Reds Win Again To Set New Club Record
The Reds were back at home for the second successive week as they faced Soho Freedom in their inaugural London Unity League game aiming to build on the win against Stokey and maintain their place at the top of the table.
Prior to kick off teams lined up for a minutes silence in respect of Sgt. Matt Ratana who tragically lost his life whilst on duty earlier in the week. The Reds also wore black armbands for the match.
With a busy schedule and plenty of players available – Gary decided to rest himself. With Naomi ruling herself out midweek after an injury – which resulted with her ending up on crutches – Liam and Billy came into the squad for the first time this season. The team was also strengthened by the returning duo of Calum and Kieran – and with Jamie making her full LUL debut.
The Gaffer decided to switch his starting 11 up with Alex Hill in goal, A back four of Daniel Crump, Scott Hollingsworth, Dean Chambers and Sam Bushnell. A midfield four of skipper Sam Sevenoaks, Daniel Dawson, Samuel Timms and Chris Kent. With Jon and Kieran Allen partnering each other upfront for the first time this season.
The substitutes bench was full of quality and experience with Billy Stephens, Liam Cooper, Calum McKenna, Robert Nguyen, Ryan Harwood, Harley Bagnall and Jamie Apthorp.
The match started with the Reds immediately on the front foot as they looked to use the vast pitch to their advantage to impose themselves on the contest from the off. A fairly scrappy opening few minutes was calmed down when Samuel picked the ball up midway through the Soho half and slotted a ball through down the right wing for the skipper Sam who just managed to get to the ball before it went out of play and whip in his cross which fell nicely for Jon to head in and open the scores. 1-0 to the Reds.
It didn’t take long for the Reds to double their lead when a through ball for Calum saw the Soho keeper deal with the first attempt and then catch Kieran in the face with a trailing hand as he attempted to claw the ball out of the air. Kieran went down and the referee blew for the spot kick. After a few minutes of discussion between Kieran and Deano as to who would take the spot kick followed by a couple of goes or ‘Rock, Paper Scisscors’ – up stepped Dean who drilled his effort low to the keepers right to give the Reds a 2-0 cushion.
Following the second goal Calum took a knock to his ankle and was forced off. Chris came on in his place. The next 10 minutes the Reds had the away side penned in their own half as they struggled to get out. The home side won 6 consecutive corners as Soho threw bodies on the line to block every effort as Invicta laid siege on their goal. The third goal finally arrived when Chris received the ball out on the left and cut onto his right to bury his shot low to the keepers bottom right corner. 3-0 to the home side.
The Reds were forced into another change when Chris aggravated a previous injury amidst scoring his goal. He was replaced out on the left by Calum who had recovered after his earlier knock.
The Reds continued to put pressure on the Soho defence. When the ball was won high in midfield the home side had one thing in mind and that was attacking the Soho back line. Samuel and Daniel were having a lot of the ball in midfield and urging the team forward with Sam and Dan pushing forward from their full back births to create an overlap in the attacking third.
Sam Sevenoaks went close to adding a fourth when his volley was blocked on the line and then a break down the right saw his attempted lob fall short of the target. Shortly after both Kieran and Jon had chances to add to the scoreline before Calum finally added the fourth goal. He intercepted a goal kick and run at the defence before a mix up with the keeper and defender saw the ball bobble over the line with Calum claiming the final touch. 4-0 to the home side.
The Reds were not finished there and Jon bagged himself his third LUL goal of the season and second of the game when he slotted home from a corner from Kieran down on the left hand side.
With the Reds in a commanding lead Alex was rarely called into action. His centre back pairing of Scott and Dean held a high line to keep the away side penned in their own half. When they were called into action they brought the ball under control and looked for the forward pass to set the Reds on the attack.
The referee blew the half time whistle with the Reds leading 5-0 at the break. With the Gaffer keen to keep his squad fresh and give everyone a run out he made six changes with Harley, Robert, Liam, Ryan, Billy and Jamie all on for the second half.
The second half line up saw Alex in goal, a back four of Billy, Scott, Dean and Harley, a midfield four of Calum, Ryan, Daniel and Jamie with Robert and Liam up front.
The Reds started the second half where they left off in the first 45 minutes. Liam and Robert were causing plenty of additional problems for the Soho defenders. The goals didnt stop at five with Robert adding a quick sixth with his second goal in successive home games. Calum broke through from the right wing and had a great chance which was superbly saved by the Soho keeper.
Shortly afterwards a seventh goal was added when Liam received Harley’s ball took a touch inside the Soho box and drilled his effort hard and low to the bottom near corner for his first goal of the season. The Reds kept threatening when Calum played Billy through down the right wing on the overlap and his excellent cross was just ushered out of play for a corner on the far side.
With around 30 minutes remaining the Gaffer switched his team up again. Dean – having played an hour last week and an hour this week on his return from injury was withdrawn with Daniel Crump on in his place slotting in alongside Scott at the heart of the Reds defence. Samuel replaced Daniel Dawson in midfield and Chris replaced Calum on the wing.
The Reds added three quick goals in a frantic 6 minute spell. First Robert grabbed his second to make the score 8-0, Chris received Ryan’s through ball down the left hand side – entered the box and slotted the ball into the far corner of the net to make the score 9-0 and then Robert completed his hatrick to make the score 10-0.
It was pleasing to see Jamie making her LUL and competitive debut for the Reds – a 30 minute run out with a solid performance down the left wing and then subsequently down the right wing. As the game entered the final quarter Jamie was replaced by the skipper Sam down the right wing for the remainder of the match.
The two final goals came inside the last ten minutes the first from a cross down the right which the defender attempted to intercept in front of the keeper but the contact took the ball towards the goal as the ball cross the line and then bounced out. 11-0 to the home side. The final goal came when Samuel broke through the Soho defence down the right – as with the goal beckoning he unselfishly slid a pass across the face of the goal to Robert who tucked the ball away on his left foot for his fourth goal of the game. 12-0 to the Reds.
There wasn’t much time left following the restart as the referee blew the full time whistle on an emphatic win for the LUL leaders.
After the game we caught up with the Gaffer Gary who has this to say :
I’d like to thank Alex, Mark and the Soho Freedom team. The game was played in the right manner with the utmost respect from both sides throughout.
It was a tough game for the away side – their first competitive game together. We’ve been on the receiving end of some horrible results – so we know only to well how it feels. Soho Freedom showed some promising play in the second half and both keepers made some great saves during the game.
If they stick together and keep working hard they will start to pick up points.
For ourselves – we wanted to take the form from the previous two games into this one. We had a few injuries and rested a couple of players – which meant I was able to freshen things up and give others an opportunity to play. Billy, Liam and Jamie all came in for the first time this season – and Jamie was making her LUL and competitive debut – which was fantastic to see.
We started well and scored a couple of early goals. Jon took his first half brave well and it was a real confidence boost for Deano to grab his first Invicta goal. It was good to give Jon and Kieran a full half together upfront.
We felt we missed a few really good chances and could have grabbed more goals. The second half we switched it up and gave everyone a real good run out. I felt Rob and Liam would work well together and find space in the second half – and that’s what happened. Rob was on fire.
Ryan had a really impressive second half and rarely gives the ball away. The midfield trio of Ryan, Samuel and Daniel really kept the team ticking over during the game. We looked comfortable at the back with Scott and Dean and always got players forward to support the attack.
Calum, Sam and Chris looked dangerous out wide. And Billy, Daniel, Sam Bushnell and Harley all enjoyed the freedom to get forward where possible to provide an overlap option.
It was also important for Alex to get a first clean sheet of the season which will just enhance his confidence after some impressive performances against Phoenix and Stokey.
We’ve got a little break now from league games and we’ll be looking at a few things to work on during this period. It’s been a fantastic start to the season and we just want to continue doing what we’re doing.
Goal Scorers : Robert Nguyen x4, Jon Allen x2, Chris Kent x2, Dean Chambers, Liam Cooper, Calum McKenna, Own Goal.
Player of the Match : Robert Nguyen