Well we finally picked up our second win of the season against a spirited Hotspurs team. Our new Friday night 'home' pitch was immaculate and has to be the best 3G pitch in all of Singapore. The pitch is massive, the surface true and it was important we made a statement that coming to UWC Tampines is not gonna to be easy. Having said that, we started the game slightly off the pace and a little too deep, allowing Hotspurs more time in our half than i would have liked. Once again, we went behind after a simply unstoppable shot from some 30 yards which nobody would have got their hands on. Martin Lawrence will not score a better goal this season and all you can do is applaud the quality of the strike. If we only concede goals from outside the box this season i will be a very happy gaffer. Despite the deficit we kept our shape, intensity and discipline and finally got our rewards after a goal mouth scramble saw the ball shift to Neil Corrigan who's lob shot from the edge of the box leveled the score. As the second half got under way we pressured Hotspurs further up the pitch and Rich Sexton grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck and with four assists, should have been man of the match, had it not been for a master class of central defending by Al Donogue Al's positional play and game management was assured and disciplined and i don't think he lost a ball in the air all night. The decisive period in the game saw Brett Bowman score our second after Rich Sexton played him in down the left. Brett who had been a thorn in the side of the Hotspurs defense all evening hit it from a cute angle but the sheer pace beat the keeper at the near post. You could immediately see the energy sap from Hotspurs who started to get a little rattled and undisciplined. Rich's pass to Conor King for out third was simply sublime. I was standing right behind him when he delivered the best ball of the match. Conor's first touch was magnificent and after shifting the ball from between his feet dispatched the ball, with the confidence of a fantastic player who is growing with each game. The fourth arrived soon after when Rich Sexton again drove a ball from the bi-line into the Hotspurs box where Brett Bowman scored his second after bravely stooping to head the ball in, where many would have pulled out. Brett did have the chance to score a hat-trick but the ball blazed over the bar. Given the incredible shift the team had put in i wrung the changes in the second half, bringing on Kenneth McGeough, Mark Hanley, Stephen Swords and Matt McCole to replace tiring legs. They all played their part in a great team effort. Our final goal came, again, through Rich Sexton, who played the ball to our latest signing Matt McCole who's finish was of such quality the goalkeeper didn't stand a chance. At 15 years old, he is certainly not intimidated by the physical side of the game and certainly came of age on Friday night. In fact with Lee Banbury, another teenager making the squad (starting 11), the search for more young stars of tomorrow will continue in earnest as the next generation will always be important to the clubs development and success. As a manager i have the best problem in the world. You could argue i have five or six players who were unavailable on Friday, who would ordinarily be in the squad or even the starting 11. The competition for places will continue and this can only be good for the club and our future. Thanks to Hotspurs for a fiercely competitive game and you league position does not reflect the quality you have in the team.
Hotspurs went into Friday night's showdown with Gaelic Lions full of optimism after a strong showing against the Germans the week before, and a beautiful pitch awaited them at UWC Tampines (worth the trip if you haven't played there yet). The first half was an intense affair- both teams challenging hard for the ball and battling to get a foothold in the game. It was Hotspurs who broke the deadlock, and you'll be struggling to see a better goal all season - midfield talisman Lawro lashing a dipping, curling shot into the top right-hand corner from about 40 yards. Beautiful. That was probably the pinnacle of the evening for Hotspurs though, and Gaelic equalised shortly before the break after Hotspurs failed to clear a loose ball. The less said about the second half from a Hotspurs perspective the better. Safe to say that Gaelic had the better of it- particularly during a 10-minute period after the break when they scored three goals and took control of the game. Hotspurs were left chasing the match, and despite finding some joy in a formation change, and creating a couple of good chances, it was Gaelic who put the nail in the coffin with a late fifth. Hotspurs will be disappointed with the second half, and the manner of the goals, but there were positives to take from some good individual performances in patches, a decent first-half showing, and a goal-of-the-season front-runner. Congratulations to Gaelic on a well-deserved win. A really tough one to take for Hotspurs, but on to next week.