London Falcons and Soho fought out a very tight contest on Wandsworth Common but it was the away team who came out on top as a 2-0 win took them to the top of the London Unity League.
With Conal returning in goal, manager Ritchie was afforded the luxury of naming an unchanged back four of Tian, Pete, Josh and Dean. Further forward, there was a bevy of debutants available. Eamon and Kaz started alongside Rueben, Kieran, James and Louis, while Cedric, Stefano, Liam and Dykey started on the bench. Unfortunately for the manager, a late dropout from the referee meant that he had to grab a whistle and handle the unenviable task of officiating the game – something no former Falcon has ever enjoyed!
Soho had the better of the first 20 minutes, regularly coming through the midfield and coming close from a corner. In a bid to tighten things up, Stefano came on for Kaz as Falcons added an extra man in midfield. Growing in confidence, Falcons started to edge into the game and a cross from Tian just failed to find his man at the far post. Sadly, Soho’s opening goal was beyond dubious and it was out linesman that let us down. Josh stepped up to play Rhys Chapman quite considerably offside but the infringement went unnoticed and the Soho striker scored to make it 1-0 despite the howls of protest from everyone’s favourite Northern Irish leftback/goalkeeper/chairman!
Pete delivered the half time team talk and mostly focused on the need to increase the physical intensity of the Falcons performance. Rueben made way for Liam who showed an immediate touch of quality and assurance in the middle. Falcons had by far the better of the opening 20 minutes of the second half, camping out in the Soho half but not quite being able to get a good shot on goal. Then, at the other end, Conal had a rare blemish as a shot from the edge of the area went under him and the scoreline became 2-0.
Further changes were made with Cedric and Dykey getting a runout but the scoreline remained the same through to the end. There was very little between the two sides and it was a shame that the controversial opening goal proved so handy as the game developed and Falcons had to risk more. That said, there was little to argue about with the outcome as the opposition defence held very firm throughout.
Despite the defeat, there were encouraging signs. The defence has shown a renewed stability in recent weeks and the number of new faces was particularly welcome.
Our next fixture is home to Stonewall III on February 21, just two weeks before the big GFSN Cup Semi Final away to Stonewall on March 5.
Man of the match: Josh