Guest match report by Luis Silva:
On a day when conditions were testing, AFC Romans refused to wilt in the sun. The ref announced before kick off that due to the heat, the match would be divided into three 30 minute thirds. That combined with the 4 men on the bench allowed us to feel comfortable with a fast start.
Right from the off the Romans were on the front foot and created a number of early chances. Most notably Steve found himself in space as a corner was swung in but he was unable to keep his shot down with the ball bobbling in the box. Not as bad a miss as Steve thinks it was.
We didn't have to wait long before the deadlock was broken. The Romans midfielders were dragging their opposite numbers all over the place and following a neat passing move, Will slid the ball into me in the box and I calmly slotted past the keeper.
We continued to press. Matt and Lee were finding all sorts of space out wide, and after running into the box, the latter neatly side footed past the goalie to double the advantage.
Now in control of the contest, I found myself clean through from a great slide rule pass. Not sure who by. I should've scored but could only drill my finish onto the post.
Shortly after, the ref brought the first third to an end. Woodingdean only had a bare 11 and understandably were concerned with playing the full 90. To ensure the match wasn't forfeited, we offered to lend them a couple of players. Matt and Fred nobly stepped up. Fair play, lads. Great show of sportsmanship. Same goes to Tom, Ali and Steve who also later did a stint in Woodingdean colours.
At this stage Perry made a couple of changes. Johnny came on for his debut and very soon had his first goal from a neat finish. Shortly after, he thought he'd double his tally but the goal was chalked off for offside by Will (on the line) no less. This led to a comic situation where, having been told to replace Will as lino, I ran across the pitch believing the goal had been given but instead found myself interrupting play from the resulting free kick. Whoops!
Johnny soon after had another chance for his second, putting into an open goal after Lee's shot had been saved. Urdon then made it 5-0 ahead of the second break when the keeper could only parry his stinging strike into the net. So far a very satisfying performance. New keeper Harry had little to do throughout but looked alert when called into action. He made an excellent save just before the end of the second break.
We kept the pace up as the final 30 began. However, as we tired we lost some shape and a better opposition may have exploited this. Having said this all the centre backs, Ryan, Steve, Fred and Craig, kept their front line quiet. The full backs were also tireless throughout. Rob in particular was excellent and full of running.
Johnny completed his hat-trick, his deflected strike from the centre of the box going in off the post. The scoring was completed very late on by Josh with the pick of the goals. He fired a vicious volley from the edge of the area off of Rich's smart cushioned header.
The ref then brought proceedings to an end. It was a cracking way to end our pre season preparations. Roll on next Sunday. Up the Romans.
Man of the Match has to be Johnny. Debuts don't get much better than scoring a Hattrick. Special mention to Rob who seemed not to tire at all.