Credit first to Connect who continue to compete despite going through a very difficult time (their longevity under their various names dwarfs our 25 years)! They emerged today with a decidedly youthful new look as that wmcfl legend and all round good bloke Willis Mullin and his veteran skipper Robbie Hunter begin the job of building a new team. They certainly gave us a game today, the score line is a reflection of our coherence and attitude rather than their weakness.
Much of the damage was done in a first half that had started out competitive but which we ‘won’ by playing the better football and having a finisher in the best of form. Ben Smith, our man-of-the-match and the veteran player-manager were working hard and making things happen and a series of good sharp passes sent in Fowler for a smart finish. Connect almost immediately had a clear cut chance as a scramble in the box fell to their forward: thankfully Lee made an instinctive save, turning a rasping drive onto the bar. Then another passing move ended with Barber providing a perfect cross that Ben Fowler only had to point his head at. Before Connect could recover it was three as Fowler helped himself to a second hat-trick in successive games. This time it was outpacing defenders, taking it slightly widely around the keeper and then as the goal narrowed as three defenders got back with his ‘wrong’ foot confidently drove home. Ben also hit the inside of the post and Matty Williams headed wide from close range. Half Time 3-0.
The second half was much more even and their 8 in midfield continued a man-of-the-match performance. We managed to use our five subs without in any way weakening the team, which speaks of a decent squad. Nathan Hylton added another 25 minutes to his recovery and Christie made a tidy return. Sadly we lost Sammy to injury. I was pleased that we continued the hard work needed to keep- a clean sheet. It was a bonus when clever interplay between Christie and Clive set up Ben Smith for a well-deserved shaped drive beyond the keeper. Southall had the chance to make it five late on but was unable to trouble the keeper. All the best to Willis and connect and many thanks to the officials today!