Living Hope Church FC v Saint Michael
Jason Marshall writes
On a cold and rainy morning LHC arrived at Churchfields to welcome newcomers to the league Saint Michael for the first ever encounter between the two sides. Carl’s managerial team talk before kick-off obviously hit home as after failing to come out the blocks last Saturday and being 3-0 down at half time we took the game to today’s opposition straight from the off.
Carl had taken the hardest decision of them all and started with the same setup that finished last week’s game in our thrilling comeback even though it meant our two top goal scorers were only given a place on the bench. This decision paid off as we raced into the lead within the first 5 minutes Craig smartly bought the ball down before being clattered by a Saint Michael centre half for which the assistant referee and referee immediately gave a penalty. Robbie stepped up from the back to dispatch it calmly. No more than 10 minutes later and there was a case of déjà vu as once again Craig fell victim to the same centre half, up stepped Robbie once again to score his 4th goal in 2 games.
Our pressure and intent right from the first whistle had certainly paid off as we closed down Saint Michael giving them no time on the ball and after Jack won a well-timed challenge in the middle of the park, he released Gregg down the right who swung in a dangerous cross which fell to Craig at the back post for him to slot home his first goal for LHC. Craig then went on to score again this time Nick played a through-ball that put him through 1-on-1 with the keeper and he made no mistake.
At this point in the game I was worried that we might take our foot off the pedal and settle for what we had given the fact we were 4-0 up with only 30 minutes gone. This was not to be the case as Martin then picked up the ball in his own half and glided down the left flank jinking his way past at least 5 Saint Michael players before running into the box only to shoot straight at the keeper who unfortunately for him couldn’t keep hold of the shot but after Martin’s run we couldn’t begrudge him his first goal for LHC.
As the first half crept to its close we managed to extend our lead as Webby (once again playing left back but popping up in the right wing position) floated a cross into the box which Nick rose to meet with his head and find the bottom corner of the net. Nick then turned provider again as he played a ball to Gregg who had cut inside from the right to score our 7th of the game. Half time 7-0.
Carl used the break to congratulate the team on their first half performance and also to make two half time substitutions in order to give some of the lads who have played 90 minutes week in week out a much needed and extremely deserved rest.
The second half saw us come out in the same manner as the first albeit a slight bit of tinkering with positioning to incorporate the half time subs. This wasn’t to slow us down though as 5 minutes after the restart Craig completed his hat trick after a flowing passing move between Nick, Cal, Ben and Pete. Saint Michael had also obviously come out fired up for the second half as they saw more of the ball and attacked with more intent. Goalkeeper Carl was nearly caught off his line by an ambitious 30 yard strike from their number 9 which cannoned off the cross bar resulting in Carl having to then readjust and collect it before their big number 11 got on the end of the rebound. With 20 minutes left we made our third and final change with super sub Luke coming on in place of Craig who had earned a much needed rest. This proved to be an inspired change as Luke went on to win the ball before cutting it back to Ben who unselfishly set up Cal to shoot 9-0. The scoring was then completed by Pete, who after being fed by Mart on the left, skipped by 3 defenders before beating the keeper at his near post.
The score line may reflect a one sided game but Saint Michael are a very well organised and good footballing side who were certainly better than the big score line suggests.
I would like to quickly add a mention to our captain and man of the match Matty who put in a shift of the highest order and it is not always recognised or acknowledged but the defending side of the game is just as important as scoring goals.