With a free week and no game for the following two weeks, Hawkins were keen to arrange a friendly to keep the lads in form and try a few different things. Gunners FC were the chosen opposition, a strong Walsall Premier League side. If you’re going to test yourselves, you may as well do it against the best?
The game kicked off and Gunners were straight on the attack. From the off you could see they seemed quicker to the ball, and had a faster speed of mind when on the ball. The Eagles were holding a strong defensive line which for all their possession Gunners were unable to break through. An early exchange of handbags between Josh and their centre half seemed to set the tone for the first half although a lesson learned as in a League game Josh may well have seen red even though he had been pushed. Hawkins held out for 15 minutes until a break into the box saw Jake done for pace and the attacker through on goal, Jack taking the only option left and clipping the attackers’ heels. The referee having no choice but to point to the spot, again in a league game surely a yellow card and possibly red. The Gunners making no mistakes from the spot and slotting the ball past Lewis, who was starting for the first time.
Having held out so well it wasn’t long before a second goal arrived, a cross into the box smartly struck into the top corner, giving the keeper no chance. It was after the second goal that things got silly, as although the Gunners were a better footballing team they had a dirty streak running through the team, the odd elbow here and spitting this was to come to a head when Maccie was kicked by the Gunners centre forward whilst lying on the ground injured. This prompted Trev to halt the game whilst both managers spoke with the ref and in turn their players.
Gunners scored again before the break as Hawkins tried to get back into the game.
Half Time Hawkins 0 v Gunners 3
The second half started with a rather familiar looking line up at the back for the Eagles. Kian had gone off with Jack pushing over into his old right back position and Leighton dropping back in at centre half with Maccie. This seemed to help as the Eagles were able to get into the game and had more possession than they had in the first half. New signing Ryan had also come on at half time and immediately made a difference, showing pace, strength and a strong voice.
Good work in the middle of the park by Lucas put Rhys away on the right hand side, his shot smacking against the post and falling to Ryan to finish what couldn’t have been an easier goal to start his account with Hawkins.
Gunners came back at the Eagles and found a much stronger defensive back four harder to break down, Leighton and Maccie combining well when put under pressure and Jack showing a turn of speed which had sadly eluded him in the first half. However, a fourth goal did come as the continued attacking eventually paid off.
Having played so much better in the second half it was unfortunate to concede a fifth towards the end as a 1-1 draw would have been a fair result on the balance of play.
It would be fair to say that we won’t play a team as solid and with the all-round ability as Gunners this season and can take some positives from the game, an excellent debut for Ryan, Lewis gaining some much needed match experience and the lads showing that they are up for a fight. The lads have earnt their little mini break and need to stay focused, Up next? Cannock Town Juniors the only other unbeaten team in the league.
Full Time Hawkins 1 v Gunners 5