After last weeks confidence boosting win at home to Wolves and Perton, we travelled to Rowheath Pavillion to face off against the team that challenged us all the way last season in the fight for the Division 2 Title.
We were greeted by the fantastic news that there were now new changing facilities (last season when we last visited we had only a gazebo and beanbags). As we made it out onto the pitch it was obvious that our usual quick possession football across the floor was not going to be as easy to play with the pitch largely overgrown and causing the ball to hold up.
Having just read Rowley College’s report regarding the personnel available to them we had the exact opposite (with only 3 defenders to call upon) which meant starting with an unorthodox 3-4-3 formation.
This was notable as it took us a while to get settled and start playing our football. With just over 20 minutes gone we started to command the game and we got our rewards for our constant pressure we were putting on the Monyhull goal when Fidell was sent clear through down the left, who left the keeper rooted to the spot with an excellent low drive into the bottom right corner.
At this point we saw a different side to the Monyhull of last season who regrouped and began to play some decent football of their own. This made for a very entertaining game and with half hour gone we got our second when Fidell once again sent free down the left found Craig with a switched ball who made no mistake from just inside the 18 yard box doing well to keep his shot down, 2.0.
The rest of the half fizzled out with both teams playing majority of the game in the middle of the park. HT 2-0.
We started the second half where we had left off from the first and caught the Monyhull defence napping when Jack provided a perfectly weighted lofted pass to Pete who controlled it instantly, watching it over his shoulder, before chipping their keeper and the ball going in off the underside of the crossbar.
The game continued and we caught Monyhull with a sharp counter attack when their defence were playing a high line which Martin saw and played a defence splitting pass which sent both Fidell and Pete chasing the ball with only the keeper to beat, Pete left the ball to the better placed Fidell who dinked the ball past the on rushing keeper before finishing into the empty net. 4-0.
With substitutions made by both sides and tired legs starting to feel the pace of the game it looked as though Neil was going to let down on another correct score (this time predicting one too many goals rather than last weeks prediction of one less). Neil would be happy though when with around 5 minutes to go it was Fidell who completed his hat trick with his best of the game dropping a shoulder to beat his marker outside of the box and placed his shot into the corner which left the outstretched keeper no chance.
Full Time 5-0 and another important 3 points in our bid for survival in our first season in Division 1 and a very happy League Secretary has he gets a correct score prediction for his challenge, Sorry Ian!!