A marvellous all-round AP performance at top-of-the-league Weirside Rangers delivered a much-deserved first victory of the season for the 1s.
With train strikes disrupting the long journey to Teddington, just getting to the ground proved to be a challenge. But the opening phases, played on a carpet of a pitch, proved that AP had not been tired by the trek.
AP competed strongly on and off the ball, looking where possible to keep possession and move the ball into the channels. While Weirside appeared capable on the ball, AP’s combative midfield led them to rely on long balls pumped forward by their keeper, which proved easy work for the AP backline.
However, chances were few and far between for both sides and a goalless half passed by without incident.
Emboldened by Weirside’s sluggish forward play and Keith’s half time words, AP began the second half proactively. And it didn’t take long before we got our rewards, albeit from a slice of luck.
Ronnie’s hopeful freekick angled onto the goalkeeper, who, caught in two minds whether to catch or punch over, parried weakly on to his crossbar. Falling back into the six yard box, it was Jed who reacted quickest to strike the ball home.
That finally woke up Weirside, who spent the final half hour laying siege to the AP goal. But from every corner of the pitch, AP rallied to the defensive effort.
Led by man-of-the-match George and the always brave Jed, ably supported by Ollie, Chris and Sean, a tireless team effort began to defend the 3 points.
Corners and long throw-ins were repeatedly headed away. Tackles and blocks held the Weirside surge back. The few efforts that made it through the backline were eagerly seized by Dave. AP became even more confident of victory as the clock ticked down, with everyone doing their bit to get us over the line. But nothing in life is easy, and with seconds on the clock a dubiously awarded corner pinballed around the AP six yard box before drifting agonisingly wide of the post. A roar of relief and delight greeted the final whistle seconds later. Simply everyone in the 1s family put in a match-winning shift in this huge display – and a marker has been put down for the rest of the season.