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Match reports for Saturday 13th September 2014

Captains - please ensure you email with your match report so it can be posted to the website for all to read.

13th September 2014

1st XI - Won AWAY Old Westminster Citizens

After throwing away 2 points last week against Broomfield in the final few minutes we got the job done at an extremely hard place to go. Notoriously I have never done well when I get off the train at Mitcham Eastfields (what a trek by the way), but thankfully this week was different.

The first half was a fairly quiet one until just before the end Ryan Griffin decided to crack a 25 yard volley into the bottom corner leaving the keeper helpless. Then 2 mins later into stoppage time Perry Christian evaded 3 or 4 challenges to calmly slot past the keeper.

2-0 at half time was a massive boost for us and we started the second half well with chances coming and going. They managed to bundle in a dubious goal in from a corner which had us rattled. In quite a physical encounter with both teams being reduced to 10 men, on a hot day both teams struggled and it became a bit sloppy. Anyway they were pressing for an equalizer but unlike last week we stood firm with my brick wall of James Keenan and Ben Jackson throwing themselves at everything.

Onwards and upwards and hopefully another 3 points at home this weekend. Thanks to all my team for their great performance and commitment. Man of the match Ben Jackson.

3rd XI - Lost AWAY Old Salesians Just a few lines to thank everyone who gave everything on Saturday. We were doing well with 10 men for 25 mins then a cruel deflection and 2 well worked goals led to us being 3-0 at ht.We started the second half with 11 and looked quite solid. A well worked 4th led to us having 10 men for the last 25 mins. Huge thanks to Nick and Russell for giving us 2 players who along with everyone else were excellent. Onward and upward!

5th XI - Drew HOME Old Finchleians

Goalscorers - Craig Jones, Duarte Santana (2)

A very satisfying start to our League campaign this weekend against a useful Finchley side. Having taken a 3-1 lead with some 20 minutes left we really should have bagged all 3 points but as we discussed afterwards the main thing was we played a real team game throughout and created a fair number of chances, as well as playing some nice passing football.

A 4-5-1 formation was a natural one given the squad members available and it worked well, with the midfield trio of Mike Douglas, Craig Jones, and David Campbell offering a wall of cover to the back four of Alan Amato, Jay Gladdy, John Murphy and the impressive debutant Zafir Akin. Breaking forward, our wide midfielders Billy Philipps and Ross Blackmore were full of running and trickery, and up top the line was led magnificently by Duarte Santana.

The whole match was a tight affair, with both teams playing decent football, and we found ourselves defending for the opening stages as Finchley came at us with pace and strength. It is a tribute to the teamwork of all that very few opportunities were created by the oppo, and in fact the one real chance they created in the first half led to a goal, their striker running beyond our defence to round the keeper and finish easily. By then we had taken the lead, Craig Jones side footing home from 10 yards after a cross into their box was not cleared after good work by Billy and Duarte.

HT - 1:1

We spoke at half time about where we could improve and Duarte asked for more support when he had the ball as sometimes he was isolated up top. Naturally being early season fitness plays a part here as we are asking the midfield to get up and down a lot and as the game progresses it becomes tiring, however we did manage to link up the play more often in the oppo’s half after the break, with Billy Philipps and substitute Ron Hanson to the fore, playing nice one/twos with Duarte who began to look increasingly menacing around the oppp penalty area. Also, having bedded in on the left in the first half, Zafir was calmly bringing others into play with this neat and tidy footwork, and this composed style allowed us to pass out of trouble and work our way up the pitch via Mike Douglas, David Campbell and Craig Jones.

The improved possession we enjoyed in the second half saw us take the lead, a good series of passes up the middle ending with Duarte firing past their keeper who got a touch but could not keep the ball out. And 10 minutes later, having survived a series of Finchley corners, we broke out of defence and a sweeping move ended with Duarte smashing a fantastic strike into the far corner of the net for a 3-1 lead.

Fair play to Finchley though, who came at us strongly for the rest of the match, and we had some tired legs on the pitch by 75 minutes. I think this played a part in Finchley getting back to parity, as first of all they scored with a speculative shot from 30 yards that beat our keeper and dipped under the bar, and finally broke free behind our defence to cross for a very good finish from their young substitute with a glancing header.

Other notable events were Duarte’s shot across the face of goal that came back off the post and a Rooney-esque (or Beckham-esque if you are older!) lob from 50 yards that beat the keeper but bounced over the bar rather than into an empty net. Great imagination and nearly a wonder goal by D.

So all in all a decent start, a strong spirit and much to look forward to this season. Big thanks to Dan Avis and Ross Wright too who helped the club by travelling to south London this weekend.

MOTM - Duarte Sanata. Hugely impressive, a calm authority in the team and massively talented. The oppo thought so too. Great all round display.

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