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MERTON EAGLES FOOTBALL CLUB

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COUNTY CUP ROUND 2

Sunday 31/11/04 - County Cup 2nd Round Vs Albion FC

Confidence is high in the Eagles camp after some impressive victories over supposed “quality” opposition and fresh from the 4-1 thrashing of FC Morden – arguably the Eagles best ever performance (no coincidence the gaffer was absent that day!) according to Nick (pitching for the top job Nick? – Ed.) – hopes were high of further progression in the County Cup.

 

Expecting the opposition to be a much harder outfit that Knaphill Village the Eagles named a strong line out, with the 4-3-3 formation having replaced the 3-5-2 of old.

 

Joe in goal, Peanut, Nathan, Baz and Adam meant the Eagles strongest defensive line up was again on display. The midfield saw Dave retain his place, alongside Nick and Matt S. Up front saw an exciting line up of Luke, Ben and Al. On the bench were Massimo, Tony and making his first appearance of the season, young Jim.

 

The match kicked up with the Eagles is possession. The Eagles passing and possession in the opening 5-10 mins was good and the high confidence meant we were looking to play our way out of any defensive position we were in. This actually led to the first chance falling at the feet of the Albion FC strikers feet, where Matt S, having seen Alex free on the right wing, took the fatal touch before clearing the ball and was robbed of possession. Joe easily parried the ensuing shot and the ball was cleared, but an early warning sign for Matt.

 

From then on, the match was pretty much one-way traffic. The Eagles defence was solid, the midfield full of good movement and crisp passing and the eagerness of the strikers meant the Albion defence were pushed onto the back foot.

 

The opening goal came within 10 mins. Having worked the ball through from the back to the left wing, Peanut laid the ball in to Luke, who hit a first time shot from the edge of the box. The keeper made a valiant effort to get across, but couldn’t get their in time and the ball sailed into the net to put the Eagles 1-0 up.

 

More chances followed for the Eagles, with Ben and Alex making great runs forward but it was from a set piece that the Eagles second goal came. A free kick from 30 yards out on the right wing, was curled in by Nathan, Ben flicked it on with a backwards header and a shocked defender could hardly react before the ball took a nick from the top of his head and deflected the goal bound shot out of the reach of the keeper. In true Seabrook fashion, Ben claimed the goal as his own as the initial header was on target!

 

From here on in the Eagles defence and midfield ruled supreme. Breaking up opposition play almost at will. More chances fell to the Eagles, but final ball, or selection of the final ball was not always great so no more goals where forthcoming before halftime, but when the whistle blew, it was a pumped up Eagles side that had the game under their control.

 

Second half.

 

No changes at halftime saw the same 11 start the second half. Credit to Albion, they made a tactical change by bringing their keeper on the pitch and into centre midfield, whilst the fairly ineffectual midfielder went into goal.

 

A couple of nice passing moves by Albion were backed up with some crunching tackles that signalled their intent for the second half. The plan was obviously to try and knock the Eagles out of their stride and some crude tackles went unpunished by an otherwise good referee. Albion soon learnt that those tactics don’t work with the Eagles and before long the Eagles had started to take control again.

 

With the Eagles strikers playing to order and dropping off to halfway the Albion defence pushed high up the pitch leaving huge gaps for the Eagles to exploit. It wasn’t long before this tactic allowed the Eagles to find the gaps with alarming regularity. First a good ball through by Matt saw Ben caught offside, then a lovely ball from Dave saw Luke race through free and his shot beat the keeper to bring the score to 3-0.

 

This was quickly followed by a 4tth, I think scored by big gay Al and Luke wrapped up his first Eagles hat trick in 2 or 3 seasons not long after. By now it was one-way traffic, but one defensive slip let Albion in for what would have been only a consolation goal. Fortunately the well struck shot thundered off the cross bar and the Eagles swept the ball clear, ensuring the second clean sheet of the day.

 

There was still time for the Eagles to add a sixth. A deep, far post corner was curled in by Nath, Matt at the far post called the ball as his and all the Eagles players looked away in disgust expecting the sliced shot to go out for a throw! If Nick been paying attention he would have been able to get out of the way of the sweetly struck right foot volley, but the deflection off his fat arse saw the ball eventually fall to Ben, who smashed it home from a yard for his second.

 

The Eagles could and should have scored more, with Ben, Luke, James, Matt and all Al all guilty of making the wrong decision when it came to a final pass, but all in all the performance was pretty good. Some nice flowing passing play and some great defensive performances meant the Eagles not only progressed to round 3, but also extended their unbeaten run to 5 games.

 

Next up Ewell Park in the League!