Casuals and Pelham head into the Christmas break with their unbeaten league record still in tact after they won their top of the table clash away from home to Saffron Hawks 5-1. In poor conditions on an even worse pitch Pelham knew how big of a game this was and that a win would give them a massive advantage in the title race. With only 13 players available every one out there knew they had to deliver and play a big part in a massive game and not one player disappointed. Casuals and Pelham started very brightly and despite the state of the pitch, still managed to play some decent football on the floor. Tim Shaw and Liam Perry had the best chances of the first half hour but were unable to convert any of them. However Pelham were creating chances and playing well with a high tempo and knew it would be a matter of time before one went in. Saffron Hawks slowly started to come back into the game and most notably had a great chance to take the lead but Ant Hamilton-Pilot made a fantastic save to keep it level. The deadlock was broken with about 10 minutes left to play in the first half as Tim Shaw broke through one on one and slotted past the advancing Saffron Hawks keeper. They say you're at your most vulnerable just after you score and that proved to be the case as a rare break from Hawks ended up in them scoring and equalling the scores. However, Pelham also took advantage of the fact of teams are vulnerable after scoring and Tim Shaw made it 2-1 just before the end of the half. Pelham saw out the last remaining minutes and went in at half time the much more dominant team and with a one goal advantage, with Hawks having a limited amount of chances.
The second half was similar to the first with Pelham starting the much brighter of the two teams. Again with the state the pitch was in it was a surprise that Pelham could play any kind of football on the floor but they managed to and had some great passages of play. More chances were created for the away said and Hawks couldn't get into the game in the second half. Pelham extended their lead to 3-1 with Tim Shaw completing his hat trick. A great reverse ball from Grant Clark found Steve Willett out wide who drilled the ball across for Tim Shaw to put the ball in the net on the second occasion. Pelham continued to dominate the game and extended their lead to 4-1 with Liam Perry getting his rewards for working so hard over the last 4 games. Mark Jolley stuck the ball in the mixer and Liam Perry gambled at the back post to tap home from close range. The game wasn't over yet for Pelham and a dejected Saffron Hawks seemed to have given up as Pelham took control of possession and created chance after chance. Pelham deserved the final score line (if not more) and Grant Clark on his return made it 5-1 after all his own work. He chased down the ball across the Hawks back line, winning it back, running past two defenders and tucking the ball into the corner. The final whistle blew and Pelham took all the points after a performance that summed up the league campaign so far.
Massive win for us today lads and it was as dominant as the score line suggests. The fact that Ant Hamilton-Pilot didn't touch the ball once in the second half in between the sticks tells the story. By the end of the game I was disappointed it was only 5-1 (but that's just me being picky). The unbeaten run has been carried right through to Christmas which is fantastic and we go again in the new year. Some massive games next year against Brewers and Sawbo Town in particular but if we play like we have done against Albury, Boca and today against Hawks then they are there for the taking. Micks man of the match was a tough one this week as he said we had 13 players today who wanted it more than them and gave absolutely everything, however with another hattrick before the Christmas break, Micks man of the match was Tim Shaw. Although it's been great so far the season is only half way through, and when we come back in the new year we need to make sure we are back to our best and keep this momentum going. Well done lads, and we go again next year. COYCAP.