Winning the hard way!
Falcons overcame an abject first half performance to bounce back from 3-1 down to defeat London Titans Two Brewers 5-3 on Sunday.
Francesco and Louis were away at a wedding and Topman, respectively, which allowed Olu to fill the vacant strikers position. Elliot returned from suspension and started on the bench. There was also a debut for the new Falcons jackets, modelled by Kieran (below). Very smart!
The teamtalk pre-match was brief: Keep up the attacking play from previous weeks and try not to concede as many stupid goals. Oh boy.
Titans started as the better team, happy to soak up the passing in front of their defence and counter with balls over the top. Typically, we screwed up by the ten minute mark when a long kick from the goalkeeper wasn’t dealt with and, in the confusion, the Titans striker finished calmly to make it 1-0.
There was a similar theme up until the 25 minute mark when Alex dribbled past three defenders into the box and forced a handball to win a penalty. Pete stepped up and sent the goalkeeper the wrong way to bring the scores level.
A nice platform from which to find our form and press on? No such luck! Titans went straight up the other end, saw their attacking midfielder tripped in the box and Terry sent Conal the wrong way to restore their advantage just two minutes later.
Falcons did have some good opportunities with Pete heading over from Olu’s corner and Tom twice going close at the far post but there was a very close call at the other end as another long ball evaded everyone and Alex made a stunning last-ditch clearance to prevent Ollie from scoring.
Typically, the half ended with another goal conceded. With everyone switching off from a Titans corner, Terry sent in a cross/shot and Conal, who had minutes earlier been hit in the head by a nasty late challenge, couldn’t keep the ball out. 3-1 at half time.
There were a couple of changes made during the break as Elliot came on for Tom J and Pete was replaced by Kieran. Needless to say there were a few choice words not just about the lack of aerial presence but about the lacklustre performance in general!
Falcons started better in the second half but it wasn’t until a change in formation on the hour mark that things started to click. Dave came on for Alex in a bid to add more width to the Falcons game. This allowed John to come into midfield and the two combined twice to turn the game around.
On 65 minutes John fed Dave down the right channel. From the corner of the box, Dave sent in a shot that looked to have very little pace on it but somehow squirmed into the far post to halve the deficit to 3-2. Then, five minutes later, John got to the by-line, pulled the ball back and, after seeing his first effort parried, Dave followed up to get Falcons back on level terms at 3-3.
In a bid to keep things entertaining, Kieran made a foul on the edge of the area but fortunately the resulting free kick went well wide. Then, on 80 minutes, Olu’s persistence and hard work finally paid off, pouncing on a spill from the goalkeeper to put Falcons into the lead for the first time. The striker then allowed us to wrap up the game when he was fouled from behind in the area just five minutes later. Alex, back on the pitch for Juddy, calmly finished and wrapped up the game at 5-3.
There was a spot of bad news in the last minute as a (fair) challenge on Olu caused a recurrence of his ankle injury and looks set to keep him out of action for a couple of weeks. However, the team could breathe a sigh of relief after coming back from such a dreadful first half to dominate the second period.
Post-match, the team settled down to watch Brady shout at the TV for 92 minutes (until Laurent Koscielny scored) and Kieran attracted the local weirdo at Barnes Station who will apparently be joining us for football, food or to cut the grass.
We now take a month off from LUL duties as we attend the Soho and Titans tournaments before hosting Birmingham Blaze in the GFSN Cup. It may not have been convincing, looked pretty awful at times and may have caused the manager a few grey hairs in the process but it was certainly a great comeback from the boys to win this game and shows the benefit of the emphasis on fitness in training sessions since the summer. They retain their 100% record and sit on top of the table with four wins from four. Well done. Sort of!
Team: Conal, Duncan, Tom J, John, Tom B, Pete, Brady, Chris G, Alex, Chris J, Olu
Subs: Elliot (46), Kieran (46), Dave (60), Ritchie (85)
Scorers: Pete (25), Dave (65, 70), Olu (80), Alex (85)