Falcons delivered their most complete performance of the season to defeat London Koreans 4-0 in Raynes Park.
With striker Toby away and defenders Matt and Ed sick there were a couple of changes required from last week's cup match. Pete came back into the defence while Lee got a chance to start up front as George returned on the bench alongside Frank. Keeping with last week's formation, the plan was to prevent the threat that the opposition posed down the wings in our encounter back in November while using pace and movement to cause problems of our own.
Our passing in the first ten minutes was very ordinary and allowed the Koreans to dominate possession, albeit without creating any chances. However, we quickly settled down and took the lead from a set piece as Kieran's corner found Jimmy. His effort was parried by the goalkeeper but straight to Will who headed home from close range.
The movement of Will, Rob and Lee was causing all sorts of problems for the home team and it was a good passing move which allowed Will to return the favour to the Falcons captain on 20 minutes, setting up Jimmy to make it 2-0.
Frank came on to replace the injured Rob on the half hour mark and he caused further problems with his pace and power. After a couple of final balls didn't quite result in a goal, he delivered a fine throughball to Lee who went through one-on-one with the goalkeeper. His first effort was saved but the ball kindly rebounded straight to his head and the Aussie nodded home to score his first Falcons goal and extend the lead to 3-0.
The tackling and pressure across the pitch was such that the opposition could only muster a couple of long range efforts that were well wide of the goal during the first half, although Conal was called into action once and took one in the nuts for his troubles. However, the half finished with another goal as Lee won a penalty after being taken out by the goalkeeper as he chased down a stray backpass. Will stepped up and sent the goalkeeper the wrong way to make it 4-0 and wrap up a dominant half for Falcons.
The key objective for the second half was to avoid a repeat of two weeks prior when we lost the plot in the second 45 minutes and turned a 2-0 lead into a 4-2 defeat. Here, our football wasn't great with too many rushed passes and a lack of patience in attack but the positive was clear with not a single effort allowed on the Falcons goal. Credit must go to Chris and Sam for strong marking jobs at the back, Kieran and Ben for their aggressive tackling which saw them dominate the Korean wingers, and to Stef and Jimmy who worked their socks off in the middle. George replaced Lee with 15 minutes to go as we sought to see out the game with a little more cover in midfield.
This was a highly satisfactory performance which saw us keep our fourth clean sheet in six games and also deliver some quality attacking football. Although the second half wasn't great offensively, we demonstrated a strong determination to keep the Koreans at bay and secure a very comfortable win. The victory pretty much confirms a minimum league finish of fifth and we now look ahead to some tough games against the top four in our final five games of the season, Next week we have our first group game in the cup as we travel to South London Football Network Reserves.
Squad: Conal, Pete, Sam, Chris, Kieran, Ben, Rob (Frank 25), Jimmy, Steffen, Lee (George 75), Rob, Will
Scorers: Will (10, 46), Jimmy (20), (Lee 35)