Cosmos came away from their visit to Walton Casuals with their undefeated run intact — though only just. If 2-1 was a slim margin of victory, however, it did not do justice to the way the MMFC side had dominated for most of the match.
From the off, the first half saw Cosmos lay siege to the Casuals’ goal, Elliot cannoning in a series of shots from range while a cast of wingers — Tye, Freddie, Ted and Leo — rotated from the subs bench and all caused problems for the opposition. Arguably, the team's wing play has been one of the biggest improvements over last season, and Saturday's performance again demonstrated that Coach Chris has several players he can call on to fulfil this role.
Moments before the half time whistle, a mix-up at the back gave Casuals their first chance, which they managed to put in the back of the net. The goal was so against the run of play that Cosmos looked in shock as they walked off the pitch at the break. Up to that point, the match had showcased one of Cosmos' most assured performances to date. Jeremias and Harry had ruthlessly snuffed out any dangerous runs the Casuals made into Cosmos territory, their work made easier by the efforts of others tracking back.
After half time, however, it was the battling of Louis Giggins, playing in his favoured attacking midfield role, that stood out for Coach Chris. He called on the squad not to let their heads drop and to each show the same determination as Louis G. It was a message that appeared to sink in. Cosmos raised their game, battling harder in the middle of the park. Louis E and Tom were key to ensuring the Casuals were always kept under pressure. Inevitably, the breakthroughs came. In the space of three minutes Louis G had managed to score twice - the first through his trademark scrapping determination, the second the product of some well worked build up passing.
There were decent attempts on goal from Ted and Tom, but it was Louis G that looked close to scoring again and taking home the match ball. But without another goal, Cosmos' back line could not afford to be complacent. Kyle, hardly called on all game, showed excellent concentration to push a rare shot from the Casuals over his bar. As the final whistle approached there was one last test for Cosmos when a looping ball broke to the Casuals' best player, who managed to muscle past one Cosmos defender and get a shot - bobbling, but goal-bound - past the keeper. Thankfully, Harry had the presence of mind to race back, getting to the ball just in time to make a goal-line clearance that allowed Cosmos fans to go home celebrating the victory the team's performance deserved.
In his post-match interview, Coach Chris said Louis E's performance had stood out. When he came on in the second half, Louis's interceptions, passes and tackles impressed the manager. He also bravely took a ball in the face - and carried on without breaking his stride. Tough guy.