Today we travelled up to Riverside to face early season opponents MSC Eastham once again, a team which looked a completely different side to ones we put aside last time we faced them and their results picture a different team as they have won all their games since playing ourselves.
With a number of players missing today it was a chance for our squad to show exactly what we have been telling them that we are a team and not just the 11 who start, still the Gaffa Matthew Easterbrook could still name a really strong starting 11.
From the off we looked to attack with purpose and we so nearly went in front when a vicious Kieran Hamm strike was just off target. Then after superb midfield play by Dave Leslie a ball was slotted through to Liam Rose and he squared to Kieran Hamm who tapped the ball into the net only for our relief to be met with anguish as the ref pulled it up for offside….harsh decision as it looked like the ball was pulled back but it was tough to call.
The fight was clearly there as tackles and pressuring was shown by a few of the team Danny Curran won 2 solid tackles in quick succession which galvanised the troops and Dave Leslie playing in front of the back four also won a few tasty challenges as he mopped up the loose balls, all the back 3 had to put some tough ones in when required too.
The only real moments of anguish came when their Keeper pummelled balls up field but intelligently the Gaffa had a plan prior to kick off after inside intelligence was received, Matthew Easterbrook was employed as a centre half with his job win every single header and it is exactly what happened as he rose time and time again to combat the long ball.
Sam Adams and Paul Stewart playing either side were also important in the plan and were solid all match, this allowed us to try to dictate the game but while not playing bad we just at times took the wrong decision too many times and tried to play Hollywood balls and hopeless long punts instead of playing our normal on the floor passing game.
When we did play football it was a joy to watch, one passage of play was pure angel delight building from the back Dave Leslie and Danny Curran played a number of one twos which released Kevin Machin who played the ball back across to Danny Curran and with the ball taking a bounce he hit a shot which just flew wide of the top corner.
Moments later Adam Coulls hit a stunning diagonal ball to the advancing Philly Lennon who hit a perfect crisp first time shot which Kieran Hamm met with a first time header which flew agonisingly over the bar.
The shout from the line was simply don’t panic it will come.
And so it did…. A long ball was hit up field and Kieran Hamm won a great Header and Liam Rose was on it like a flash bearing down on goal he was crudely taken out inside the box for a clear penalty, it looked a clear sending off too but you never like to see players at this level being sent off but the ref had no choice by following the letter of the law the man was off.
Up stepped Liam Rose to fire the penalty in the net and calm any nerves we had 0-1.
With it being still tight things were left as they were and we marched back out on field looking to make the extra man count.
We settled down more and started to play simple football, Philly Lennon and Kevin Machin out on the wings started to cause more trouble as they probed after finding space and the midfield dictated play more and more. Dave Leslie was superb breaking up play after play allowing Danny Curran to build attacks and Adam Coulls to find the space.
It was Adam Coulls who played a thru ball which ripped apart the MSC Eastham defence and Liam Rose met it with a trademark clever run across the defence and finished with ease 0-2. It then got even better after good play from back to front Danny Curran surged forward and slipped a neat ball to that man again Liam Rose and he rifled a great finish past the keeper for his hat-trick 0-3. Liam will be probably be the first to admit he should have finished a couple of more chances but for a few bad touches! but you can’t argue the boy knows how to put the ball in the back of the net!
The back 3 of Sam Adams, Paul Stewart and Matthew Easterbrook, were as solid together as we have been all season….. It just worked between the 3, MSC Eastham never looked like scoring and Jay McGlauglin in goal really had nothing other than a few standard stops to make.
With 30 remaining Tom Briggs entered the fray replacing k.Hamm who had seconds earlier received a booking and was on the verge of being sent off, switching Kevin Machin up top.
The switch should have paid off minutes from being made as Adam Coulls found his way into the box and instead of leaving to Machin he chose to shoot when Machin was better placed to finish into an empty net.
Danny Curran who again had a great game threw his head towards a ball and bravely connected with the ball and oppositions boot which resulted in a free kick and the resulting free kick was floated in and just missed Kevin Machin lurking at the far post. Curran was then replaced by the returning Michael Edge for the remaining 20 minutes.
Hat trick man L.Rose and the once again impressive wing duo of K.Machin and Philly Lennon were replaced by Danny Croker, Liam Reszczynski and Shaun Briggs as the game entered its final moments, and in truth all 3 done what was asked as they gave their all for the rest of the game.
Indeed it would have been a fairy tale debut for Liam Reszczynski if he had just watched the line as a ball was floated over he was left one on one but the referee cruelly pulled for offside.
After a flowing team move started from Booie at the back Adam Coulls played in Sam Adams down the left channel and he scored a terrific finish firing past the keeper to put the final nail in MSC Easthams coffin 0-4. A deserved goal after another superb performance at left back for Adams.
Clean Sheet another 3 points all in all a Great result and good performance, plenty of the team performed well and it was a tough call M.O.M, Leslie played a blinder young Curran again was terrific but for me I had to persuade the Gaffer to let me give it to him, he never lost a single header all game and today took one for the team by playing that role which was important in us keeping the clean sheet as was his 2 comrades Adams and Stewart beside him in the back 3 but Matthew Easterbrook was todays M.O.M.