On paper this should have been more comfortable than it was. Last season they finished 2nd bottom, so we could be forgiven for thinking we should have an easy ride.
But shortly after kickoff it became apparent that this team were not going to be a pushover. Physical and combative in midfield with pace on the right wing, they were always going to be a threat.
The 1st half was frustrating for us, despite controlling play and playing some nice neat football we couldn’t make it count… when the half time whistle came it was 0-0… the next 45 needed to be pretty special if we were going to get anything from this game with one less man than the oppo.
We had a re-jig to 4-4-1, being compact without the ball and keeping our shape, becoming 4-2-3 with the ball, Mike the focal point of attacks, with Henry and Andy adding pace either side of him.
Amazingly, this worked to perfection. The way we tried to play in possession made it look at times like it was us with the additional player on the pitch… only some awesome Plaistow goalkeeping was maintaining the level score. Sheehan, Andy and Lemon had great chances that on any other day would have been goals… their keeper was having one of them afternoons. But, lucky for us he wasn’t the only goalie having great afternoon… Murph was called upon to make some vital saves of his own. Plaistow could easily have won this game themselves, were it not for his interventions! Hitting the bar 2x and Murph making a fine 1-on-1 save on the break.
Despite all our chances being thwarted by their keeper, eventually a breakthrough was made in the 89th minute. A corner from Lemon wasn’t dealt with by Plaistow, the ball falling at the feet of Albert who drew the keeper out of his 6 yard box, his shot was blocked on the line and actually looked over but luckily Andy Kehl was on hand to get the final touch needed to make sure! A scrappy goal, but hugely deserved for the effort everyone put in! Special mentions for the 3 boys up top, Sheehan for his excellent hold up play, Andy and Henry for getting up with him at every opportunity! M.O.M goes to Karl Murphy, but it could have gone to anyone in that 2nd half! A big thank you to the 3 boys who gave their afternoon despite having prior engagements, without that we’d have been 10 men for the whole 90 and we would probably be looking at 0 points instead of 3.