2nd XI - Won HOME v Old Lyonians Res. League.
After a disappointing defeat away at Ibis, the team wanted to correct the mistakes of the previous league mach. Conceding within the first thirty seconds was uncharacteristic, Mickey instructed the team to keep it tight at the back during the opening exchanges.
After crashing his car in the morning Mario just about made kick off, Rob started at right back with Adam deputising at centre back alongside Paul, Sean returned to left back after nearly starting the game in goal. Adam has been a great addition, providing even more presence and technical ability to the defence. Kieran started on the right next to Marcus and Lenos in the middle while Sam covered the left. Lenos has been a momentous addition to the team, a cool head with huge technical ability and an outstanding work rate. George Beef and George Winter lead the line upfront.
From the kick off it was apparent Old Lyonians were up for a battle, a succession off headers and tackles were won by the opposition and their game plan of frustrating the team worked. Their hard work combined with a poor first twenty minutes from Stationers saw them take the lead 0-1, a finish from the edge of the box that left Mario no chance of saving the ball. The first half ended disappointingly, the lads showed the right ideas but for one reason or another the football just didn’t fall our way.
A traditional ‘hairdryer’ half time bollocking followed and substitutes were made however the belief the game could be turned around was present. Kyri was brought in to further nullify the target man of Lyonians who stood with the clouds. Pani was introduced upfront after an injury to George Winter and on the stroke of the sixtieth minute a looping header found its way to the left boot of Pani and the ball was calmly stroked into the net on the half volley, 1-1.
With the equaliser the momentum was on Stationers side and a winner was only going to come from a player in blue and gold. The winner eventually came from Lenos who topped off a fine display with a sensational goal. Sam found himself with a free run to the by line before swinging the ball across the box just a few inches behind the arriving George Beef, only for Lenos to arrive late in true Gerrard fashion and smash the ball into the top corner from the edge of the box (on his lefty), 2-1.
Although the lads saw the game out to collect all three points, it could have been 4-1. A stunning thirty yard strike from Kieran rebounded off the bar saving the keepers blushes, and a unbelievable save denied George Beef what would have been a well deserved goal after he run himself into the ground. Two goals from Pani and Lenos ensured the Apostolous saved the day.
Roll on Broomfield Away…
By Pani Apostolou
3rd XI - Lost AWAY Civil Service AFA Junior Cup
A hard fought game against a first division side,who reached the final last year,and semi-final the 2 previous seasons,proved to be just that. This was the first game of the season for most of the team, but it didn't show. The skipper selected 3-5-2 and it took 25 minutes for us to get used to the formation. Good saves and good defending saw us through for 25 mins before a well worked corner made it 1-0 to the oppo.
From then on we dominated the game, chances came and went before half time, but we couldn't equalise. The second half was the same, a blatant pen was turned down, even the oppo were embarrassed. We were pushing forward and got caught on the break, 2-0.
The spirit in the team is not to be underestimated, and with 10 men we made it 1-2 with 7 mins to go, man mountain Abdi slotting home after having a goal ruled out, harshly I might add. Unfortunately we gave away a third goal when trying to grab an equaliser which we deserved. The oppo scored the 4th with the last kick of the game.
Everyone had an excellent game, Haashi and Ryan in midfield, Reece at right back, Maggsy at left back, Roobie who kept going, Max who was unlucky not to score, and Daniel, who came back on, even though he was injured to name just a few. If we keep up this level of performance and commitment we will have a very good season. Well played everyone!
4th XI - Lost AWAY Old Parkonians, League
A tight encounter against a decent oppo at Parkonians ended in defeat but began promisingly. The first half performance was well disciplined and we more than held our own for the opening exchanges. However as the match wore on we began to be outnumbered in midfield, a situation rectified by the lively Harry dropping into the centre to help David Campbell and Dean combat their feisty trio. Few chances were created at either end and when their fast striker broke beyond our back four the magnificent Jamie Luis was always covering with a flying tackle to make sure Chris in goal was not troubled. At the other end of the pitch, we were getting the ball out wide to Harry and Rob but could not get forward in sufficient numbers to support the lone front man and consequently did not manage to create clear chances. A few minutes from half time we lost a goal when Jamie slipped in making a challenges, the ball falling nicely for their number 9 to pounce. His pace took him into our area and he finished neatly in rounding our keeper. HT 0-1 down.
We spoke at half time about supporting the striker and tried to do so, but in truth a lack of cohesion due to failing match fitness and new players getting to know each other were our downfall. We battled on but generally played without too much discipline, and in the end we conceded a second goal on the break. Everyone gave their all and we will see better results once match fitness and a regular shape and squad play for the 4th XI each week. MOTM - Jamie Luis, flying tackler at the back.
5th XI - Lost HOME Southgate Olympic, League
Scorers: Duarte Santana, Craig Jones
This was a cracking match. Finely balanced. Lost against the run of play with literally the last kick of the game. Played at great intensity by both sets of players, 100% commitment all round. This was a game that epitomised what Saturday afternoon amateur football is all about, and everyone can be proud of their performance, if a little disheartened by the final result.
The first half we were under the cosh for long periods, and did very well to get to half time on level terms having gone a goal down and soaking up a huge amount of pressure. The oppo looked like a well drilled physically fit outfit, and one of their players explained to me before KO that they'd been training all summer together. You could tell, their combinations were precise, as they pushed forward against us. I was really impressed by our team ethic and individual effort shown on the field of play as we stifled the oppo, and it's a credit to everyone that we kept on going and never wilted under the pressure. Duarte Santana got us our equaliser running on to a good Jay Gladdy (right?) pass through the middle, with a calm side foot finish past their keeper. In at half time on level terms we had a chance to take stock.
For the second half we were able to make a single substitution, and bring late arriving Craig Jones on in midfield, which helped us step up and become the team asking most of the questions in the second half. We were also able to play Duarte as the main striker, and his hold up play benefited us tremendously. Alex K switched to right midfield, where - under Ron Hanson's remote control instruction (Ron at right back) - he gave a display that was of great quality; especially given he's a left footer who hasn't played 11-a-side with OSFC for 5 years. A fine performance, welcome back Alex... With Ron, Alan, Dan, and Zaf assured as our back four, Ross W, Ross B, Alex, Craig and Jay were supberb in the middle; Jay in particular having a massive influence on the 2nd half, seeming to win every 50 / 50 or second ball. Nelio also had a great match, playing the whole of the first half, and 50% on and off in the 2nd, showing a much improved level of fitness compared with last season, making a positive impact on the game, chasing and harrying the oppo everywhere he could.
We went ahead through a Craig Jones goal, that was almost an identical type of run and finish to Duarte's first half effort. There then followed a period where we had several really very good chances to finish the game off. The one I remember the most being a great team move that Ross Wright couldn't quite finish of on the half volley, though there were several others that fell to various of our players, and weren't converted.
As the referee called two minutes of injury time remaining the oppo - very much against the run of play - broke on us with a ball down the middle that was a 50 / 50 between their striker and Mark Mac in goal. Mark was as brave and committed as you could wish a keeper to be, and got cracked ribs (probably) and a dead leg in his attempt to reach the ball first, but their striker just managed to get a toe in and the ball had enough energy to cross the line. As both players lay on the ground for several minutes pole axed by the collision, the referee determined the end of injury time had been reached, and blew up.
Disappointing not to get the win, let alone a draw, but the performance was really excellent. If we play with this commitment consistently we shall do very well in this division, and we certainly have some gears to go up as we get to establish patterns of play and better understanding of each others movements on the pitch as the season goes on. Very encouraging. Well done all. Mark hope you get better soon.