Day-Glo Baptists Fail To Dazzle Ravenous Eagles
Baptists 1 – SMB Eagles 7 (Cup)
A well deserved victory, with an array of goals, created and finished in all manner of styles, from the scruffy to the sublime. Credit must go to the Baptists, they fought bravely until the end and never looked like giving up.
A superb team performance by the high flying Eagles saw them unruffled by the dazzling contractor fluorescence of the Canterbury Baptists. Rather dozy at first, the Eagles soon started to fire, admittedly aided by some shocking lack of enthusiasm from the Baptists linesman, with one hand permanently pocketed and head dreaming in the clouds, allowing two cheap scores from the Eagles in the first half. With extra help from the slippery fingered Baptist keeper, the score line was actually rather flattering to the Eagles. The game was more closely fought in the middle than the score suggests, with plenty of aggressive tackling from the Baptists and some moments of individual skill. However, in terms of teamwork, there was only one team on the field. The Eagles were much more adept at the fluid passing game. Some slick passing and movement, followed up by some sharp finishing, the difference between these two sides.
Notable mentions must be made throughout the team. Robertson, restored to goal following his fishing escapade, made many fine saves and will feel aggrieved to have been beaten the once. Still, it must be reassuring to keep goal behind a centre back of the calibre of Fiachra O’Donaghue. The barrel of superlatives has long run dry. What more can be said. Even when alone facing four attackers, stand in player-manager, Collier, coolly remarked to his assistant, “watch him come out with the ball here”, and sure enough as they turned back he was striding forward, ball at his feet, opposition deflated by the sheer audacity of the man.
Hollingsworth, his fellow centre back, must love it too, as it allows him to make forays deep into the opposition territory. Sham at right back, captained the side well and made plenty of attacking running on the right wing and on the occasions when these were broken down, was terrier like in getting the ball back. Meech has really looked sharp at left back recently, riding tackles that would break a lesser man and so often intercepting the opposition passes, one wonders if he has some mystical psychic powers.
The midfield had a great mix of steel, skill and speed. Who needs strikers when you have the superb Shuwab marauding down the left flank, cutting inside with ease, and peppering the hapless Baptist goal, adding his third hat-trick of the season. They must have been relieved to see him leave the field, but you never get any easy ride when a Mearns takes to the field, and Nick showed plenty of skill and tenacity and was unlucky not to get on the score sheet himself.
As ever, the reliable Liam did not disappoint. Strong and surprisingly quick in attack, yet again he popped up with a goal, adding finishing to his all round talent on the field. Ably assisted by Dave, who despite some agricultural Baptist tackling, and the all ready mentioned kit being enough to bring out the road rage in anyone, stayed cool and calm throughout, with just an occasional gesture. This certainly helped his game as he could then concentrate his powers onto the pitch rather than heating up the atmosphere like a patio heater. Devine lived up to his name, with some great running into the channels on the right. Despite not netting a goal, he was involved in a number of others, with one superb cut back to Chris Mearns deserving far better than the treatment it got.
The little and large show up front continues to bear fruit. The much maligned Kings heading the pick of the goals, which came from a superbly worked move, involving Sham, Devine and Nathan Mearns, who delivered the perfect final cross, which was met by the majestic Kings soaring at the far post to head the ball across the keeper into the opposite top corner. He was also involved in the comedy goal of the game. An under hit lob which the hapless Baptist keeper somehow allowed to slip through his fingers.
Great work all round from the big man, who needs an arm round the shoulder at times, and reminding that it is not all about the goals, but also the provision for others. However, his consistent scoring, prove, that he is a Heskey who can also actually score goals. Nathan Mearns is always a delight to behold on the football field, tricking his way this and that, bamboozling the defence and making a mockery of the goalkeeper. Yet another goal here and plenty of assistance to his team mates, sometimes one wonders why he doesn’t make that final killer pass, but then we wouldn’t have the entertainment of seeing him take on yet another player. The crowd was delighted to see the eldest Mearns of the trio make an appearance after a long lay off. Whilst not having the sharpness of old, he proved a handful up front and this is sure to come back quickly to someone of his stature.
4. Sham (c)
6. Shuwab (Mearns, Nick) 53
8. Dave Pop
11. Mearns, N (Mearns, C) 65
Mearns, N 1
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