Falcons continued their pre-season preparation with an encouraging 4-1 victory over East End Phoenix on Sunday.
Arriving at Hackney Marshes was a group of guys who barely knew each other three months ago so getting some time in on a full-size pitch was an absolute necessity ahead of the new season.
Falcons started well and almost had the lead inside two minutes via the opposition as a miscued clearance spun agonisingly wide of the post. The one-touch passing and movement was really good for the first 15 minutes and, with Falcons dominating the territory and chances, Phoenix would probably admit that their goal to take the lead came against the run of play. A good crossfield ball from the right caught everyone out and, with Kieran bundled off the ball, a calm finish went past Reinaldo in goal to give the hosts the lead.
Fortunately, Falcons responded in the best possible fashion by scoring four goals before the half was out. Ollie got things going, heading in Olu's pinpoint cross from the left with a powerful header on 23 minutes. Dave wasn't far behind him, cutting inside from the right and hitting a peach of a shot with the outside of his right foot just minutes later to make it 2-1.
With the boss able to rotate the team on a hot day, Falcons kept up the pressure and another cross from the left was flicked on by Louis, allowing Pete to volley in at the far post for the third goal. Duncan had seen a header saved from a corner on 40 minutes but he made no mistake two minutes later, converting an inswinging corner with a towering leap to make it 4-1.
Perhaps inevitably, the energy level faded in the second half and, as the opposition put more bodies behind the ball, Falcons failed to add to their total. Ollie saw a free kick dip just too late to deny him what would have been a spectacular strike, while Dave had most of the pitch roaring with laughter when he blasted over the bar from short range when scoring was probably easier.
The final score was 4-1 and Phoenix offered their congratulations on a day when the hosts struggled for numbers and did have a couple of their regular players missing.
It would be misleading to just talk about goalscorers as this was a performance in which all 14 players contributed a lot. The desire to pass and move at all times was delightful to watch, while the energy, battling and creativity throughout midfield and attack showed a lot of encouraging signs for the new season.
Falcons will have much tougher days in 2016/17 but it was certainly good to get the preparations off to a good start.
Venue: Hackney Marshes
Score: Phoenix 1-4 Falcons
Scorers: Ollie, Dave, Duncan, Pete
Team: Reinaldo, Duncan, Ritchie, Tom J, Tom B, Kieran, John, Ollie, Callum, Louis, Dave
Subs: Olu, Francesco, Pete