1st XI beat The Warren (H), League, 4-1
Another week, another home fixture and another impressive performance from the first team.
We once again started brightly. Popping the ball about sharply. But worryingly like previous weeks, early chances were going begging. Marcus, Billy, Sean and James Elsey all wasting gilt-edged chances. However it would be a lot more worrying if we were not carrying a goal threat.
The eventual breakthrough came at the half hour mark. Some great work down the left, Tom Gullon with a perfect pass for Elsey who went weaving into the box, before cutting back inside and smartly finishing at the keeper's near post.
Once the pressure was relieved having got the first goal, the inevitable second came. All season we have been looking dangerous from set pieces, whether that's whipping in crosses or Billy and Sean testing the keepers. So it was no surprise to see Billy deliver a free kick from deep that had The Warren defensive line at 6’s and 7’s. No matter how much Wattsy celebrated, that's going down as an own goal all day.
Now onto the hot topic in football at the moment. Especially in the last few weeks, with goal line decisions going against us. Just before half time The Warren forced a corner. It was headed away to the waiting oppo on the edge of the box whose shot is deflected into the path of The Warrens striker, who clearly must have been offside! The shouts go up on the sideline from the large Stationers Crowd. You would have bet your house on him being off. But thanks to Russell Toone videoing large parts of the game for us, the referee was not only vindicated but made a great call, he had run from deep and was at least 5 yards on! Maybe a lesson for all of us, just how hard the refs have it to make decisions with no help at this level and maybe they are correct more often than we give them credit for!
2-1 Stationers at half time. A little harsh for the effort we had put in.
The second half we started sluggishly, with the Warren buoyed by their goal. However, like we talk about week after week, once our work rate increased we were earning the right to play. Once that happens we can let our footballing abilities do the talking. A great passing move ended with Reeves stepping over to allow Smith to smash home.
As the game wore on, the oppo struggled to get up the pitch and were increasingly pegged back. A 4th came from another excellent corner. Jackson holding off his marker to thunder a header against the crossbar. Wattsy leaping like a salmon to nod home. Once again the video footage settling a controversy. Like all greedy strikers Marcus was claiming it brushed his eyebrows. The footage looks inconclusive - goal Wattsy.
Another great win, & I can really feel momentum building this season. I think we look really strong defensively. And it’s only a matter of time before we start turning that solidity into clean sheets. Once we do that, with the amount of chances we have been creating we will be hard to beat.
We also wish a speedy recovery to The Warren cb that suffered a horrible ankle injury.
We will have to be at our absolute clinical best against high flying Parks next week.
MOM - Tom Gullon. Great work rate and some early tackles set the tone and a great pass for the opener