Match Report - 12 Oct 2014, Clapham Rovers Clapham Rovers beat Real Northern 'A'
Rovers 5 - 0 Real Northern A
It looked like Rovers had their backs against the walls to come back from a 4-1 first leg defeat in this second round cup game against decent opposition. A feat made potentially more difficult by a few late arrivals.
The game kicked off at a frenetic pace with both teams trying to assert themselves onto the contest. Rovers were culpable early on of a few misplaced passes on a zippy top and of shirking one or two 50:50 challenges. But leading from Nath’s example in midfield and cajoled from G’s bellowing at the back, Rovers begun to rise to the challenge and get stuck into the match. Nath in fact came closest to breaking the deadlock with a 35 yard attempt that was tipped round the post.
The fire paper was lit when their tricky winger cut inside from the right wing looking to penetrate his way into the box. He went flying inside the D with Jimmy closely shadowing him… “You diving Cant!” Jimmy screamed as the whistle blew for a free-kick. Taking offence the diminutive winger goes head to head with Jimmy and nearly found his nose removed as a personal souvenir for our beloved Uncle Joyce. A melee ensued with the first of a series of “weak” insults and whines of the afternoon from their moronic centre half, who I’d say has a fair resemblance to the haggard Diego Costa. The resultant free-kick was driven low and Danny did excellently to stop and hold on to the skiddy effort on what was a very dewy surface.
The ferocity of the tackling from both teams went up a notch from that point, and although I got booted in the air and then up the arse in the space of about 2 mins, dare I say we were now winning the majority of the individual battles and were very much in the ascendancy. Hard work and endeavour was apparent throughout the team and personified with our opening goal. Nath hooked a ball over the defence that was heading towards their keeper. Rich didn’t give up on it however and managed to block the attempted clearance with a bit of determined hounding. The ball broke into Rich’s path and he tapped the ball into the empty net.
Rovers added a second before half time and it was an individualistic goal that was an absolute joy to watch. Smudger had been on fire from the get go, drawing numerous fouls, with the opposition thinking he was a ringer by the gulf in class that he was demonstrating with his dribbling exploits. About 25 yards from goal Smudger broke free with a Zidane-like pirouette, moving to his right he put two or three more defenders on their backsides as he slalomed his way into the box. Now going away from goal Smudger rolled the ball past the approaching keeper. An early goal of the season contender no less.
Charlie nearly made it three when he made a great run off his wing and was found by Smudger in the box, only for his effort to be well saved. But it meant Rovers went in at half time 2-0 up and with a good chance of progressing to the next round if they could replicate the first half performance in the second half.
Macca came on as a sub in the second half and played an integral role as Rovers sought to put the cup tie to bed. Smudger adding long throw-ins to his growing repertoire of skills found Macca holding off his marker at the front post, who flicked a header in past the keeper for a fine finish. I’ll also take some credit for this goal by moving Macca from RW to CF seconds earlier.
Soon after, Macca swung a dangerous corner into the box and James Mills was on hand to ram the ball home for an opportunistic strikers finish. And he broke free of the defence later in the half again only to see his shot go wide.
It wasn’t all one way traffic however, and although Rovers were putting in the better display, Real Northern still had their moments in and around our penalty area. Yet Danny was instilling a lot of confidence by coming to catch any corners and crosses which was a great pressure reliever. He also made another good stop to prevent another free-kick squirming in and when they tried a cute free-kick later he was again on hand to make a smothering save, followed by G cleaning up to clear off the line.
It was from one of these corners or free-kicks that Rovers broke to score our best team goal of the day. Nathan under pressure just outside our own box, did well to open out and release Charlie to his left. Charlie carried the ball up field and then played a perfectly weighted pass in between the full back and left back. Smudger latched onto it, cut inside a defender, round the keeper and tucked it into the far corner.
Smudger was also denied what would have been a well-deserved hat-trick when another jinxing run that took him past the keeper saw his goal bound effort cleared off the line by a valiant header. And again when put clean through from one of my headers in midfield only to be wrongly adjudged off-side.
From there it was just important that we kept things tight and ensured we kept the clean sheet that would see us through, which we duly did with G and Carswell in particular proving imperious in defence.
What impressed me most about this performance was that it was a genuine all-round team effort. Every single player in the squad contributed and gave their absolute all. The signs so far this season have been good and it was only a matter of time before we put in a performance of this quality. More of the same next week please. UTR!
MoM: Danny, as stated really assured performance in nets after lengthy injury lay-off. Ran very close by Smudger who was at his blistering best.
Clapham Rovers Clapham Rovers 5 - 0 Real Northern 'A' ()