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Falcons share spoils in season opener

London Falcons kicked off their inaugural campaign in the Wimbledon and District League One with a hard-earned 1-1 draw against Wimbledon Saints.

Falcons XI: Alex; Danny, Charlie, Jeff, Matt D; Jim P, Baptiste, George (c); Rob N, Stevie, Myles

Subs: Jimmy, David, Kieran

The 2020-21 season started in glorious conditions with some familiar trappings despite the changes imposed on football by Coronavirus. There was something reassuring about Kieran arriving in children’s clothes that would have a colour blind magpie reaching for its sunglasses and Jimmy, as has been the case in recent seasons, deciding that the pressure of the first game was all a bit much for him leaving Matt & George to take the reins for the day.

Stevie instantly set out his stall with a long range shot sending the keeper scrambling for position before eventually going just over. Saints then found another gear and started to move the ball around quickly with a break down the Falcons’ right side resulting in a fine cross that evaded the defence before being steered by a header into the bottom corner of Falcon’s goal out of reach of debutant, Alex’s dive.

Saints continued to grow in confidence, with another rapid passing move picking out a striker on the penalty spot who must have been astounded to see Alex get down excellently to his right and push the ball out of harm’s way. This was soon followed by a break down the Falcons’ left flank which saw Jim Pomeroy picking up the first yellow of the season for a scything tackle that the referee adjudged to come from behind.

Falcons began to force their way back into the game however with Baptiste dropping out right to link up well with Rob and Saints’ centre halves struggling to contain with Stevie’s movement. As half time approached the latter found Baptiste moving down the right and he drove into the box, forcing his way past a firm tackle before driving it in past the keeper to restore parity.

Matt sent out a 4-4-2 for the second half with Kieran coming on for Myles, Rob moving up front to support Steve and Baptiste carrying the threat on the right. The new formation and improved focus saw instant improvements with another long range effort from Steve drawing a desparate save from Saints keeper and Falcons hitting the post with another promising move.

David then came on for an industrious Rob with Baptiste moving to support Steve. Falcons continued to dominate and when an injury to George brought Myles back into the fray he started a number of promising breaks but Falcons were still unable to land a killer blow, due in part to having to stay vigilant against the threat saints continued to pose.

Alex had little to do but as the game wore in Saints broke through a on a couple of occasions and a deflected cross forced him into another fine piece of keeping with another looping on top of the bar. Jimmy gained a cameo giving a rest to the excellent Danny W. The surprising amount of injury time saw both sides push for a winner with a Charlie Hathaway overhead kick drawing gasps from the touchline but in the end the referee called time and the spoils were shared.

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