Falcons hit nine against an understrength Titans team to record their best win in years.
The scoreline doesn’t reflect the general chaos building up the game, where a 17-man squad became 12 turning up in time for kick-off. This venue always seems to play havoc with travel plans.
Matt stepped back in between the posts for Conal while Ben and Cal returned at fullback. Percy replaced Brady in the middle and Chris came back in upfront for Olu.
It was quite clear from conversations with the opposition prior to kick-off that they were missing a few players through absence or suspension, and their hopes for a positive result were quite low. This was compounded in the first minute as we narrowly failed to score from open play and then a corner was converted by Duncan to make it 1-0.
One became two in similar fashion just a couple of minutes later when Chris leaped highest to head home from another corner, and Paddy tapped in a third on 15 minutes. The game’s only unsavoury note came from a series of horrendous challenges on Jimmy from behind which were in danger of causing him a serious injury. The referee refused to take any action on the player involved so it was to the credit of Titans that they substituted him, followed by an apology at half-time.
Fortunately, our ginger midfielder let his talent do the talking and it came on the back of another set piece, this time from a well-struck volley from an angle to make it 3-0.
Percy made it four with a super low strike from 25 yards before Chris struck twice to complete a first half hat-trick. While the first may have been a relatively simple tap-in, the hat-trick goal was a beauty, albeit with a stroke of luck after what appeared to be a push in the area. With the ball bouncing up in the air, the striker controlled the ball before thumping a dipping volley into the far corner to make it 6-0.
We were afforded one moment of concern at the back as Matt fell over in slow motion while attempting to clear the ball but, despite the comedic effect of it, he did manage to make surprisingly good contact. With the defence strong and the passing excellent across the team, half-time came at 6-0.
Obviously there wasn’t a huge amount to do at half-time other than to make a substitution. Jack had already made a welcome return just before the break, while Olu had finally navigated his way to the venue to give Abdul a break.
It took a little while to get going in the second half before Paddy opened the scoring. Olu’s flick-on released the midfielder and he reached out to poke the ball home for our seventh (thanks to Paddy for providing the description – it gets hard to write these things with so many goals!).
Chris wrapped up his scoring for the day with a nice team move which saw Olu play in Jimmy down the right and his low cross provided a simple tap-in to make it eight before another well-worked team move saw Olu go from creator to scorer and make it 9-0 on 70 minutes.
With further rotation of the substitutes, the game got through to full-time without any further additions.
While we won’t get carried away with a big win against an understrength side, it’s also important to celebrate the style of football played yesterday. There was excellent short passing across the defence and midfield while the movement of those in attacking positions caused problems for the Titans throughout.
After several games this season where we haven’t been as clinical as we could have been, it was good to get in a significant win, while a second clean-sheet was the mark of a job well-done by all.
Many thanks to the Titans for their hospitality afterwards – it’s amazing how many hotdogs Matt can eat – and we return to the same venue next Sunday to face Titans Two Brewers.
Squad: Matt, Cal, Ben, Duncan, Andrew, Jimmy, Percy, Paddy, Pete (Jack 35), Abdul (Olu 46), Chris
Scorers: Chris (5, 35, 40, 65), Duncan (2), Jimmy (15), Percy (25), Paddy (55), Olu (70)