Sunday 7th October 2007
By Vince Wray
Proof of the advantages of having a large squad were very apparent today. We’ve 18 players registered and had 5 unavailable today through injury and holiday. And some of those were players that you would think would make the starting 11 stronger. However, as they say, possession is 9/10ths of the law and those that had the starting shirt today have given manager Burkett a great selection headache for the next game.
There was a good balance and blend to the team today and the competition for places in the squad has obviously had a brilliant effect on the players'' attitude.
We took the lead through a penalty from Stevens calmly slotted into the keeper''s right corner after he had been brought down in the box. They equalised 5 minutes later with a shot from just inside the area that fooled Milner; having said that, our marking for this one was poor. However before they had a chance to get back in the game O’Donoghue put us back in front. He had already showed a steely determination today, giving his best performance for the club so far and was rewarded when he acrobatically volleyed the ball into the net from inside the box. 2-1 at half time.
We started the 2nd half well, Wray immediately going on a pacy direct run at goal which nearly brought dividends, the keeper making a good save at his near post. Stevens shot over the bar and we were still keeping up our momentum. Wray passed to Stevens and from just inside the box Stevens slotted past the keeper. Only minutes later, they scored after losing two heading duels in our area, they poked the ball home from close range. At this point Tulse Hill were looking stronger and getting back in the game. The same as last week, all the defence stood firm and answered all the questions being posed by the opposition in positive manner. They were very solid as a unit.
We won the ball at the far post from a corner and the loose ball went to Dale who hooked the ball over the keeper into the roof of the net; 4-2. Just minutes later, Townsend swung a beautiful ball into the area for Stevens who finished with a stinging left foot volley. There was just enough time for Holmes to be brought down in the box by their keeper for another spot kick. This time, birthday boy Keyworth stepped up and made it 6-2. I wonder if he’d have got the ball off Stevens had he not already completed his hat trick. Interesting?
A very good team performance. Although I feel I have to mention O’Donoghue who was absolutely outstanding in the centre midfield, making tackles and breaking down their play. Stevens, who always delivers, and has an amazing goals to games ratio. Keyworth – delivered consistency and energy combined with spirit and skill. And the whole defensive unit.
Quick, lively passing and lots of movement basically wore down the opposition. All the lads put in strong displays. It’s now down to the manager to get his headache tablets ready for the next team selection!!