining significant pressure and several decent attacking moves, the boys lacked a bit of composure ( another cliche! ) and perhaps a little bit of luck in the final third, and the game finished with a disappointing draw.
As its the festive season a special mention for all 14.. Kelly, Spinks, Rands, Brenner, Holden, Hortsed, Pernice, Mears, Kenga, McDonald, Yems…and of course Morris, Morris and Morris !.
Whilst it certainly felt like 2 points dropped, the team should take real heart and confidence from taking 4 points from 6 in two visits to The Paulin, particularly as in reality they’d nicked 3 points the week before !.
In second place going into Xmas and still in the cups bodes well for 2021…should we ever finish the season