Potters run riot in 13-0 demolition of struggling Fleetdown
Potters FC 13-0 Fleetdown United
Potters secured their biggest ever win in club history, overcoming a poor Fleetdown side who are currently having a tumultuous time and going through a transition period, having had a big backroom reshuffle and a whole new set of players come into the side.
Only able to field 10-men on this occasion, you could not help but feel sorry for their new Manager who had only just come into the club in midweek.
Potters on the other hand were blessed with a week where they had a big squad to choose from, naming four substitutes and starting the game in exceptional fashion.
With a mere 90 seconds gone, Tim Stephenson put his side 1-0 up with a powerful effort into the bottom corner, before Craig Roxburgh hit the post with just over two minutes played, and Matt Bunn made it 2-0 inside three minutes with a low finish.
With seven minutes played, a wonderful ball from midfield from Connor Jeffery found Stuart Stone high up the pitch out wide. Summer signing, Stone, pulled the ball back for Matt Bunn, who in turn squared to Craig Roxburgh who made in 3-0, before Roxburgh scored his second of the game two minutes later, making it 4-0 on 9 minutes after being played through by Tim Stephenson.
It was a rampant opening 10 minutes for the home side, and things got even better inside 11mins as Matt Bunn put away his second of the game, intercepting a pass from Fleetdown's full-back intended for their goalkeeper, but Bunn nipped in before the pass could be completed, and slotted into the back of an empty net to make it 5-0.
Henry Willard's side had started in devastastingly clinical form, and could have added to their tally with further efforts from Tim Stephenson who shot over the bar and wide of the post on two separate occasions on 12mins and 15mins, either side of a Connor Jeffery shot which went over the bar on 13mins, before captain Mark Weller shot just wide from close-range on 17 minutes.
Five minutes later, however, Weller did find the back of the net, finishing from an acute angle with a smart effort after some good build-up play to put his side 6-0 up.
Fleetdown were simply struggling to get a hold of the ball, finding themselves second to every ball, and forced to give away possession whenever they did have the ball due to constant hounding and pressure from white shirts.
Midway through the first-half, Connor Jeffery was forced off with a knee injury, allowing new-signing Taylor Sutton to have another run-out after making his debut as a second-half substitute the previous week in the 2-2 draw at Ightham.
Before the half-hour mark, another chance went begging as Craig Roxburgh missed the chance for a hatrick as he hit the post with a curling effort, but made amends minutes later, turning sharply in the box with quick feet and jinking past the last man to slot home on 32mins and make it 7-0.
It then only took another sixty seconds for the eighth goal of the afternoon to hit the back of the net, with Stuart Stone played in with an overlapping run on the right wing, and rifling the ball into the top corner to open his account for the club with his first Potters goal.
On 36mins, Matt Bunn then missed the chance for his hatrick as he struck the woodwork, and Harry Paternoster could not get his feet adjusted quick enough to put away the rebound as a Fleetdown defender came across to clear.
Taylor Sutton was forced to withdraw from the game with a recurring groin injury on 38mins, replaced in central midfield by Fergus Farmer, whilst further chances came and went during the remaining 7 minutes of the half, with Tim Stephenson heading wide of the mark on two occasions whilst also being denied one-on-one by the 'keepers legs in three separate chances.
At the other end, Max Bridges in the Potters goal had merely been a spectator, although Fleetdown had their first half-chance of the game on 42mins, volleying high over the bar from a corner on the far side of the pitch.
Just before the break, Craig Roxburgh mishit a shot wide of the mark during stoppage time, but as the half-time whistle went, it had all been one-way traffic as Potters lead 8-0.
The half-time interval allowed Potters to make a further change to keep things fresh with Glenn Bunn replacing Mark Weller in defence, but it took Henry Willard's men a little while to find their rhythm again during a quiet and patchy opening seven minute spell of the second period.
Fleetdown were looking a bit hungrier for the ball in a few areas, putting on a bit more pressure, but Potters broke the visitors down again on 53mins as Craig Roxburgh grabbed his fourth goal of the afternoon, and ninth of the season, finishing well from a Tim Stephenson assist.
Stephenson had dominated the midfield since the very first whistle, and was in formidable, combative form as he ran the show all over the centre of the park, hungry for the ball, and ensuring he won every single 50/50 and loose ball.
Just before the hour mark, Matt Bunn had two efforts to further add to his tally, finding the back of the net from close-range on 56mins, only to be judged offside, before firing inches wide of the post after being set-up beautifully by a deft Fergus Farmer backheel.
Potters had begun to grab a hold of the game by the scruff of the neck again as they netted another two goals before the 66th minute; Stuart Stone volleyed over on the hour mark, before Fleetdown had their second effort of the game on 62mins, firing over the bar with a long-range effort, but youngster Harry Paternoster put Potters 10-0 up just a minute later, toe-poking in his fourth goal of the season after a smart lay-off from Matt Bunn, before Bunn turned provider once again on 65mins, delivering a perfectly weighted corner to the back-post where Fergus Farmer rose above everyone to nod home his first goal of the afternoon.
As the pace of the game slowly began to wind down, the home side made two further changes, bringing Mark Weller and Craig Roxburgh back on in place of centre back parters Joe Jarmyn, and Liam Turner. Potters reverted to a 3-4-3 for the final 17mins or so, with Glenn Bunn, Olly Hayward and Mark Weller playing in a three-man back-line, whilst Roxburgh joined Farmer and Matt Bunn upfront.
On 79mins Fleetdown's third and final shot of the afternoon saw them fire wide of the goal, before Potters added two more goal in the final ten minutes;
Netting Potters' twelfth goal of the afternoon, Fergus Farmer latched onto a terrific long-ball from Harry Paternoster who had switched over to the left-wing, bursting off the shoulder and slotting home one-on-one, before the scoring was wrapped up for this game by Matt Bunn who completed his hatrick on 83mins with a well taken finish following a Fergus Farmer through-ball, making it 13-0.
It had been plain-sailing for Potters from start to finish, although Fleetdown did start to hassle for the ball a bit more just before the midway point in the second-half, but it was all too little, too late for the visitors who you could not help but feel sorry for. Fleetdown behaved impeccably though, and not once did any of their players throw toys out of the pram or anything of that nature even in the face of another big defeat. Credit to the Dartford-based side, and our best wishes from Potters FC to Fleetdown, who hopefully turn their off-the-field fortunes around soon, and establish themselves on-the-field again..
..not too soon however, as Potters travel to Fleetdown in seven days time for the reverse Premier Division fixture on 7th November. Manager Henry Willard is already aware of a huge number of key players absent for the game at Dartford, and could be left with bare-bones to take on a rebuilding Fleetdown at their ground.
This game however was an excellent win that saw Potters play some tremendous football and take many of the chances presented to them to notch up a big result that see's them cement fourth spot in the table for another week, whilst also improving their goal difference considerably.