Samir Aalit ⚽⚽, Omar Karmali ⚽
Saturday 20 October 2018
Muswell Hill Sports Ground, Coppetts Road, London N10 1JP
SAL Senior Division 3
Match Report from Sam Connor
A warm summer afternoon greeted the return to league football for a vamps team looking to get back to victorious ways after feeling unfortunate to go out of the cup the weekend before. Returns to the team for Adam “the doctor” Mitchell, Omar Karmali, Luke Fitzgerald, Sam Lawrence, and Samir Aalit on the bench after an injury layoff.
Having recently made the long journey down to South London to face The Warren, we knew the trek they had just faced, and looked to exploit that with crossfield balls to find Omar speeding past their full back with ease. However, The Warren clearly had their Weetabix for breakfast, and continued to close down quickly, making it difficult to keep play flowing with a number of niggly fouls that distracted us from our game. Junior Bushiri, looking to make up for the blank the previous game was looking dangerous with the ball at his feet, and looked like he wanted to up his dribble stats, at one point sending a defender face planting into the grass like he’d spotted something good to eat. It was through this that the first goal came, as he was sent through and skipped past a couple of players on the six yard box. The whole pitch thought the cut back was the only option, including their keeper, but instead the ball was slid in the near post to see us 1-0 up.
We knew we weren’t playing at our best, and as the classic Saturday league calls of “we haven’t started playing yet have we” rang out, we wanted to start taking control of the game for the first time. However, the Warren had clearly not come all this way to roll over, and still looked dangerous on the break. The equaliser came as we looked comfortable in possession. The ball was knocked back to Amit Gagliani, and as the pass was sprayed out to the waiting left, it looked like the ball clearly came off the outstretched arms of their winger. However, the ref deemed it accidental and let the game play on as their winger rolled it in to an empty net.
As we moved in to the second half we knew that we had to play our normal game, and be confident that the goal would come, hoping that The Warren would tire and the spaces would open up. However, chances were hard to come by, and with more opportunities coming through set pieces a returning Samir Aalit was sent on up front to provide a focal point, replacing Omar, who hadn’t been following his fitness regime of morning sprints up the Copacabana. This changed the game, giving their defenders something new to deal with and opening up space around the box. Ali Manoli found a pocket, lifted a ball to the back post, and it was that man Aalit on hand to bundle the ball in for the perfect return to action. Finally a sigh of relief, as we looked to close the game out back ahead and the chances started to flow. First Karmali, back on the pitch, put the ball straight at the keeper after it was centred from Aalit , then finally the icing on the cake. Junior Bushiri found that sweet spot in between CB and left full back, was slid through by Ali Manoli, and after one touch rolled the ball calmly into the bottom corner. 3-1 and game over.
With other teams in cup action, it was a chance to put some distance ahead of us and Old Stationers in second. We need to keep taking on every game one at a time, with the same commitment and energy. Next week sees us travel to Hackney to face our next opponent Cambridge Heath, and continue our league momentum.
Amit Gagliani, Joe Ephgrave, Sam Connor, Adam Mitchell, Luke Fitzgerald, Dan Alldis, Tareeq Mustapha, Sam Lawrence, Ali Manoli, Junior Bushiri, Omar Karmali, Samir Aalit