First's move into top half
A stunning Matty Auletta double and another from Michael Campbell gave the first team a come from behind victory over Windsor on Monday night.
Darren Salmon had been forced into a couple of changes from the win over Badshot Lea, with both Jay Jones and Jeff Addo-Dankwa missing through injury, into the line up came Anson Cousins, and a debutant in the shape of Rudolph Tewe, a lad who epitomised the word "patient".
The opening period was thrilling as both sides went for it. We thought we had opened the scoring in only the first minute, when Tewe skinned Windsors Ramel Sutherland, to find Joseph, but although he finish was excellent the flag went up for offside. It was Windsor though who struck first, after only four minutes. A quick break down the left saw the ball reach Barry Dunbar in the area and he was bought down by Owen Davies. As expected, Craig Bradshaw saved Rob Lazarczuks spot kick, but the Windsor player reacted quickest to fire home the rebound.
We were almost level immediately, when Liam Holden was fouled out on the right, Jordan Johnson-Palmer flighted in a free kick and Davies saw his header well saved low to his left by Hugo Sobte in the Windsor goal. A minute later and good work involving Tewe and Cousins saw a ball half cleared to Matt Auletta, and his shot was deflected behind for a corner.
Both sides were showing plenty of attacking intent in the opening minutes and the quality of football on show was high. We went close again on eleven minutes, when a corner by Holden was narrowly missed by Tewe and drifted harmlessly out for a goalkick.
Bradshaw almost released Stefan Joseph on 19 minutes, and at the other end Lazarckzuk fired in a great free kick, which reached Andrew Ingram who fired narrowly over the crossbar. We were continuing to play some good stuff, and after Holden had picked the pocket of Bradley Pearce in the middle of the back, Tewe sped away down the wing, but his low cross to Joe Mead was underhit and Windsor were able to clear.
Bradshaw then nearly gifted Windsor a chance, spilling a harmless looking ball into the area, but we had enough bodies back and were able to clear the danger. Sutherland hauled down Tewe and from Johnson-Palmers free kick Davies could only direct his header over the crossbar.
Bradshaw spilled another long free kick (more in twenty minutes than his previous twenty games with us!!), this time by Sobte, and we were forced into some frantic defending to clear the danger. When we did, the ball found Auletta who was involved in a great battle with Windsors Emmanuel Goganos.
Just after the half hour, and Windsor had a couple of chances to increase their lead, firstly a strike by Lazarczuk was blocked on its way to goal, and from the follow up Andrew Ingram saw his effort strike the crossbar. Back at the other end, and after Joseph had been fouled a quick free kick by Keano Robinson, to Johnson-Palmer ended with a low shot going harmlessly back to the keeper.
Bradshaw claimed well on 34 minutes (to some ironic applause) and we broke quickly with the ball finding Joseph, but Windsors Ingram and Riccardo Cannon got around him to clear the danger. On 39 minutes, Bradshaw cleared long, Joseph set the ball back to Holden, and his low drive bought an excellent save low down to his left by Sobte.
We nearly gifted Windsor a second on 43 minutes. Having kept possession quite nicely, we gifted the ball back to Windsor and after a quick break Lazarckzuk pulled his shot wide at the back post and the score remained at 1-0.
We started the second half bright, with the lively Tewe again causing problems in the opening minutes, and we eventually levelled on 48 minutes. Good play ended with the ball finding Tewe on the left, his deep cross found Auletta who guided a volley into the roof of the net for 1-1.
We continued to hold the upper hand, and after Joseph had been fouled, Johnson-Palmers free kick was only cleared to Robinson, but his shot was blocked and Windsor were able to clear. On 54 minutes, a flowing Windsor move involving Shafi, Dunbar and Lazarckzuk then forced Cousins into an excellent interception and the recalled left back surged forward forcing the Windsor backline into some good defensive work to clear the danger.
We should have taken the lead on 57 minutes, a deep free kick by Bogle was half cleared to Holden on the edge of the area, his shot was partially blocked but found its way through to Mead who fired over from close range.
We took the lead on the hour. Having caught Windsors Dunbar offside, Bradshaw launched the ball forwards, Joseph rose superbly to guide the ball towards Auletta, he nipped in front of Goganos, before hitting a delightful curled effort beyond Sobte for 2-1.
Darren Salmon made his first change on 67 minutes, replacing the excellent and somewhat battered Stefan Joseph with the fit again Michael Campbell. Two minutes later and after Mead's free kick had only been cleared to the edge of the area, Campbell fired high over the crossbar. Mead then did well to win possession in the middle of the park, and found Tewe, but his low cross was well defended by 6 and cleared for a throw in.
Auletta fired wide on 72 minutes after more good work involving Mead, Holden and Campbell, and the visitors made their first change of the evening, replacing Shafi with Josh Cook. We continued to hold the upper hand and on 75 minutes Holden fired wide when he should have scored, after great work on the right by Campbell.
We made another change on 78 minutes, with Holden being replaced by Charlie Emery and Windsor removed Pearce and introduced Joe Zemaitis into the game. Sobte did well on 82 minutes to deal with a poked ball back by his own defender (in fairness it was more of a challenge on Campbell than a backpass).
We had a scare on 84 minutes when good work on the right by Windsor ended with a fierce shot going over Bradshaw's crossbar. Campbell was denied by a mixture of Sobte and Cannon, after a quick free kick by Johnson-Palmer.
We then almost gifted Windsor an equaliser. Having kept possession really well, the ball from Mead back to Bradshaw was wide and underhit, and the big keeper had to react sharply to make a sliding clearance outside his area, as Windsors forwards bore down on him.
Windsor were pushing forward and probing for that equaliser, and Cousins was forced into hooking the ball out for a throw in. From the long throw hurled towards the back post, Bradshaw held sueprbly under pressure.
Bowles went into the book in injury time, the first booking of the game, for a foul on Mead, and we were grateful deep into stoppage time for a tremendous save by Bradshaw from flicked Ingram header.
We sealed the game five minutes into stoppage time. Some neat possession around the edge of the Windsor area ended with Emery finding Cousins, his sweeping diagonal ball found Auletta, and his low cross to Campbell was despatched with some aplomb by the prolific marksman.