Saturday 10th September 2005
By Shaun Keddle
A fantastic result and performance against traditionally awkward opposition.
With some big guns missing we produced a whirlwind display full of pace, hard work, team spirit and movement. There was an element of luck about the first goal as it was gifted to us by the Bexleians keeper, but at the same time Liam Williams was rewarded by closing down the keeper and then slotting home. Then there was a brief 15-20 minutes spell when play settled down and some good neat football was played by both sides. It was clear that we fancied our chances going forward and we were very organised at the back. A purple patch for us midway through the half saw some fast, flowing football which ended up with Dave Harrigan finishing off a fantastic move with a cleverly weighted chip. Two further goals from Liam Williams followed completing his hat-trick with an excellent display of finishing. 4-0 at the break and it was a job well done.
It was excellent to see at the break that we still wanted to improve and although anyone would be happy with 4-0, everyone still thought it could be bettered. No substitutions or tactical changes were made and we quickly scored again when Dave Harrigan went on a mazy run and neatly finished with his left foot after some good off- the-ball running which gave him the space to run into. It was all us in the second half and we flooded forward at every opportunity. Steve Pester was replaced by Matty Wright who tied up their big centre forward (not literally) and Lee Osborne came on to replace Liam Williams and finished superbly to make the result 6-0.
Richard Davis was outstanding down the left hand side with some tenacious challenges but also had the confidence to take players on around the outside. Matt Wilson was really starting to dominate the middle, more than ablely assisted by the more defensive duties of Danny Clark and the forward running of Dave Harrigan which caused havoc for the opposition''s midfield. Aaron really stated to get into his role in the second half pushing further forward and Sam Small was always an option on the left hand side (but nobody passed to him! - only joking mate) making some good runs and some even better calls. Steve and Michael operated like pro''s at the back and were never troubled and Daragh was getting himself up and down the touchline, creating space and delivering some decent crosses. Jumbo was never really troubled but looked tidy when he had to be. Liam up front worked tirelessly and really did graft for his hat-trick as well as adding an assist to his name (Roger - where were you?!). A great start this season for Liam, who got rewarded for all his hard work.
Matt Wilson got the nod for the man of the match vote, despite some very good performances all around the park, especially Richard Davis, Dave Harrigan and Liam Williams. Aaron Carpenter got the mug of the match or ''naughty schoolboy'' award after being told to go and get the ball or get a detention/lines instead.
The most impressive part of our performance this week was our movement off the ball. Time and time again we were willing to help our team mates out by grafting out some unselfish runs which opened up space and options for the man with the ball. A lot of our goals were created this way and it is a real show of players not only working, but thinking about their game and contributing to the team effort. This same movement was also good defensively - if someone was committed there would always be somebody shuffling across to cover or fill in. Talking and communication were a lot better with our young guns (Richard Davis and Sam Small) starting to contribute to our vocal effort. Confidence is high at the moment and the system is working well with plenty of hard work, discipline and control. Last season we may have only nicked this game as we did have 3 good battles with Bexleians, so this is a reflection of how far we have come since then. It was also good to see a couple of the injury-listers on the line - thanks for your support boys.
This week will be a sterner test. We will have to be up for this and we do have a strong versatile squad with lots of options. We have Westerham at home who, like us, will have firm aspirations for promotion. A good performance and result against them will really give us an indication of where we truly are. We have developed as a squad and have all got older, wiser sharper and fitter season on season and our young guns are really starting to shine.
Superb start to the season. Confidence will be high going into this fixture, so let''s work hard, work together and do the business.