Scorers: X.Diaz, Ryan-Inkson, Cockcroft, Ladipo
AP’s second team came into this game in seriously ropey form, just the two goals scored and eleven conceded from the two opening league fixtures. Time to get some points on the board. The assured Noah Summers was back in at centre back and an AP senior debut was handed to Gabriel Conway starting on the wing. There were reasons to be optimistic.
The first 20 minutes were competitive with both teams playing neat football. There was an early glimpse of things to come as Toj, playing on the right wing. effortlessly glided past 4 players. City of London then began to edge it and created a few half chances, before being awarded a penalty after pressing a back pass. The penalty was brilliantly saved by Vladimir low down to his right, only for the referee to decide it needed to be retaken as Vlad was judged to be off his line. Could such heroics be repeated? They couldn’t, 1-0 to City of London.
Centre back Tom Eerden then arranged for himself to be sin-binned, taking reasonable exception to the referee’s request to communicate within 30cm from his face. City of London were dominant and just as we returned to 11 they scored a goal of real quality as a sharp cross was struck home on the half volley with the strikers out-stretched left. A third followed, then it really started raining, despair on the sidelines, was there anyway back?
Some tidy movement and a cross from the striker Dean capped a positive last 10 minutes, with the City of London keeper pulling off a fine save from the header. Following an uninspired team talk and a little squirt of lucozade the team were raring to go for the second half. AP started exceptionally brightly, playing much higher up the pitch and dominating the ball. After a series of chances, Xavi Diaz scored a screamer from two yards, setting the score to 1-3. Toj Ladipo, the young man who will lift Alexandra Park to glory in years to come began to shine and was causing chaos in the final third. City of London couldn’t get close enough to foul him let alone tackle. Dean was pressing everything in a way that would have Jurgen Klopp purring and inspiring those around him to do the same.
A gift followed from the City of London keeper, who kicked straight to Alf playing in midfield. A calm touch before a clean strike from all of 25 yards caught the keeper on the wrong side of his goal, 2-3 and game on. The game became very stretched, and with the pace and directness of Ed Cockroft and Toj on the wings that suited us. With 15 minutes to go the ball fell to Ed with his back to goal on the edge of the box, a sharp turn and he struck home with his left into the bottom left corner, cue wild celebrations.
Chances fell to both teams in the last 15 minutes with Vlad pulling off some fantastic saves and some last ditch defending keeping the score level. One last attack deep into injury time resulted in a free kick on the far right of the goal. Up stepped Toj, not content at ruining their left back’s day, he dispatched the ball into the top corner, the referee’s whistle blown with the ball mid-flight.
A fantastic team performance, special thanks to Fred, Dean, Tom and Gabriel playing their first games with the second team, with man of the match deservedly going to Toj Ladipo.