Day at the Beach for Styx
An entertaining performance earned Crostyx their first league win of 2012 with a 6-3 dispatching of fourth placed Wisbech Town at the Peter May ground on Saturday.
Availability issues during the week saw Captain Joe Whitehead calling on perennial squad member AJ Vassiliou, ex-player and 1st team coach Tim Watson and even requesting Simon Blockley to follow Thierry Henry and Paul Scholes by stepping out of the shadows to once more don the purple (XL) shirt.
The visitors started the stronger with some useful possession in midfield driven by a central playmaker, but not really achieving anything in the final third. Crostyx were working hard to close down the options and when Ian Dunnett managed to steal the ball on the halfway line the resulting break forwards earned Styx their first short corner of the game. Demi Vassiliou stepped up and slotted home a neat set-piece to the goalie's right to make it 1-0.
Wisbech rallied and had a string of short corners of their own, but good closing down and some smothering saves from Neal Lofthouse saw the lead preserved.
A possible turning point in the game came five minutes before half time as Tim Watson chased the Wisbech playmaker who was on an attacking run, and when Watson mis-timed the challenge from behind the Wisbech player retaliated and after some decrying from both sets of players each man received a yellow card.
Crostyx seized on the resulting disorganisation in the Wisbech ranks and after a melee of defenders got caught on the right hand side of their D, Ross Hopkins struck a ball across goal that could only find a Wisbech foot and deflect kindly for Rob Harrison completely unmarked in-front of an empty net to make it 2-0 going in to the break.
Whatever half-time rally cries Wisbech received didn't work as it was 3-0 almost immediately after the break. A training ground routine from a free hit outside the D between Harrison and Demi Vassiliou set up Dan Hunn whose 'cross-cum-shot' was touched in at the back post by Ross Hopkins.
And it was 4-0 before too long when another set piece, this time from a short corner gave Hopkins his second as a neat step-over from Demi Vassiliou gave him all the time in the world to finish from with a flicked effort from eight yards out on the left of the D.
Having put the game seemingly out of reach Crostyx relaxed and in doing so conceded a sloppy goal. Ian Dunnett got the wrong side of Ex-New Zealand internaitonal Brad Apted who jinked his way to the by-line and centered the ball for a simple finish.
Not to be outdone Crostyx went forward again and produced what was probably the move of the game as a flowing and pacey passage of play from left to right fed Demi Vassiliou in the right corner, who drew in the Wisbech defence and selflessly pulled the ball back for Dunnett at the top of the D, whose first-time slap found Hunn at the back post to sweep in from a yard to make it 5-1.
The sides then swapped short corners as Wisbech scored an impressive drag-flick to the top left of the net, but the Vassiliou registered his second of the game after a penalty corner slightly broke down, but he managed to find space at the top of the D to finish with a another deceptive flick.
Wisbech did notch up a third when penalty corner rebound fell to a man at the top of the D who fired thorugh the legs of Lofthouse on his reverse, but it wasn't enough to trouble Crostyx who held out for the three points.
The win keeps Crostyx in sixth place in the league, but now level on points with fifth place Letchworth and fourth place Wisbech, with an early start away to bottom-of-the-table Harpenden next week.
Half time score: Crostyx 2 - 0 Wisbech Town
Full time score: Crostyx 6 - 3 Wisbech Town
Scorers: Demi Vassiliou (2), Rob Harrison, Ross Hopkins (2), Dan Hunn.
Discipline: Tim Watson - 1 x Yellow.
Squad: Neal Lofthouse; Joe Johnson, Tim Watson, Simon MacLeod, Joe Whitehead; James Lawes, Rob Harrisonm Ian Dunnett; Ross Hopkins, Demi Vassiliou, Ross Hopkins. Subs: AJ Vassiliou, Simon Blockley.