Four super goals saw Falcons defeat Stonewall 4-2 in Barnes.
The previous week's draw against Romans saw our ranks depleted further as Jack, Will and Ed were the latest to be added to the long list of injuries this season. Chris was also away, bravely making the trip to Wembley to watch Arsenal get humiliated by Man City. The injury curse also appears to have extended to our referee, with Andy dropping out late on Saturday. With no joy finding a replacement, Matt kindly agreed to take on the duties, armed with Sports Direct's premier whistle and card package.
Fortunately, we did have some brighter news as Percy and Paddy returned for the first time in nearly three months and Kieran came back in on the wing. We also saw the return of Conal in goal, who we were delighted to see, particularly after hearing the news that his grandmother had passed away only hours earlier that day.
With Stonewall setting up with a very deep five man defence, most of the Falcons work came through attacking down the wings. After an initial period where a few mistakes almost let the opposition in, we quickly settled but had to way until 20 minutes for the first goal. Pete's deep free kick from the left found the head of Duncan and his looping header beat the goalkeeper and finally got the centre-back a headed goal after being denied so many times recently.
1-0 became 2-0 on the half hour mark. Here, some strong work from Kieran and Brady on the right found Paddy on the corner of the area and his perfectly-weighted cross was volleyed into the net by Pete.
At the other end, things were kept relatively comfortable thanks to another strong defensive display by Alex and Duncan, while Percy, Jimmy, Cal and Brady were also ensuring that Conal's first half was a quiet one. We had a few shots from distance as half-time approached but the score remained 2-0
The second half almost got off to a flying start as Kieran was released down the right and he hit a stunning drive from 18 yards which hit the bar and went over.
Stonewall edged into the match slightly and halved the deficit with a terrific goal on the hour mark, substitute Matt Lee banging in a 20 yarder from the left.
Fortunately, we had our three goal lead restored quickly. This time it was a corner from the right delivered into a large gap and, with Falcons players queuing up to connect, it was Jimmy with a bullet header to made it 3-1.
There was still time to make life hard for ourselves as a rare switch-off in defence allowed Matt to reduce the scoreline gap to 3-2. However, the game finished with another superb goal. Olu, who looked like he wasn't going to score after missing a few chances in the second half, was released by Paddy, and he chipped the ball beautifully over the oncoming goalkeeper to seal the game and score his first league goal of the season.
This was a solid performance by the team and it was great to see some good football being played, particularly across the back and out into the wings. It was also nice to see a variety of goals scored at one end, with strong defensive work at the other. Sadly, with three-quarters of the squad either injured or away next weekend, we've had to pull out of our trip to Romans so our next fixture will be in two weeks at home to Titans.
A word too for those who commit to doing the less glamorous things for a club to make sure games go ahead. Firstly to Owen who was an unused substitute and ran the line for 90 minutes. Secondly to Matt for refereeing and, despite a lot of criticism throughout the first half from the opposition, he was asked to continue for the second half, rather than one of their players sharing the duties. Amateur football teams require everyone to pitch in and help out to make sure they run successfully, and your contributions are noted.
Squad: Conal, Brady, Duncan, Alex, Cal, Jimmy, Percy, Paddy, Pete, Kieran, Olu
Scorers: Duncan (20), Pete (30), Jimmy (70), Olu (90)