The Lions continued where they left off last week, with an eventually comfortable win over a Chessington Galaxy side whose spirited second half comeback wasn't enough to deny us the three points.
The day itself didn't get off to the greatest of starts as we had a bit of an issue with getting the kit after our holidaying manager forgot to organise someone to pick it up from the laundrette. In addition, a few players were very late to the game, including our new goalie Paul. He was so late, we had to start without him, with yours truly having to fill in for the first 5 minutes before he turned up. That was enough time for me to make sure that our defence was on its toes to clear away a dropped catch from a free-kick, but the fact is, I was the busier of our keepers because that was the only bit of action in our area for the entire first half.
Even more so than last week, we owned that first 45, with us setting up shop in the oppo half and chance after chance created. And just like last week, we got the early goal but apart from that, the chances went begging. Point blank saves, shots dribbling wide, Kieran blasting over when the goal seemed wide open, Ahmed smashing a volley against the cross bar from a corner, Max drawing a full stretch dive from the keeper, the list went on and on.
Oh, that early goal?...Bache had a pop from distance and the keeper fumbled it into the net or something....Well not quite, I didn't see this but it was apparently a decent effort on the half-volley from 30 yards by Bache. The keeper could have done better but it got us off the mark and as stated, we should have added to it several times over before we eventually did.
The oppo keeper had made some decent saves since his mistake and he again denied Max, who had another great game, with a stretching dive. In this instance though, the goalie could only push the ball out to Kieran coming in fast from the left and he literally ran the ball into the empty net.
Unfortunately that was his last involvement in the game as he had to go off injured with a knee problem that looked quite serious, so best wishes for a speedy recovery, Kier.
So same situation as last week, just the two up at half time for all our possession and chances. And like last week the oppo came at us with a purpose in the second half. Our goalie Paul who had barely touched the ball in the first half, made two excellent one-on-one saves in the first 6 minutes of the second to keep us 2-0 up.The first was low to his left and he then did brilliantly to paw away the bouncing ball from the striker trying to follow up. For the second, he closed down the player and blocked the shot with his legs.
He had no chance with their goal though. We lost the ball in midfield and they swept through us a little too easliy, with the ball falling to their best player to pass into the corner past Paul.
A minute later, Rob got bizarrely booked when he protested against a drop ball when a throw in hit an overhanging branch on its way into play. That would come back to haunt us later..
The game was evenly matched and we needed the third goal, which came from a corner by Ben. Nelson ran onto the ball at the far post to head in from about a yard out and give us some breathing space.
He then won a penalty when he ran onto a ball over the top and was brought down by the keeper when he poked it past him. With no Kieran on the pitch, it was Ben who ran after the loose ball to place it on the spot. Unlike Kieran's effort last week, the penalty wasn't even on target as he managed to sidefoot it wide of the post. Fortunately for us, the ref saw something he didn't like and after booking one of their players, ordered a retake. Ben sheepishly stepped aside for Nelson, who made no mistake in planting the ball in the corner.
The oppo resorted to long balls over the top and we had to defend a few corners, but we seemed solid enough in seeing out the game. The sour point for us came when their player tangled with Rob at the byline and the ball spun off Rob to give them a corner. Their player knew exactly what he was doing when he then kicked the ball straight at Rob, who was still in close proximity after the challenge and the ref couldn't wait to show the second yellow for not retreating. Very harsh but the ref was adamant that it was a black and white decision.
It was very late on and wasn't enough to affect the result but it was still irritating. Doesn't detract though, from another great performance by Rob and the rest of the guys, building on last week's work. Been a long time since we opened with consecutive wins and we'll look to keep the momentum going for next week.