After the biblical rain the day before it was a relief that the pitch was still in great condition meaning we could host our next SYL Premier Elite fixture against Sutton Utd. In contrast to the day before the sun was shining and a strong wind had developed during the warm up. We came into the game with just 12 in the match day squad, illness and injury forcing 4 boys to miss out. Darren was also missing due to his hip replacement meaning Chris Stedman coming onto the coaching staff to assist. With a game plan set the boys were drilled and briefed and we began really well on the front foot. An early chance fell to Mikey but he shot wide. Hayden found Freddie having shown great vision with a great cross field ball, but after a good touch Freddie could not find the target. We took the lead on 15 minutes via a route one ball when Dom’s punt from hand caught the wind and sailed over their defence. Mikey had anticipated well and ran in behind and nodded the ball over the on-rushing keeper to slot into an empty net. Alex made it 2-0 in the 28th minute with what can only be described as an absolutely outrageous free-kick. From fully 45 yards Alex utilised the wind perfectly to find the top corner. Luca then went close when Mikey found him on the cut back but his first time half volley was straight at the keeper - either side and it would have been in. The game plan was working well and in the 34th minute our pressure told again when Mikey made it 3-0. Zahir won the ball on half way and found Oli down the right. His driving run saw him to the edge of the box and his low cross found found Mikey who turned his defender brilliantly with a dummy. His initial shot was well saved but Mikey tucked away the rebound. HT 3-0. JJ had played on the left of a back three and was assured throughout the first half but was unable to shake off a sore knee and was replaced at half time by Josh. We set our stall out again for the 2nd half, and with no further subs available rallied the boys for the long battle ahead. We managed to give ourselves an even bigger cushion just 5 minutes into the second half when Zahir and Oli linked up well again down the right. Oli’s low cross to the near post found Mikey, who showed real quick thinking to back heel the ball into the net following a fortunate ricochet that fell to him with his back to goal. With nothing to lose now Sutton pushed forward with the wind behind them and forced us back. Despite resolute defending from Hayden, Alex and Josh, supported by the wing backs Zahir and Freddie, we conceded in the 57th minute when a left wing cross evaded everyone to nestle in the far corner. Dom was arguably fouled in the process but the ref allowed the goal to stand. Kris, James and Luca were working incredibly hard in midfield and were stifling their attacks. We conceded again in the 66th minute when a free kick was delivered into our box and the resulting scramble was poked in. This could have seen the boys panic but the response was brilliant as we made the game safe making it 5-2 in the 68th minute. Freddie got forward down the left and delivered to James who had made a good run. He showed good strength to get a shot away which then deflected off a defender and in for an own goal. FT 5-2. Having come on at half time Josh slotted into the pace of the game and formation very well and defended resolutely. Dom showed excellent concentration and some assured handling. Freddie was up and down the pitch all day and Hayden and Alex didn’t give an inch in defence. Kris was outstanding in midfield, covering every blade of grass. With James, Luca and Zahir being forced into playing in unfamiliar positions, the discipline they showed to stick to the formation and plan was fantastic. Oli and Mikey with their movement and pace caused problems all day. A great performance with everyone performing superbly and getting a thoroughly deserved win. Everyone deserved Man of the Match today but Mikey’s hat trick and Zahir slotting in seamlessly to right wing back clinched it for them this week.