New signing shows the way to Cup win
|Author: Malcolm Jones||Published: 24th January 2011 17:21|
Old Stratford FC 3
Potterspury Res 1
North Bucks & District Football League Div 1 Trophy
Saturday 22nd January
Old Stratford manager Mike Jones asked new signing Leon Jones (no relation) to give him goals, and the former Wolverton player didn't let him down, scoring a hat-trick on his debut, as well as making an impressive and confident impact throughout the game. His first goal came in the thirteenth minute, a fiercely driven volley from twenty yards out which gave the keeper no chance. He could have had two more in the next few minutes, a one-on-one in which he failed to beat the keeper, before getting on the end of a Mike Jones cross which bounced off his knee and past the post.
The striker couldn't be denied for long, though, claiming his second from close range after a twenty-sixth minute goalmouth scramble. Old Stratford continued to make chances with Gary Lamb going close when, put through by a pinpoint pass from Mike Jones, he chipped the keeper only to see his effort go narrowly wide. With Leon Jones going close again and the midfield and defence holding strong, with Joe Bird and Dean Nunnari outstanding, Old Stratford went into the break well on top.
The second half started in the same vein, with Leon Jones thinking he'd scored his hat-trick in the forty-ninth minute when a deep corner was headed back across goal by Joe Bird for the debutant to scramble it in at the near post, only to see the ball bounce back out off the stanchion, with the referee unconvinced that it had crossed the line.
Sadly, the chances of goal line technology being installed on MK Council pitches seem very slim in these austere times. That ‘ghost' goal looked even more crucial when the next Potterspury attack saw a mistimed tackle in the area lead to a penalty. Stratford's luck held, however, with the spot-kick hitting the post, and the follow-up shot being saved by a grateful Jack Barnes.
The away side couldn't be kept out for much longer, though, with Barnes doing well even to get a hand to the perfectly-placed free kick which made the score 2-1. Old Stratford responded immediately with a neat passing movement which swept the length of the field, finishing with a cross from the right almost being turned into his own net by a desperate Potterspury defender.
The following twenty minutes was a hard-fought stalemate with both sides looking to score the vital next goal, enlivened somewhat when the Potterspury linesman marched off (after surrendering his flag) because he refused to carry on in the face of foul abuse from one of his own players, who was booked for his sins.
That vital next goal went to Old Stratford in the seventy-fifth minute when Leon Jones was put through by a deft pass from Gary Lamb and coolly clinched his hat-trick. That goal gave the player/manager the chance to rest himself and Rich Ferguson with next week's league game against the same opposition in mind, and a slightly re-jigged formation saw out the rest of the game fairly comfortably.
Old Stratford bounced back well from a run of poor results thanks in large part to the introduction of Leon Jones, but also to a quality team performance, built on energetic pressing and closing down, giving the midfield plenty of the ball, which they moved around well and imaginatively to supply their strikers - all of which bodes well for the trip to Potterspury next week.
Old Stratford Man Of The Match: Leon Jones
Team: Barnes, Nunnari, Hopkins, Bell, Underwood, Panayi, M. Jones, Bird, Lamb, L. Jones, R.Ferguson. Subs: Folcarelli, Clare.
Next fixture: Sat Jan 29th (2.00 p.m.) v Potterspury Res (A) NBDFL Division 1