GOALS: DAN DAWSON, DAN ALLDIS, ANDREAS BRYANT, JACK LAWRENCE
Scribe: Brodie Harrower
The Vamps 3rd team got stuck into the season off the back of a near flawless pre-season campaign winning all 4 and were keen to extend their unbeaten run into the new season. The pitch, like some of our players, wasn’t in fantastic nick. match fitness is never going to come around by the first game and we were aware the game could be a slog. The 3s lined up with the irrepressible sweeper keeper Igli who turned up straight out of Coppetts Wood - rumour has it he stays there to keep any eye on his goal even when we’ve gone home - then we had three at the back with two wing backs which is the go to formation for any manager lacking any ideas of their own - just go a la Guardiola and claim it for your own. We played a central midfield trio and 2 up top. The 3s started the game tentatively, we were slightly off the boil. We couldn’t string passes or sentences together. Lacking communication and carelessly giving the ball away, we were inviting pressure on.
The opposition midfield were proving elusive. They must have all been sent homework on Johann Cruyff because they were all at it including the centre backs. Eventually it would prove their undoing. The 3s back line weathered the storm and brought about some calm as we started to get a hold of the ball a bit more and go at them. The 3s wing backs started to pin their opposite men back. In particular Norsemen’s left back will be waking up in the night sweating like Jill Dando, trying to get her keys in the lock at the thought of Ryan Lyttle who was breezing past him at every opportunity. It was very tit-for-tat at this point, second balls escaping us and lacking that killer pass in the final third.
Eventually Benjamin Mendy reincarnate Dan Alldis robbed the opposition of the ball after doing the hard graft and drew a foul in the box. Daniel Dawson stepped up and Ladbrokes closed their next goal scorer market. He cooly dispatched it. There was still work to be done. The opposition were no mugs and we tried to stamp some authority in midfield. We needed to get a bit tougher particularly in the challenges if we wanted to win this game. We started to calm down and press from the front, Alldis again on the left put the pressure on Norsemen and managed to get them to cough up possession and managed to stick away goal number two under pressure from the oncoming keeper.
The 2-0 score line wasn’t totally deserved as we kept inviting pressure on from the opposing side. Then an innocuous looking through ball was chased down by Andreas Bryant who beat the offside trap and the onrushing keeper got outside his box and did his best brick wall impression. Andreas sidestepped him and drew the foul leaving the ref with no choice but to issue the red meaning it was curtains for the opposition keeper. In-house fighting and bickering on the other side was encouraging as we had the belief that this should now be a relatively easy task to take all three points. The fouls kept coming and eventually they gave one away in a relatively dangerous area. Wearing the number 7 was about the only resemblance Dan Hodges had to David Beckham on this day - or was it? Dan had been spotted secretly practising free kicks in an East Barnet park on his tod and something must have worked. He struck the ball sweetly and it looked too high until it dipped and cannoned off the underside off the crossbar, Tony Yeboah style. If we could raise some extra money this season we could try and get VAR installed as the ball clearly crossed the line. But the ref, probably as an act of sympathy, awarded no goal.
We made it to half time 2-0 up but there was an element of sheepishness in our squad. We’d got there by the seat of our pants and with some good fortune. We elected to keep plugging away making sure we put the challenges in. Ryan Lyttle and Dan Hodges made way at half time for Joe, a Newcastle native who heard about our famous club and jumped straight on the Megabus at the prospect of playing for such a side. Reece Horn-Hayes was on the wing in place of Ryan. Reece was doing so many pirouettes warming up while eating the remaining Haribo there was fears he might chuck up. We got stuck into them in the second half having an extra man affording us a lot more space and time especially in midfield, but we were guilty of flooding forward at times leaving us short on the break. We wanted to go for the jugular though and the flood paid off some ricocheting in the box left Andreas with a tap in header.
Dan Dawson asked the ref how long and after weighing up how much damage Brodie could do in half an hour 3-0 up against 10 men he brought him on the Fraggle. We were keeping it tight and kept the ball a lot better the back three were shutting everything down particularly jack Lawrence who seemed to win everything. Reece was terrorising the fullbacks the norsemen left back must have been having deja vu as we kept attacking. The other team’s frustration was growing and decisions were going against us. Fouls and simulation were threatening to ruin the integrity of the game. But we kept the press on and like we had Jurgen Klopp screaming at us on the touchline we put the beleaguered Norsemen to the stone. Another flood following good work down the wing from the ginger Arjen Robben, the ball fell at the feet of the newly arrived Geordie Joe. There was no fog on the Tyne. He buried it, making it 4-0. The 3s finished with a clean sheet winning 4-0. The perfect start to the season meaning we’ve kept four clean sheets in five including pre-season an impressive record well look to take into next weeks cup game against Tollington.