Boldmere played their second game in two days when they took on Premier United under the floodlights at a chilly yet resplendent Church Road. Boldmere knew that a win by more than three clear goals would see the 'Bulldogs' sitting top of the league for the Christmas.
Paul Davis failed a last minute fitness test which meant the returning John Haycock came into the side in the middle of defence. Rhys Coombes dropped to the bench with Aaron Humphries (pictured below) exchanging places with him in attack. Tom Shakespeare, Olly Nicholson and Gregg Nattress made up a strong five man substitutes bench.
Once again Boldmere started strongly, Premier United had very little answer to some of the 'Bulldogs' early interchange play with Richard McCausland very instrumental in the early exchanges. Some lovely football was on display from all over the park. Aaron Humphries clipped the post in one great move but it was felt that the first goal was not far away..... In the 18th minute Premier conceded a foul on the edge of the box around 22 yards out. Richard McCausland (not for the first time this season) sent a brilliant free kick crashing against the bar, however, this time the ball fell to Paul Brady to take a touch and fire an excellent finish into the top corner of the net. In the 19th minute Michael dossett had a recurrance of a hamstring problem and was replaced with Tom Shakespeare. This meant the influential Chris Dawber dropping into the back line and Shakespeare dropping into midfield. Boldmere continued to play some great one touch football, creating space and opportunities regularly. The partnership of Hannon and Humphries was pulling the Premier rearguard all over with Brady, Shakespeare and McCausland pulling the strings in midfield. After 26 minutes had gone the second goal arrived for the 'Bulldogs', some super interplay ended with Liam Hannon threading a fantastic ball through to an excellent run from Aaron Humphries, as the keeper advanced Humphries lobbed over him from the edge of the box for a quite brilliant team goal. Premier did break on a few occassions but with Chris Dawber, Adam Mills and John Haycock marshalling in front of the ever reliable Steve Cullen in goal, their attempts were very quickly snubbed out. More delightful football from Boldmere ended with another free kick award in the 39th minute, this time about 25 yards out. Up stepped Richard McCausland (pictured below) to once again whip a brilliant free kick, this time however the ball clipped the underside of the bar before nestling into the net for 3-0 and McCauslands first goal of the season...... Half time 3-0 to the 'Bulldogs'.
The gaffers message was clear at half time......one more goal and a shut out would mean top of the league status and Christmas number one for the 'Bulldogs' lets do this!
The second half started and the tirless Chris O'Brien was now starting to become a big threat down the right. In the 48th minute a mazzy run at electric pace took O'Brien into the penalty area were he was clumsily bundled over by a Premier defender...penalty! Once again Liam Hannon stepped up to finish with confidence. The Bulldogs were now rampant, however their eagerness to get forward was leaving one or two gaps and they were feeling the loss of Dawbers presence in the holding midfield role. However, Steve Cullen was his usually confident self and the ever relaible Adam Mills in particular seemed to snuff out any danger with ease. Rhys Coombes replaced a tiring Jack Salter and Olly Nicholson replaced the excellent Aaron Humphries. Tom shakespeare was finding plenty of room and pinging the ball around with ease, but it was the tireless running of Hannon throughout that caused the Premier defence plenty of headaches. Boldmere had plenty of chances to increase their lead and on another night the deserving Hannon could have bagged 4, but Boldmere couldnt quite find the finishing touch that their approach play deserved. That changed in the 88th minute when Hannon burst into a wide right position before crossing an excellent ball to the unmarked Nicholson, the ball dropped just over Nicholsons head to the onrushing skipper Brady who fired home for his 8th goal of the season! Full time 5-0 to the 'Bulldogs'
I think its fitting to have a quote from the gaffer....
"An excellent end to what has been a good season for my Bulldogs up to now. Christmas number one is a great feeling, but it will mean nothing unless we can push on again in 2017. A massive thank you to all of my players and everyone associated with the club, for all of their committment and endeavours so far.... im enjoying every second of it all..... Happy Christmas to everyone involved at Boldmere youve all earned one................. 2017 #wegoagain"