Wed 1st October 2003 Garnett A 7 (1) vs. (1) 1 Leazes Terrace

Many a time in the last few seasons, the Wednesday A's, buoyed on by a win the match previous have slumped in their next fixture but the A's made no mistake against their nemesis of last season Farcelona (now called Leazes Terrace). An astonishing second half slump saw Terrace leak 6 goals with Garnett winning 7-1 with seven different Garnett scorers.

Things did not start as Garnett would have hoped, injuries, unavailability (particularly of their hat-trick hero of the week before, John Hurry) and a mix up at the union left the A's with a depleted squad, barely being able to put out eleven players and late out on to the pitch. The referee should be noted for his professionalism in letting both sets of player's warm-up properly before the game, although resulting in a late kick-off. Why can't more refs at inter-mural level be this considerate?

Team changes brought Burke-Murphy back into his preferred role in the centre of mid-field with Alexander switching to the right and A's stalwart Adam Bell made his first start of the season up front after recovering from illness. Talking of illnesses, the A's often play like a team quite literally possessed. The sheer passion and will to win that runs through this team must be both puzzling and confusing to the opposition and most of all intriguing to psychologists. Although this is a good aspect generally, the A's have to watch out that their flowing football is not disrupted by this eagerness to get a result. It was not surprising then this 'condition' was on show as Garnett lost a cheap early goal once again. The defensive quartet, unchanged from the week before look and indeed are the part, but it is going to take time before they really gel as a unit. However, whether it was nerves, the badly mown pitch or just cr*p control, the A's captain Martin allowed the ball to slip under his foot and Terrace's striker seizing on the opportunity sprinted clear. He had seemingly taken the ball too far round Poole but a chipped cross/shot nestled in the far corner; The A's were behind again. The frantic opening to the match continued with Dawson going close after good work down the right from Alexander and Turner shooting from an acute angle. As half time drew near, the A's deserved an equalizer and duly it came, but from an unexpected source. A good build up spurred on by the industrious Mercer, brought the ball to the feet of Mullan on the edge of the area. A speculative, early left foot strike seemed an easy save for the Terrace keeper, but it squeezed under his body
for Mullan's first Garnett goal and the A's leveller. Testing the keeper 'at this level' (to coin Paddy's most loved phrase) is essential as many a team's weakness is often found in goal. Mullan's exploitation of this was a vital breakthrough.

The A's have a habit of playing their best football in the second half of matches; however, this should by no means be relied upon. The A's are a fit side with many of the team training regularly with Saturday squads and this superior fitness tends to play a huge part in the result of games at this early stage in the season. However, gradually the fitness of other teams is going to improve and the A's should be looking to take control of matches at an earlier stage. Terrace, like Jesmond Lynam are a decent side. The number 9 caused problems and the mid-field worked hard, however Ingham's beautifully dispatched header from Mullan's sweeping cross from the left propelled the A's into a slender lead. What happened next though will be a lesson to Terrace and a warning to the A's. Terrace had competed well throughout the game, but an injury forcing their impressive number 9 off and no-one on the bench cemented their defeat. Garnett grabbed control of the game and Alexander's cool finish began the rout. Dawson (before being substituted for the impressive Young), Bell and Turner all contributed to Terraces humiliation, who by this stage had capitulated to such a state that fouling the opposition seemed the only way forward. Man of the Match, Smith launched himself forward from right-back to coolly finish for the 7-1 score line capping a once again impressive display. The match ended on a sour note as a fifty-fifty challenge saw Martin carried off with a gashed leg, but once again, the A's second half performance had saved them.

Team: J.Poole, M.Smith 1 (MoM), D.Mullan 1, T.Ingham 1, A.Martin, D.Mercer, D.Alexander 1,
T.Burke-Murphy, Adam Bell 1, C.Dawson 1, R.Turner 1