A beautiful day and confidence high in the Bs following a encouraging 4-0 win the week before. The only concern being that Scotch As had been a bogey team for the Whites As in recent seasons, despite being relegated to Serie B. Word was to watch out for their tall lanky No 19 – their best player who could do damage in the air in attack.
There were selection headaches for the Bs with more central midfielders than you could poke a stick at, so a few were prodded and cajoled into other roles – Jidan out wide and Amir up front (in Longy’s absence) with George, Alan and titus shoring up the middle. After a clean sheet the defence was largely the same, with Kirsten and a somewhat hamstrung Superman in the middle, and Matt Bate out wide – the only change being Paul K slotting in for an injured goalscoring freak Juan L.
Positive early signs, with the Scotch team arriving late and not really preparing at all. Was this a ruse? Well, no, not really. Scotch were actually late all day, both mentally and physically – and in the end leaving a few whites players on the ground with bruised ankles and legs.
The Whites were strong from the off, pushing hard, dominating play and winning lots of early corners and free kicks. The whites defence had few problems, with the midfield controlling and Amir causing all sorts of problems up front. His persistence finally paid off as he shouldered past a challenge and struck a well hit shot past the keeper – 1-0.
The whites controlled the rest of the half, with set pieces the only real outlet for Scotch. Having said this, they were almost rewarded a few times as their tall timbers lumbered forward for corners, and won free headers that sailed just over the bar.
Then Amir was able to get away on the left side, with almost the same bullying move employed for the first, and struck a shot straight at the keeper. Fortunately it was hit hard, low and true and squeezed under the keeper, trickling agonisingly into the corner of the net, despite the desperate last ditch attempts by the keeper and defender. 2-0 and looking good.
The half ended with that score but only after a last minute scare. A scotch through ball landed between keeper and defenders, and with Callum uncertain Superman slid in to get a final touch away from the striker and the ball was eventually bundled away. As George warned in the dressing rooms, 2-1 would have been a very different story, so the whites needed to be careful.
The second half started with a rejuvenated scotch team pushing high and pressing for a way back in. the first ten minutes of ther half saw the whites deal with concerted pressure. Then, just as Scotch felt they may have a sniff the whites scored again, from a corner of all things (this is what other teams normally do to us!). Jidan got his head (or was it the scotch defender – who cares? Jidan was right there putting the pressure on) to the corner and headed in from point blank range.
To make things worse for scotch, Amir stuck the boot in with a well taken third. Nice hat trick. Arise Number 9.
By now the Scotch team were ragged, and as reinforcements began to be introduced they could only really chase shadows for most of the rest of the match, or commit fouls, and they did this aplenty with rash challenges on Amir, Alan and Superman in particular.
Jidan put another dagger throught the Sctochies hearts when he said whatever Amir can do I can do better, as he drifted forward and sent a lovely chipped shot over the head of the keeper for five (his lovely through ball for Justin later was also a joy to behold from a purists pov), and the rout was completed when Titus – pushed high with the departure of Amir – stuck a nice angled shot past the keeper.
6-0 final score. Next cup round awaits. Bogey team dispatched. Lots of goals and good ones, but just as pleasing for the squad, a second clean sheet in a row, with the whites showing good composure and discipline at the back right until the end.
Hard to pick a man of the match, but it would probably have to be Alan this week, who did all the simple things right while grabbing not as much of the glory, while Amir’s brutalist hat trick stands on its own.