Saturday 18th September 2010
By Richard Tapsfield
Another excellent display saw us maintain our winning start, after defeating a battling Seven Acre Sports in a tightly contested game.
We went in to to the game full of confidence on the back of our opening day victory last week, but we knew we were in for a much tougher test this week, in what is never an easy trip over to Abbey Wood. We arrived a little late after ending up the wrong side of the railway bridge (anyone who's ever been to this ground will know what I mean!) and were greeted by a very organised looking Seven Acre side, who were being put through their paces in a warm up already. By the time we were changed and out on the pitch ready to boot balls at Sam in goal, they were back in for their team talk!
We were missing some key men from the previous week's side with Matt Pragnell, Al Barnes and Dave Martin all unavailable but we welcomed back Luke Dunne and Louis Hussey. We started 4-5-1 with Sam Clarkson in goal, a back four of myself, Ben, Luke J and Luke D. A midfield of Dan, Ellis, Matty G, Louis and Jim Lenton, with Sladey ready for some hard graft up front on his own. Right from the start we dominated possession and took the game to Seven Acre and despite a hard bumpy surface we knocked the ball about well and created a lot of chances. On another day we could easily have gone in 2 or 3 nil up but a combination of bad finishing (no names mentioned!) and some unbelievable goalkeeping kept it at 0-0.
At half time we talked about making sure we continued the same level of performance and hopefully we'd get the breakthrough. As it was for the second week in a row we again had our worst spell straight after half time, where we started to get a little sloppy and let Seven Acre in to the game a bit. However we defended superbly throughout and in truth apart from collecting some difficult catches under pressure Sam didn't really have a save to make.
At the other end we continued to be denied by some excellent goal keeping and bad finishing until about 15 minutes left. Some excellent work down the right with Sladey and Dan saw Ellis through into the box and as he cut inside the defender he was bundled over. A decision that could have gone either way to be honest but thankfully the ref pointed to the spot. We hadn't designated a penalty taker before the game but Jim Lenton quickly grabbed the ball and confidently buried it in to the bottom corner, sending the keeper the wrong way. That capped off another good display from Jim on the left in my opinion, even though he did get stick all game by some random fan (watching the game on the other pitch!) and even the ref afterwards!
In the last 10 minutes Seven Acre threw a few more men forward and gave it everything they had but our defence matched them and we comfortably held on for a good 1-0 victory. Seven Acre are a good young side and they will certainly win more than they lose this season, so it was a great result for us at a ground where points are hard to come by.
It was an excellent team performance and this was mirrored in the man of the match voting, with 7 of the 11 starters picking up votes. Personally I thought we adapted to the different formation really well and it suited the personnel we had with our midfield dominating their counterparts and Sladey terrorising their defence all game with his constant running. Man of the match (unfortunately for everyone) went to Matt Godward on his full debut, who just nicked it by one vote from Luke Dunne. To be fair to Matt (and it pains me to say this!) he was excellent throughout, especially as he has been injured for the whole of pre-season. Those of you who voted for him though will learn from your mistakes as it's all we'll hear about next week.
Next week we are back at Farrow Fields again in the league, more of the same please!
Man of the match: Matt Godward