The best performance this season, with a rare full-strength team.
The team pictured prior to the game in the new Adidas second shirts (previously worn against The Fort in our home game on 8th April).
Standing from left to right are Mark Muers, Gareth Stoker, David Simpson, Anthony Pearson, Kyle Robinson, Simon Mulvaney, Dave Graham, Davinder Sangha.
Sitting are Chris Dixon, Marc McDermont, Stephen Conlin, Dave Gourlay, David “Jimmy” Raeper, Neil Richardson and Paul McConville.
Things were looking good during the week. Dave Graham seemed certain to make his first appearance since 28th February, when we comprehensively defeated The Cambridge 3-1 away, with a similar strong looking squad. Jimmy and Pearson were also back from missing last weeks game. The game where we suffered a poor second half against CP Inn (despite ending up with three points). Our opponents, The Fort, were still flying high, with only our 2-2 draw being a blip in their run. Our ultra defensive performance back then, the day we stuck two fingers up at Greenwell and played with ten men to get a the draw, was now going to change into a more open performance.
The midfield trio of Dave Graham, Kyle Robinson and Dave Gourlay were missing back then. Also Stoker had come back from his ban and started. So there were five new players as Macca was also making a show at left back.
Like I said, we were confident, but this was shattered within a minute. The Fort attacker sidestepped Stoker and scored. However, we came back and eventually led 2-1. Titch Conlin squeezed in another wide angle shot which the ‘keeper misjudged (Pepe Reina style). Then Stoker powered in a superb header from a Nelly free-kick. The Fort scored again after poor defending, but then a cross from Dave Gourlay went straight in. But, you guessed it, The Fort equalised and at half time it was 3-3.
For the second, we tended to dominate. During the first and most of the second, some of our one-touch passing was a pleasure to watch. The best we’ve played without a doubt. Jimmy then nudged in a deflected cross (from Nelly) to make it 4-3. Then Stoker hurled himself at another ball to score a header from a corner. It was 5-3 now and the score ended at 6-4 in our favour with Macca getting the last goal. This was despite him crying that everyone was shouting at him again at half time. Nelly brought Dixon on for a haphazard Muers and Paul McConville came on for an angry Titch. Pearson was the only unused substitute.
A great performance. Difference was Dave Graham in the middle, who gave that added bite with Kyle improving on his pass rate to around 60% now. Gourlay was always the outlet, but Nelly tortured their left back and assisted in four goals. Jimmy and Titch were also having good games and I did point out that this was our strongest line up for a good while. The Fort probably thought we had the ringers in, but the team photo beforehand obviously proves that this is our desired squad. Defensively we were a bit poor. All the goals could have been prevented in my opinion, but it seemed that we were always one step ahead once we went 2-1 up. Stoker and Emu had a bitch fight in the second with both blaming each other, but they kissed and made up.
Things are looking up. Nelly’s still unbeaten since he took over.
League Division 1
The Fort 4
Titch Conlin, Dave Gourlay, Gareth Stoker (2), David Raeper, Marc McDermont
Sassco.co.uk: Dave Simpson, Mark Muers (Chris Dixon), Gareth Stoker, Simon Mulvaney, Marc McDermont, Dave Gourlay, Kyle Robinson, Neil Richardson*, Stephen Conlin (Paul McConville), Dave Graham, David Raepe