SAL Junior Division 1 North
Scribe: Dan Dawson
The Vampires 3rd XI lined up at home to play Finchleians on Saturday off the back of a 7-0 win and impressive winning streak of six games inclusive of those played in pre-season. We were missing quite a few players, but this wasn’t an immediate cause for concern as we have displayed already the quality in the depth of our squad.
We were treated to the rarity of playing on the 1s pitch which we hoped would help us play our expansive game which was working so well for us already sticking to the same 5-3-2 formation as before. We started well putting the pressure on we immediately won a free kick about 35 yards out. Dan Hodges must have pondered an effort on goal but maybe deemed it too soon. It didn’t matter, the delivery was Royal Mail first class: Drew Dawson would have had more trouble missing the target and he buried it to make it 1-0.
We harassed them off the ball from the kick off again rob held up the ball nicely and played in Reece Horn-Haynes who was clearly onside to the dismay of the opposition making it 2-0. A rout was on the cards we had the wind in our sails now and the opposition were looking nonplussed. The rain continued to come down and the ball was moving quickly.
The Vamps were keeping possession well getting it wide when necessary. The opposition got into the game a little bit and had a couple of attempts mostly coming from deep with free kicks we had stupidly given away. They got a corner from one and sweeper keeper was forced to use his hands for once much to everyone’s surprise and it was some save tipping it onto the bar it came back into play and was brilliantly denied twice once by Dan Alldis on the line. Alldis went from defender to attacker again as went went up the other end and he scored with a header.
3-0 up you know what time it is: Brodie Harrower started warming up. Sam Lawrence gave way at about 35 minutes as he was blowing - this isn’t the Premier League after all. The boys at the back were doing fantastically well containing them, playing out from the back at will and the midfield trio providing a decent gel between attack and defence. The wingers were causing untold problems for Finchleians, Rob Handleigh was holding up the ball well drawing defenders and sending it wide for Reece and Ryan Lyttle to attack. We gained another corner and Daniel Dawson bundled it home making it 4-0 at half time.
The opposition looked totally dejected. We weren’t idiots and didn’t want to lose our clean sheet. We were playing good football keeping it solid at the back. We didn’t want this game finishing 4-2. It was now hammering it down - it was wetter than Whitney Houston’s last spliff. We came out for the second half with fire in our bellies. We got flying into tackles and stamped our authority on Finchleans. We were still playing well but maybe getting slightly excited as everyone was bombing forward trying to get a slice of the action sometimes leaving us short at the back, Daniel Phillips and Drew Dawson having to shut up shop with last ditch tackles on more than one occasion.
Alldis pulled up with an injury and made had to come off for the local derby - Stuart Hart. We then went 5-0 up courtesy of Reece again following more scintillating attacking play. The opposition got a corner a few minutes later from nothing and Reece thought scoring made him exempt from defending/jumping/doing anything in his own box and the ball came in straight over his head and they had scored.
Our clean sheet had gone and we needed to stay focused. Drew Dawson was now regularly getting rushes of blood to the head channelling his inner Cafu bombing up the pitch he had a 30-yarder tipped round the post and then played a lovely 1-2 before the ball eventually found its way to ginger Arjen Robben who dispatched it for his hatrick. The game finished 6-1 but could very easily have been more. We go into next weeks game full of confidence that on our day we can do a job against anyone. 🧛♂
TEAM: Igli Gjata, Andrew Dawson ⚽, Dan Alldis ⚽, Daniel Phillips, Ryan Lyttle, Reece Horn-Haynes ⚽⚽⚽, Daniel Dawson ⚽, Daniel Hodges, Sam Lawrence, Brodie Harrower, Rob Handleigh