Saturday 10th October 2015
By Luke Johnson
"It's like running up the travelator" - Dave Martin 10/10/2015 (twice)
Our 6th win on the spin, and the end of our away game marathon, was probably our hardest win to date.
This was partly due to the fact that Belvedere's pitch is almost vertical, it was an absolute graft running up it, and a bit of free wheeling running down it.
We had a squad of 16 on Friday evening, with the idea that after the 5-0 drubbing of Otford last week we didn't need to change anything. Four people pulling out late on Friday / early Saturday put us down to 12, not ideal!
We haven't played at home since the first game of the season and for our 5th game away from Farrow Fields we faced a Belvedere side who had won just once this season. To be honest I'm not sure how as they are not a bad outfit at all. We took the lead with another Luke Foulsham free kick. Their keeper was adjudged to have handled outside the area and from the resulting set piece Luke smashed it home. To be fair that goal was probably a little against the run of play and should have served to settle us down and get us playing, but it didn't.
Another handball decision, against yours truly, lead to another direct free kick being scored, by the oppo this time. I genuinely don't know how I could have got out of the way of it, but some of Saturday's decisions for both sides were at best questionable. We went in at one all at half-time, a fair reflection on the game.
Second half we were better, without really playing much free flowing football. We allowed Belvedere a lot of the ball, but defended well and didn't give many opportunities away at all. At the other end we were relying on long balls and the pace of Lee Friend, Alex Barnes and Steve McQueen, not pretty football but effective. Our second goal was a thing of beauty from start to finish. Sam Clarkson proved we don't miss Gibbo at all, by launching a long punt down field. Lee Friend expertly controlled the ball with his arse, and it fell to our newly appointed Club Captain Alex Barnes.
Before I talk about the goal I think it's time to give Barnes loads and loads of credit, which is really painful for me to do. He was on the bench for 2 games, before playing in goal, and then dropping back to the bench again in the first few games of this season. I'd like to say he doesn't moan and gets on with it, but he does moan, but still gets on with it. Today was his first start of the season and its the middle of October!! Proper team player and that is a big part of the reason Matt and I put him forward as Club Captain. Barnes, I love you.
Back to the goal. As the ball fell to Al, he didn't take a touch (he very rarely controls anything) instead he pulled off an extra lobby lob, from 30 odd yards. A great finish, and a way back to 3 points. We used the long ball / arse control combo for our third goal as well. Dan Rose, after being instructed several hundred times to 'slow it down', launched a free kick into their box. Lee and Steve combined to mis-control the ball into the path of Aaron Evans, who rifled in the third goal, and allowed us to relax a bit for the final 10 minutes. Aaron had hot-footed from work in Chelsea to get to Belvedere, only to be told by us that he was on the bench. He then ran the line for 50, before coming on and getting his goal. Then he went out and scored again, an absolute beauty by all accounts. His scoring run continued into Sunday evening, what a hero.
In order to win this league we are going to have to battle out games where we aren't playing well or have people missing, that's exactly what we did on Saturday, hopefully next week we are back to our unstoppable best.
Decent Knight out after as well. The great Raymundo, fresh from his MOM display, made his first appearance in the Daylight Inn and Bibas. Lovely lad, can't booze, and I caught him telling a lovely young lady that he was Man of the Match. Smooth.
In fact Ray dominated MOM votes. For what it's worth Lee Friend had a great game even tho' it's the first time he hasn't scored in about 100 games. And Luke Foulsham put in a real captain's shift in the middle. 6 from 6, 100% start, very happy gaffers.
Cup next week, hopefully 7 from 7.
Team: Sam Clarkson; Dave Martin, Tommy Sullivan, Luke Johnson, Ray Knight; Dan Rose, Kobi Johnson, Luke Foulsham, Alex Barnes, Steve McQueen; Lee Friend.
Sub: Aaron Evans.
Man of the match: Ray Knight