Newbury Forest 6-3 Upminster Town United Panthers (H-T 1-0)
scorers (O.G. 5, Stanley 35, Lukas 45, Jake 46, Abdullah 58, Pavan 60)
assists (Jake 4, Stanley, Arun)
Man of the Match (Pavan)
Starting 9; Max, Saad, Arun, Pavan, Majus, Casian, Abdullah (c), Lukas, Jake
subs all used; Stanley, Leo, Cameron
Our first home game at Fairlop Oak was a scorcher in more than one way. Firstly the temperature got up to 26 degrees by the 1:30pm KO time (delayed from 1pm as the ref was late). When we kicked off we saw our opponents, Panthers, were decent coming forward as they were all during the match with a strong passing game but it took just 5 minutes for us to get our noses in front after a good move down the middle saw Jake slide a diagonal pass through to Lukas coming into the penalty area from the right wing to surely score. Before Lukas could get on the end of the pass a defender intercepted it but his touch took the ball past the out rushing keeper and into the far corner of the net. 1-0. A minute later and we saw Lukas surge down the right and send in a high cross which Jake ran on to and volleyed just wide. Would have been a great goal. The first half saw a good few chances for both sides but in defence at full back both Saad and Man of the Match Pavan were exceptional. If beaten they were able to bomb back and challenge their opponents. Arun, back at centre back after his early exit with an ankle injury in our last outing, was commanding. Our defence was top drawer all game. We went in at half time one nil up.
In the second half we saw Upminster equalise after just over a minute. But just three minutes after that Stan broke through down the middle after yet another perfect set up pass by Jake. Stan cooly carried the ball forward and as the keeper came out he slotted it past him to put us back in front. After 13 minutes of the half we then witnessed a crazy 3 minutes which saw Panthers score firstly from a corner knocked in low at the near post and then from a long shot with Max off his line due to trying to keep Panthers out during the preceding 20 seconds of play. Wow - we were now losing 3-2. After we kicked off again we knocked the ball to Jake who played a perfect left footed 30 yard pass into Lukas on the run down the right. Under a heavy challenge Lukas used his strength and knocked it past the full back and the keeper (who was again coming out) to slide the ball in from a very acute angle. Great goal. Lukas had to come off after the goal as he had run himself into the ground. Within a minute Stan had set up Jake for his first goal of the season. Jake scored with a cool accurate left foot shot. We were back in the lead. Abdullah, who had come on for Lukas on the right, then forced another couple of saves from the keeper. Upminster were still pressing us hard and again Saad, Arun and Pavan were playing out of their skins at the back to keep them at bay. When they did break though a couple of times we saw Max fly into action and either make the important save or smother the ball. Lukas came back on for Stan who had given his all for the team and helped keep it tight for the last 5 or so minutes. Last week we were eventually broken down by our opponents but this week we not only held on at the back but we scored another couple of goals. The first of them saw us break with a pass out from the back into Jake. Jake turned and then put another perfect ball over for Abdullah to make a perfectly timed run to beat the offside and then to finish leaving the keeper with no chance. I think I used "perfect" a lot then but it was a perfect goal! Then Abdullah again picked the ball up and with a twist and a turn zigzaged down the Panthers left side through several players only to be brought down just outside the area before he could shoot. Arun took the resulting free kick in his usual on target bullet way. The keeper made a great save but as the ball bounced of his hands Pavan reacted first and rushed in to snap up the chance by smashing the ball into the net!!!!!! This topped off Pavan's Man of the Match performance for me but several others could easily have won it. Jake with 4 assists and a goal being one of them!
During the second half we also saw a great triple save from the Panther's keeper when Lukas delivered a perfect corner to the back post for Arun to brilliantly meet with a downward bullet header only to see his great effort saved. Then from 2 follow up shots the keeper did a great job to keep us out.
Again all players contributed. Leo made some quick accurate passes forwards during his time in the middle as well as some important pass interceptions. Majus showed his strength also in the middle especially in the last 15 minutes of the game helping to keep Upminster out. Casian played well when he was playing on the left near the end he came forward well and got a couple of shots in that were saved and also put in some important challenges at the back. Cameron also contributed well. During one of the moves that resulted in a goal he was involved when he played a quick pass in from the left for us to continue to break quickly. Along with the other mentions above in this report Saad almost scored with a great shot that just went wide.
It was super hot today but we saw another great game and we saw our first win of the season. 1st team manager and legend Leo Connolly came to the game and was impressed with the team as I am sure all our sunbathed supporters were.
Its the cup next week away at Colebrook Royals in Chigwell - meet at 9:15 - The Grange, Grange Farm Lane, IG7 6DP. No dogs allowed!
Very well done to all -