Strength in depth as Falcons defeat Yorkshire
It was a fixture which had the manager, captain and leading scorer missing but Falcons still scored a comfortable 5-2 win over Yorkshire to advance to the quarter finals of the GFSN Cup.
There were no fewer than five changes required from the previous week's league game. Jimmy, Will, George, Jim and Jeff were all absent, with Steffen, Matt, Sam, Kieran and Vuong taking their places.
In what was to set the tone for a bizarre refereeing performance, controversy started from the first minute as the opposition turned up late and the official refused to allow more than a five minute delay before starting the game when they still had two men getting changed by the side of the pitch. Falcons capitalised straight away as Stevie tore past the left back and cut the ball back for Steffen to make it 1-0.
Yorkshire played a very direct game but their main threat came from set pieces as they capitalised on their height advantage. A corner on ten minutes was met by a header at the far post, requiring Pete to head the ball off the line.
From there on in, things became far more comfortable. After Vuong hit the bar with a curling shot and Matt hit the post with a volley, Stevie made it 2-0 on 15 minutes with a deflected shot. Then, after a corner from the right caused havoc, the resulting corner from the left was met by Ed who scored his first of the season and finally gave Pete his first assist of the campaign.
At half time the message was to keep our discipline after a series of provocations from the opposition including late challenges on the goalkeeper and their striker fortunate to escape a red card when he picked up the ball and threw it at Charlie.
Sam was in the mood to make things more interesting as he interrupted an otherwise solid display by bringing down one of the Terriers strikers in the penalty area on 55 minutes. Fortunately, Conal did what Conal tends to do with spot kicks and comfortably saved the penalty.
With that wake-up call, Falcons made it 4-0 within a couple of minutes. Stevie caused confusion as he ran through the Yorkshire defence and, after rounding the goalkeeper, hit a firm left foot shot from a tight angle to beat the two men on the line.
The extended lead allowed for debuts to be given to Sergio and Mo from the bench as Matt and Vuong departed the pitch. Yorkshire got one back with a long-range shot but we saved our best goal for last as Stevie delivered a superb cross from the left wing with the outside of his right foot and Kieran arrived at the far post to smash in a cracking volley. The away team grabbed a further consolation as concentration failed in the Falcons defence late on but the final whistle went at 5-2.
This was a game which may well have been lost a year ago but our ability to rotate the team and still win very comfortably is a very good sign for the future. Although this was far from a classic football display, it was an incredibly solid defensive display against a good attack with everyone contributing across the pitch. Man of the match went to Stevie who was a constant menace to the Yorkshire defence.
Squad: Conal, Pete, Sam, Charlie, Kieran, Vuong (Sergio 65), Steffen, Ed, Myles, Stevie, Matt D (Mo 75)