Police overwhelmed by Shark attacks!
By Nick Simon
Sharks approached this game feeling somewhat chastened by the previous week’s heavy defeat at the hands of a team which resides several divisions higher than we do. On the other hand, our opponents had lost all league and cup games this season and started this game rooted to the bottom of Division 2. This collective depression would go some way to explaining the cagey, rather lacklustre start to the game, although the Sharks appeared to have the measure of their opponents, with Luca, Charlie, Joel and Rory coping comfortably with what little their opponents were able to muster, while their colleagues further up the field gently examined their attacking options without setting the field on fire. The game got the tonic it needed after ten minutes when good work on the right by Francis, followed by a pinpoint cross, allowed Joe to slot home the opening goal. However, the Met Police quickly got back on level terms with a shot that squeezed underneath a diving Sylvester into the corner of the net. Heartened by the equaliser our opponents, who despite appearing to have lost some of their better players from last season still had reasonable attacking options, enjoyed their best spell of the game and might have doubled their tally without some stout defending from the aforementioned back four and goalkeeper. Sharks did begin to play further up the field again, Phin setting a good captain’s example with robust tackling and accurate passing, aided and abetted by some neat touches from Gabby and a consistent wide option offered by Nile and, slightly further up the field, Ben. Damien showed the advantage of the 13 man match-day squad with some adroit changes that kept our opponents guessing and it came as no surprise when Francis scored a second goal, followed not long after that by Ben’s third which took us to the interval with a comfortable 3-1 margin.
Although our 13 man squad allowed us to stay fresher throughout the game and enabled us to keep our opponents guessing, they actually started the second half the stronger and our good defensive work was epitomised by a splendid clearance off the line by Charlie B. When we finally broke clear first Rory narrowly missed scoring with a good header from a corner and then Gabby bagged a couple in quick succession halfway through the half. While it felt very satisfying to have such a stranglehold on the game with twenty minutes still to play, an unnecessarily cavalier attitude crept into our play, to the extent that attacks would break down with five or six Sharks stranded upfield, an outnumbered defence occasionally looked likely to cave in and in the end our opponents pulled a goal back with a fine strike from distance. The four goal margin was quickly restored when Gabby completed his hat trick with a coolly converted penalty while the last knockings of the game were only notable for a third Met Police goal right at the end. But Sharks will be happy with the final 6-3 scoreline against a team which has been hard to beat in the past.