Falcons battled back from being 3-0 down after 20 minutes but couldn’t do enough to prevent a 5-4 defeat to last season’s league champions, London Romans.
With Louis and Chris unavailable, Francesco returned to the starting line-up alongside Alex, while Duncan started in midfield. Ritchie returned to defence.
It’s probably best not to go through the finer details of the first 20 minutes of the game. It was bad. Really, really bad. Sloppy play and a lack of concentration saw the away team pounce three times to go 3-0 up in a game where Falcons were dominating possession and territory.
A change to formation and personnel saw Paddy make his Falcons debut and he immediately improved things with a determined display in midfield. There was also a welcome return from injury for Olu. The first Falcons goal came on 30 minutes as Alex found Kieran charging into the box and he made no mistake, driving low into the corner of the goal to make it 3-1. The deficit was further reduced 5 minutes later when Paddy pounced on a goalkeeping spill for a debut goal and, when Alex struck in a shot from the edge of the area, Falcons had cancelled out the visitors’ lead in just over ten minutes.
Half time really came at the wrong time for us. Romans had started to panic and argue while Falcons were in the ascendancy. Unfortunately, we shot ourselves in the foot early in the second half when a Romans player was tripped in the box. Conal made an heroic attempt to keep the penalty shot out of the top corner but the visitors nudged themselves back in the lead again at 4-3.
The lead was doubled on 60 minutes. This time, there was no fortune or mistake that played a part. A dipping volley from the edge of the area gave Conal no chance and Romans were 5-3 up.
Further changes were forced on Falcons shortly after this point as Olu started to feel the effects of his return to action. On 75 minutes all sorts of confusion broke out and the scoreline was reduced to 5-4. Pete’s ball in from the left found Francesco and he collided with the goalkeeper, fell on the ball and poked it home while the home side were busy appealing for a penalty and the away side for a handball.
Falcons huffed and puffed for the remaining time and came close on a number of occasions but Romans held firm to seal the victory.
This was the end of our 100% league record and the opening 20 minutes showed what happens when a bit of complacency sets in and we’re not at our best straight away. We’ve had our warning and now have the chance to get back to winning ways with an away trip to Bexley next Sunday.
Squad: Conal, Ritchie (Olu, 20), Jack, Elliot, Kieran, Pete, John, Brady (Paddy, 20), Duncan, Alex, Francesco
Unused Sub: Andrew
Scorers: Kieran, Paddy, Alex, Francesco