Whiteley FC for only the second time this season were up against the much talked about AFC North End. Having scored 38 goals in 4 games with one of their strikers scoring 17 already, as well as having an ex-saints youth player up front, tied in with only conceeding 4 goals in 4 games, this was going to be our toughest test yet.
Damo fielded his strongest team available with injury concerns over Aidan and a continuing knee problem with Jas.
AFC North End started well but we were matching them tackle for tackle for a good ten minutes. They had a few corners and a few wayward shots but we managed to get a couple of decent efforts in, with Rosie hitting one over the bar. We had a couple of decent free kick opportunities, but were left frustrated as we got penalised for climbing (good decisions though) on several occasions.
The defence coped well and Simon was having a good game, winning some decent balls and putting in some decent challenges. Dave man marked their ex-saints player to try to stifle their attacks.
Unfortunately we went one nil down with a superb move from AFC North End. Breaking quickly from midfield, and with a few neat passes, they cut their way through and into the box, their striker doing a decent one-two which finished with a first time shot past Dan and into the bottom corner.
The first half flew by and we went in one nil down. We had a good chat and worked out what we would do in the second half.
Ten minutes into the second half and AFC North End had grabbed their second. Another neat ball saw their pacy striker run through on goal and finish with a deft chip over Dan to make it two nil.
Credit to us for not letting our heads drop, and we dominated the next twenty mnutes of the game, putting AFC North End under a lot of pressure. With a corner put in from Jas, Jones jumped and the ref blew for a penalty for shirt pulling.
, haivng scored last weeks penalty and one pre season, stepped up to take the responsibility. Unfortunately the ball was tee'd up nice and high due to the penalty spot looking more like a bunker on a golf course. Damo walked back outside the box and another ten yards beyond, giving himself plenty of room for a run up. He sprinted in and smashed the ball low and hard to the keepers right and into the bottom corner of the net.
Then came the sucker punch. With AFC North End taking a corner, Simon headed the ball back out for a throw in. With our defence not concentrating, their winger threw the ball in and with a neat flick on, their striker steamed in to push the ball over the line from three yards out.
We continued to attack feeling we could get something from the game. Leroy, went close from thirty yards, with the ball just not coming down quick enough as it went narrowly over the bar.
Then came what can only be described as goal of the season (so far, but is going to be hard to beat!). With the ball in midfield, a frustrated , again running his heart out for the team, ran up and absolutely leathered the ball at their goal (from just inside our half). with the keeper watching the ball all the way, it came down just under the bar and he could only palm the ball into the net trying to keep it out. An excellent strike, something that will be hard for anyone to beat!
We didnt look like getting the equaliser, although we continued to press for it, and, the ref blew the final whistle.
Considering all the other teams in the league have been hammered, a well organised Whiteley side can be pleased with the overall performance.
Again, with almost regularity, Leroy was up for man of the match for his workrate and his goal, but on this occasion, Simon wins it with a superb performance getting in some saving tackles. Well done simon.