There was no need for a pitch inspection for this fixture. We had a little rain but the pitch was in great condition considering and the game went ahead as planned. Paul Ryder announced the starting line up for the game against a Flamengo side whose third from bottom position in the table could be seen as slightly deceiving as they have three games in hand on most teams in the division.
The line up for this game was;
Booth, Wilkins , Rooke, Thompson, Anderson, Grady, Thomas, Hollender, Harris, Evans, Short with Glenn, Hunt and Else on the bench
The opening exchanges in the game were spent battling in midfield to try and get the ball down and pass it about. The first real chance came on 7 minutes for Smithswood with a high ball from the back from Wayne Wilkins that was headed down by Lee Harris into the path of Anthony Short who calmly slotted Smithswood into the lead.
Smithswood’s tackles were well timed and they were breaking up most of Flamengo’s attacks but on 15 minutes Carl Thompson found himself against two attackers and they managed to get the ball wide on the overlap leaving their man clean through on the wing with a great chance to whip a cross into the box. Aaron Anderson charged back making up the ground to get a perfectly timed challenge in blocking the cross and even managed to come away with the ball, epitomising Smithswoods early commitment.
At every opportunity Smithswood looked to build from the back and were passing the ball across the back four and moving it through the midfield to Craig Evans and Anthony Short who were running into the channels and dropping back to help the midfield when needed.
The first error from Smithswood came on 20 minutes by Carl Thompson. The ball was played wide over his head and Tommo tried to keep it in but couldn’t quite manage it. The error came as his momentum carried him off the pitch and he knocked my coffee cup flying. What made it worse was that he just went back on the pitch leaving me to fetch it. A shocking passage of play but the only error up until that point in a great team performance by Smithswood.
Flamengo’s first real threat on the Smithswood goal came on 26 minutes when they whipped a great corner in but Luke Booth was quick off his line and cleared the danger with a strong punch. Straight after this chance they had a free kick just outside the area. It was crossed in and cleared by Adam Rooke but the ball ricochets to their player who attempted an overhead kick that was gathered up by Luke Booth.
Half an hour into the game Anthony Short challenged the keeper from a cross but it was cleared leaving a Flamengo player flat on the ground after the collision. A few minutes later Flamengo broke down the left beating the last defender firing a shot across the goal giving Smithswood a warning. From their next corner Flamengo’s striker lost out to Curtis Thomas and then Luke Booth gathered at the second attempt.
On 37 minutes Smithswood had a corner which was whipped in viciously. Lee Harris rose above the defence to win the header but just couldn’t get enough on it to trouble the keeper.
With five minutes left in the first half Flamengo were back on level terms as Smithswood failed to clear a cross from the right and the ball was put in the bottom right of Luke Booth’s net. Overall Smithswood had the better of the first half but went into the break at 1-1
Straight away Smithswood set about Flamengo to try and get the next goal. The ball was played up to Craig Evans just inside the oppositions half. He coolly controlled it and flicked it over the defenders head on to Aaron Anderson who won a free kick in a dangerous position. Craig Evans got the shot on target but it was straight into the keeper’s arms but a promising start to the second half by Smithswood.
Wayne Wilkins gave a free kick away a few minutes later for a foul. The ball was crossed in and the striker manager to get a cross in ahead of Carl Thompson but Wayne Wilkins was there to redeem himself for giving the foul away by clearing the ball from danger.
Smithswood continued to attack and Craig Evans and Anthony Short battled and put pressure on the defence forcing Flamengo into a mistake at the back which gave Craig Evans the chance to score from a move which could easily have been a penalty to Smithswood if the ball hadn’t ended up in the back of the net. 2-1 to Smithswood.
The boys pushed on for another and broke down the right with Anthony Short and Craig Evans heavily involved again but the defence cleared the ball again.
Paul Ryder made a change bringing Chris Else on for Andy Grady.
Next followed the “You’ve been framed” nomination from the Flamengo goalkeeper who took a free kick in his own half and successfully managed to pass the ball straight out for a throw in without managing to get the ball within 10 yards of any player. I see a cheque for £250 from Harry Hill in his future.
The Flamengo winger found himself clear on the left wing on 57 minutes. Adam Rooke was the only covering defender and he committed himself 100% to the last ditch challenge clearing the ball for what should have been a throw in but the referee gave a free-kick. This decision was summed up perfectly by Anthony Short who was heard from the sidelines saying “this refs a fuc***g donkey”. There were no arguments from us on the sidelines.
Lee Harris went close a few minutes later with a snap shot that just went wide. Danny Hunt then came onto the field replacing Andy Hollender. A minute later Smithswood had a penalty when the ref blew for a handball. Anthony Short stepped up and calmly slotted the ball in off the keepers’ right hand post. Smithswood 3 Flamengo 1. Paul Ryder made another change shortly after and Andrew Glenn replaced Aaron Anderson.
Smithswood turned on the pressure in the last 25 minutes of the game. Lee Harris got wide and crossed the ball in for Anthony Short to head just over the bar. Then Anthony Short chased down a lost cause ball that he had no right to get anywhere near but he made up ground quickly on the defender and won a corner for his team. Five minutes later is was Craig Evans turn to chase down the midfielder as he won the ball back in the middle of the oppositions half. He spun quickly and put a slide rule pinpoint pass in behind the defence for Anthony Short to run onto. Shorty stopped with the ball and calmly played in Lee Harris who ran onto it only to put his shot just wide of the post for what was a great move by Smithswood.
Carl Thompson even got in on the attacking bandwagon as he was involved in a run down the left wing which resulted in him finishing his attack just outside the area where he was tackled by the opposition but a great effort from Tommo.
In the last 10 minutes Flamengo had a few chances to get back into the game. The best chance came from a cross that beat the defence and keeper and gave them virtually an open goal but the attacker put the ball back across the goal and wide. They then broke down the right wing and just got behind a full stretched Wayne Wilkins but Luke Booth saved the shot low down.
Smithswood put the game beyond any doubt with 5 minutes left with a great pin point cross from Lee Harris into Anthony Short who headed in to complete his hat-trick and a 4-1 win
There was only one other game today which saw a surprise result as Shere Punjab who ran Smithswood close last week beat Walsall Phoenix 4-2 away. Due to only two games being played Smithswood find themselves top of the table this weekend.