Woodmansterne Hyde Panthers 2 - Moor Mead Athletic 5
Athletic kept up their hugely impressive start to the season with an away win versus Woodmansterne Hyde Panthers who were tough and determined opponents as ever. Up front the partnership between Zac and Shaifulah goes from strength to strength, while Louis was effervescent in midfield, Will Sutton unlucky not to score, and Ollie precise and intelligent as ever.
Moor Mead were straight into their stride from the whistle. Miles clipped the bar with a powerful header from a corner, while the watching fathers were still bemoaning the closure of Woodmansterne’s notable bacon butty bar.
Then a beautiful move from Will W at the back, through Zac, found Ollie, who produced a stunning pass for SHAIFULAH to run on to, and drive low past the keeper (1-0 to Moor Mead)
The Parakeets began to ping the ball around with great flair. Shaifulah hussled down the right, and found Zac, who set up OLLIE for a clinical finish (2-0).
In this period Moor Mead looked imperious, and likely to score at will. If the match was a boxing contest, the ref would have stepped in to save Woodmansterne from further punishment. Zac marauded down the left again, the defence like rabbits in the head lights, and Shaifulah shot wide.
Ollie went close with a chip, and instant control by Zac from a throw-in, saw a Shaifulah toe poke crash against the bar. At the other end Dilly and Louis were both forced off by heavy challenges, but Woodmansterne’s forays into the final third weren't giving Alec too much to worry about.
In contrast, Will Sutton’s exquisite chip on the turn hit the bar, Ollie tested the keeper from distance, and then fed Shaifulah with another sumptuous ball for a near-carbon copy of the opening goal, but the shot clipped the left post, and stayed out.
A third goal seemed certain, and duly arrived when a dipping Moor Mead corner caused panic in the Woodmansterne defence and resulted in an OWN GOAL off a stray leg in the centre of the goal (3-0).
Will S and Shaifulah again went close just before the break, as the Parakeets turned the screw. To their credit, the home side emerged for the second half looking like a different team, while Moor Mead went into their shell.
A striker took advantage of momentary hesitation between William and Alec to stab the ball home (3-1), and then Alec did well to parry a wicked cross from the left, but was powerless to stop Woodmansterne smashing home the rebound (3-2).
Suddenly, the swagger that typified the Parakeets in the first half was replaced by uncertainty and doubt, and from nowhere they seemed to be hanging on.
However, after peppering the woodwork before the break. their luck turned. Ollie set ZAC free down the left, and his bullet of a shot crashed against the near post and in off the keeper’s backside (4-2).
This seemed to steady the Parakeets. Zac careered down the left once more, and SHAIFULAH slotted home emphatically into the far corner (5-2).
The rest of the game was a procession: Will S went close from distance, Miles forced a great diving save, and Louis lobbed over from a corner. Then Zac and Louis combined three times in quick succession, but couldn’t quite apply the coup de grace.
Two games, two big wins, a hatful if goals, and some lovely football: it’s all set up for a show down with Albury Eagles next week which will be a tough test.
More of the same against one of the more dangerous teams in the league, and the Parakeets can dare to dream.