Tonight’s opponents were Gravity Fc a team who haven’t had the best of starts but one we would not take lightly.
From the off we looked menacing as chances for Stu Hardman, Sean Phillips and a terrific free kick by Ryan Smith all went begging, also a number of poor offside calls cost us an early glut of goals as did the post on a number of occasions.
Then the breakthrough came as a terrific raking ball from the right wing by Philly Lennon found Hardman clear in on goal and he made no mistake finishing with a clever finish to ease any nerves 0-1. Then a lovely bit of play Hardman on the left as he fired a cross to Phillips who headed back to Ryan Smith all in one motion and Smith didn’t make the best of contacts as his scuffed volley was hit wide, if it went in it would have been a sensational goal.
We wanted to show we was up for the fight but Curran took it a step too far with a late tackle which as well as hurting himself, in the process it earnt him a yellow card early doors, but with panic setting in on the side worries with his reaction, unlike last season he showed he has matured and learnt by getting up taking the card on the chin then putting in a performance which showed maturity beyond his tender years.
It wasn’t long before it was 2, a simple pass from Phillips found his strike partner Hardman and he neatly finished 0-2. Then a rare lapse at the back as a player was left spare to fire in a decent finish to give the home side some hope 1-2.
That was soon wiped out as Curran played a simple through ball in space which had Hardman salivating as he pounced and rounded the keeper to fire into an empty net 1-3 and give himself a stunning Hat-trick inside half an hour.
Lee O’Donnell who was keeping things tight at the back played a delightful long ball to the left to Tom Briggs who squared simply to Sean Phillips who had the simple job of tapping home 1-4. Chances were coming thick and fast and once again a simple through ball in space by Smith found Hardman but this time his shot was stopped on the line.
With minutes of the half left on the clock we got a deserved 5th, Curran who was everywhere fired a stunning ball 45 yards to the feet of Lennon who took a great first touch beyond the defender entered the box and rifled a great finish past the unlucky keeper 1-5.
The second half started with a bang as Hardman laid it on the plate for Phillips to once again tap home 1-6, moments later the bar was our nemesis again as a great Phillips cross was met with a great shot by Hardman but as the ball came back off the bar Curran’s effort was scuffed wide.
Sam Yates entered the fray replacing Philly Bryan and he was straight into action making a great run down the right side. Philly Lennon then played a neat ball across to the goal monster that is Stu Hardman who once again showed great composure to finish past the keeper 1-7.
We was truly relentless tonight and it didn’t stop, an inch perfect delivery from the corner from Ryan Smith was met by the towering Head of skipper Lee O’Donnell who fired an unstoppable effort into the net 1-8.
The Gaffer who was rested along with Leslie and Rose tonight then came on replacing the solid Ste Harper and like Yates before was straight in the action with a few trademark huge headed clearance’s early on.
Philly Lennon put in another tasty cross which Stu Hardman collected and finished once again impeccably past there now shell shocked keeper to make it 1-9.
Cue an outfield appearance for last season’s keeper Jason McLaughlin replacing Tom Briggs who had played very well tonight in his first start of the season.
Kevin Machin who alongside Ryan Smith and Curran had played such an intelligent game tonight simply dictating play breaking up attacks and unselfishly playing balls to our attack, played a simple ball inside to Lennon who after assisting 3 goals got a deserved one of his own with a rifled finish low into the corner 1-10.
Then a second mistake of the night cost us a second conceded goal as Jason Rashly tackled poorly in the box giving them a penalty which there winger finished expertly past Jimmy Rainford in goal 2-10.
For a few moments we was then strangely put under pressure as Matthew Easterbrook had to make a terrific headed clearance and Rainford pulled off a brave save to stop a chance of a 3rd goal for Gravity.
We didn’t look finished and Curran hit a scorching Crossfield pass to the impressive Phillips and once again the bar came to Gravity’s rescue as his effort cannoned back off. On the back foot a great tackle by Easterbrook was collected by Curran on the box who showed great feet to bring it out and hit a ball through to space to Stu Hardman who after running all match still showed great speed and energy by taking it to the by-line but as he looked to pull the trigger to get a double hat-trick his performance deserved it just ran out for a goal kick.
Watching players not getting greedy and looking to play the right pass was a joy to see all night but Curran took it to the max as he played one twos on the edge of the box when in truth he should have shot himself to get a goal his performance deserved, which soon came.
After a foul on Yates was given Easterbrook played a ball up which was intelligently flicked on by Curran To Hardman who ran a few yards before hitting a perfect cross to Phillips who spotting Curran continuing his run hit the ball across and Curran finished with a low rifled shot to make it 2-11.
There was still time for Jason to get a goal after being played through but his header was well saved, and that’s how it ended, a terrific performance, in the past we have gotten greedy and took the wrong option time and time again, tonight was different we were patient and the midfield played the right balls at the right time allowing the 2 up top and our wingers to cause mayhem all match.
The defence played solid led superbly by Lee O’Donnell, Machin and Smith controlled proceeding’s and unselfishly allowed the people in front to finish off their work, Briggs and Lennon on the wings were a thorn in Gravity’s Side all game. Phiilips put in a superb performance full of running and power linking up well with Hardman.
M.O.M was tough even the oppositions management struggled to pick between Curran And Hardman, Stu has been unbelievable since the start of the season, he will win us things the way he performs but even he needs the players around him to perform to enable him to get to the level he does, and none did that more than Curran tonight! He was everywhere playing great football and after the early poor tackle showed terrific maturity…we learn from our mistakes and it looked like the lad did after last seasons red card.
A truly satisfying performance tonight, we treated it like any other game and so we should, now we move on to the cup Sunday against League 1 pacesetters PSV, same type of performance and another cup run could be on the horizon.