Wed 22nd October 2003 Garnett A 7 (2) vs. (0) 0 Real Ma-Dividend B

And so, the inter-mural cup kicked off yesterday with many a fourth division team dreaming of giant-killing glory and a place in the next round. Fourth division teams are indeed dangerous entities as a few of the first division sides found out, newly formed teams have to start down in the depths of the lowest inter-mural league and work their way up, this providing a breeding ground of unfound and promising talent. Unfortunately for Real Ma-Dividend B (Garnett A's cup opponents), they have none of this talent and last season saw the A's beat their A's side 6-0 in the cup also. And so, with the glorious use of hindsight, it was really set in stone that a highly motivated A's side ripped through Ma-Dividend B after a cautious opening to win 7-0 with Alexander and Dawson both claiming hat-tricks.

But oh, it could have been so different. Ma-Dividend almost went through via default as the A's were stranded outside the union with no kit because of a mix up and lack of communication with the Saturday team. Luckily, skipper Alex Martin sorted out another kit and the A's broke every driving rule to get to close house for the match.
Matt Smith and Dave Mercer were welcomed back from injury and illness, the latter putting in a commanding display to earn Man of the Match. However, it was also excellent to see Mark Rogers returning into the squad after a lengthy injury lay-off.
The loss of strikers Bell and Thompson prompted a change constituting a 4-3-2-1 formation with Mercer holding in midfield and lone striker Dawson supported by Turner and Sammons in advanced wing-back positions.

Although discussed in pre-season by the management team of Alexander, Martin and Rogers, the A's took a little while to adapt to this formation, the opening spell scrappy although hardly surprising due to a combative opposition. Ma-Dividend did work hard and indeed had nothing to lose, but they were simply not good enough earning themselves only a handful of chances/shots on target. The A's were very rarely put under any kind of pressure and controlled the game due to the vast majority of the possession and the increasingly impressive passing football that the A's employ.

Naturally it was to be a scrappy goal that put Garnett in front, Dawson beating the keeper to the ball and watching it bobble into the bottom corner. Defensively sound and increasingly assured the main playing area was in the final third of the pitch allowing good practice for the A's to formulate that 'killer' ball and take their opportunities in front of goal. However, at the break it was only 2-0 with Dawson claiming his second after more comedy hi-jinks from the Ma-Dividend keeper, Smith also going close, lobbing narrowly over the bar after a surging run from the back.

The floodgates really opened as the second half kicked off with Alexander scoring two identical goals early on, both times shooting low inside the keepers near post after ghosting down the right channel. What was left of a Ma-Dividend then crumbled with Garnett having what must have been close to 75% of the possession. Mercer was as commanding as ever and the typically industrious Burke-Murphy and Turner both caused numerous problems; Samson was equally impressive down the right, both wingers working well once again with their fullbacks Mullan and Smith. Hat-tricks were claimed as Alexander coolly slotted a penalty into the right hand corner and Dawson rounded the keeper to get his well-earned third. Substitutes Rogers, Tart and Van-Savooyen all performed well with Rogers in particular looking impressive with his neat passing football. The rout was finished by substitute Van-Savooyen claiming his first for the club with a neat turn and finish low into the bottom corner.

And so the A's progress to the next round of the cup but they will not get and easier game this season especially with the next cup game rumoured to be against fellow Division 1 title contenders Athletico Jizzmen. The football of the A's is improving every game and gradually as players return from injury and absence, they are certainly a strong side. However, there is still the tendency to hang on to the ball needlessly, when swift simple passes are surely the key to winning games at this level and testing the keeper also crucial. There are indeed sterner tests ahead for the A's starting with the Lawyers next week, but this was a professional display with the team happy with the result.

Team: J.Poole, M.Smith, D.Mullan, T.Ingham, A.Martin (c), D.Mercer (MoM), M.Sammons,
T.Burke-Murphy, C.Dawson 3, D.Alexander 3, R.Turner
Subs: M.Rogers, V.Van-Savooyen 1, J.Almond