Close but not quite enough
Falcons battered the Kew Antigua goal in the final stages of the match but couldn't quite find an equaliser.
It was a day in which proper football weather returned after months of sunshine. Braving the constant rain in Surbiton were three more league debutants, including Ed and Sam L (who had joined over the summer) and Toby (who had joined about a week earlier). With a need to stop shipping in so many goals, the defence got some additional cover and we welcomed back Ben and Kieran down the wings. Captain Jimmy also returned alongside Simon and Steffen in midfield with Will partnered by Toby up front.
The opening stages saw Falcons apply the pressure and we were the better team up until a long throw-in on a tiny pitch saw an opposition midfielder bullet a header in at the near post.
However, we weren't behind for long as a through ball caught out the goalkeeper and Toby had the simplest of finishes to score on his debut. From there, Falcons had a strong spell before Antigua came right back into the game, applying pressure and clipping the outside of the post.
At half-time there was recognition that this was a much-improved performance from the previous week where we found ourselves out of the game by the break. George came on for Steffen in order to rotate the midfield.
Kew started the stronger team in the second half, enjoying success down the wings with their substitutes. Eventually, they got the better of us when good work down their right saw a ball make it all the way to the far post and a good low finish made it 2-1 to the hosts.
As the game continued, we rearranged our shape to give more protection down the flanks and this also had the effect of giving us more success offensively. A barrage of crosses and throw-ins went into the Kew area in the past 15 minutes and it took a stunning reflex save from the goalkeeper to deny us an equaliser. Sadly, we ran out of time and end up on the losing team.
Despite the defeat, there was a lot of positivity post-match as we made our way to a local pub to enjoy a dubious stream of the Liverpool/Southampton game (enjoyment confined to everyone except Ben and George). This was a much stronger performance from Falcons and one where we could be proud of our workrate even if the result wasn't quite what we wanted. We said last week that it would take time to adapt to the league but it's great to see signs of improvement early on.
Squad: Conal, Ed, Pete, Sam L, Kieran, Ben, Steffen (George 45), Jimmy, Simon, Toby, Will (Abdul 85)
Scorer: Toby (25)