Falcons kicked off the new season with a 5-3 win over Romans Manor House on Wandsworth Common.
A number of players from August’s friendly win over Phoenix were missing as John picked up an injury in the previous weekend’s Leicester tournament while Dave and Chris G were away. Kieran was also absent. He was busy at Gay Dancing.
With Conal away on holiday, Reinaldo kept his place in goal while Brady was rewarded for his performances in training by receiving the captain’s armband. Elliot made his Falcons debut in defence alongside Jack and Tom J while Pete came in for Kieran in midfield. Up front, Francesco replaced Dave while Ritchie was joined on the bench by two newcomers who had impressed at training – Alex and Chris J.
Manor House have developed a reputation for being a very tight unit that do not concede many goals and they gave Falcons an early scare when Jack could have been penalised for a trip in the area. However, Falcons began to play their stuff with the midfield looking very comfortable on the ball while Louis and Francesco’s movement up front started to cause the opposition some concerns. Elliot had already proved to be a force at set pieces before Pete’s freekick was glanced on and the boy from Leeds, Leeds, Leeds threw himself in for a brave header that gave Falcons the lead and also resulted in the Romans goalkeeper taking a bit of a battering.
On a hot day, the boss started to rotate the team on 25 minutes as Chris and Alex came on. He also managed to substitute himself off and leave the team with 10 men on the pitch for a short while. What a tool. Fortunately, Alex wasted no time to get into the game and his shot from the edge of the area went through the goalkeeper to make it 2-0.
2-0 is a dangerous scoreline, right? In our case it was as the team, comfortable for large periods of the half, switched off at a corner and an almighty goalmouth scramble ensued and Romans halved the deficit before half time.
There weren’t many words required at half time as the team had, for the most part, played well. Fortunately they found an extra gear as the second half began as Chris and Alex began to find their rhythm in midfield alongside both Olu and Brady. The third Falcons goal followed on 55 minutes. Francesco would like you to believe that he hit an amazing shot with the outside of his right foot into the far corner. He would also be smelling smoke from his pants being on fire. There was a degree of good fortune about his cross going over the goalkeeper’s head but it was a deserved goal for a very hard-working performance from the Italian.
Three became four as Olu’s persistence paid off and his cutback found Chris in the perfect position to make it 4-1. It’s fair to say that the last ten minutes featured some calamitous defending – probably with tiredness taking its toll. Fortunately, the two late Romans goals were sandwiched by Elliot’s second goal. This time Louis’ flick dropped to the feet of the defender and he made no mistake to finish the scoring at 5-3.
This was a mostly solid performance with impressive displays from everyone on the pitch. There’s a few things to work on as the team gets used to playing with some new faces and in a new formation. However, the strength in depth was particularly satisfying and there are some real selection dilemmas going into next week’s away trip to Soho FC.
Post-match, the team had the opportunity to watch Jack shout at the TV very loudly as he cheered on Chelsea. This was then followed by a trip to The Two Brewers which featured some of Ritchie’s most disturbing dancing to date… Maybe Kieran could give him some tips?
Well done boys!
Squad: Reinaldo, Tom J, Jack, Elliot, Pete, Tom B, Olu, Brady, Callum, Louis, Francesco
Subs: Alex, Chris J, Ritchie
Scorers: Elliot (2), Alex, Francesco, Chris