ActiveWin FC chalked up a second win on the bounce, with another victory over April’s opponents Our Boss. This time, two second-half goals were enough to secure three points, in a professional defensive performance which also yielded the team’s first clean sheet in living memory!
AW began the game in a diamond formation, centered around a midfield three of player-manager Adam Jackson, Bryn May and the returning Gary Maiden.
James Harries took his place between the sticks, with a defensive trio of Eddie Jordan, Eliot Jacob and Ben Skeer, plus fullbacks Josh Luksys-Booth and Sam Benson.
Upfront was a ‘little and large’ pairing of Allan Stevenson and Adam Rowley, whilst Chris Prentice started from the bench.
As the game got underway, it quickly became clear that attack and counter-attack was the order of the day.
Early on, an Our Boss throw-in resulted in an opportunity for May, unfortunately, he miscalculated and the chance went begging. OB immediately went on the counter-attack but couldn’t make it count.
Great interplay between Jackson, Luksys-Booth and Rowley, saw the latter find Stevenson, although he uncharacteristically lost possession.
Soon after, a lively May had the ball in the net with a lovely finish, but the whistle had already blown for offside.
At the other end, Harries was called into action, but gathered the ball with minimum fuss and got it straight out to Stevenson who made the OB defenders work.
Jordan was shouting for options before Stevenson found some space to receive the ball, passing to Luksys-Booth who had made a great run to link up. The ball was back with Stevenson who found Maiden, the midfielder played a quick pass back to Stevenson who turned it out to Benson.
Rowley knocked the ball upfield with Stevenson using his pace to get on the end of it, as AW tried to unlock the Our Boss defence.
Play continued to zip between the teams, in an end to end game, but neither could quite find the final ball.
OB continued to try to create an opportunity but lacked a killer instinct, whilst Rowley tried an audacious long-range shot, that actually wasn’t too far away.
OB were getting too close for comfort, but AW’s back three stood firm.
Stevenson won the ball back but couldn’t quite find May. The pacey forward then took a shot himself but the OB keeper palmed it away and he couldn’t pick out Rowley in the area.
The ball then flashed across the OB goal but noone managed to get on the end of it.
Jordan tried to pick out Luksys-Booth, but OB intercepted. Winning back possession, the skipper found May.
Rowley and Stevenson were working well together up front but couldn’t create that little bit of magic needed to open the scoring. Stevenson ran at the keeper and forced a save.
A good passage of play ensued, with Jackson pulling the strings from the heart of midfield. Benson was looking dangerous, and Rowley headed down towards May, who was working hard to force a way through.
An OB counter attack was shut down by Jacob, before Maiden executed a lovely ball over the top, which unfortunately was a touch too far for Prentice.
Once again OB tried to hit AW on the break but AW counter effectively. Unfortunately, Jackson’s effort was stopped by the keeper on the bounce.
At the other end, Harries played the ball back out to begin yet another AW counter attack.
Stevenson ran at the keeper, forcing a save, Jackson dug the ball out of his feet out to Benson.
Stevenson regained possession, Rowley headed downwards as May was trying to force an opening.
OB countered but shot harmlessly wide.
Maiden pulled off a great long ball, but Prentice couldn’t quite get on the end of it
Jacob pushing forward found Maiden who passed to Stevenson, the ball found it’s way to Jackson whose effort was on target, but the keeper stopped it on the bounce.
Harries made another save and again got the ball straight out.
Stevenson’s blistering pace saw him streak down the wing to keep the play in play and started a good passage of play with Jackson and Rowley and out to Prentice. Prentice hit the side netting
The ref finally blew the whistle, ending what seemed to be a long 45 minutes, but by then May had been forced to come off with a suspected hamstring injury.
May not only couldn’t come back on, but had gone home to ice his leg. This left ActiveWin with not a single substitute for the second half. Having done a charity 10K days before, Maiden was really struggling, but coped manfully in midfield. He wasn’t the only player not at 100% percent.
Luksys-Booth had been causing OB lots of problems and started the second half well, getting the ball out to Benson who found Prentice.
Prentice won a throw in which was taken by Jordan. The skipper then tracked back to snuff out an OB counter-attack, but the shot was miles away anyway.
Rowley brought the ball down but OB intercepted.
Harries played the ball back out to Rowley who played in Stevenson. He sent the OB keeper running out to clear.
Maiden’s movement was severely limited by this point, but he played intelligently, keeping it short to Jordan. Back to Maiden and out to Rowley, a series of smart passes ensued, with Jackson eventually playing a clever ball to Benson.
Soon after, Stevenson played a long ball to Prentice but he couldn’t keep it in. Luksys-Booth won a corner whilst Jacob blocked an OB attempt.
Another good run from Jackson resulted in OB keeper making a save. Unfortunately the AW corner came to nothing.
Benson was felled by an OB player as he stormed into the box, but nothing was given.
Good interplay between Benson and Stevenson saw the latter taking a shot, but it didn’t trouble the OB keeper.
At the other end, OB shot well over the AW crossbar.
Benson was threatening and Harries had perfected getting the ball straight to out to help AW hit OB on the break.
Stevenson did well to keep it in, but shot straight into the keeper’s arms.
1-0 GOAL! A Jordan throw-in started a great passage of play. Fantastic movement from Rowley to pick out Stevenson, he passed to Benson who found the net with a cracking finish. The ball trickled over the line seemingly in slow motion. Stevenson followed the ball into the net but didn’t get a touch.
It wasn’t long before AW doubled their lead.
2-0 GOAL! – Rowley stood his man up before chipping it in. Again Stevenson followed the ball in, to make sure it crossed the line, but left it alone.
Rowley sent Prentice on his way looking to make it three, but the final whistle blew.
Man of the Match: Sam Benson grew into the game, particularly in the second half, he was denied a penalty and scored a lovely goal, but this really was a defensive victory. Eliot Jacob was influential both at the heart of the defensive line, and in driving play forward, but Captain fantastic Eddie Jordan didn’t put a foot wrong. Pulling the strings, he led from the back and set the pace for a comprehensive defensive display.
Verdict: A satisfying victory for an ActiveWin side on the ascendancy. Our Boss never really looked like scoring, but that’s only partly because they lacked a final ball. AW neutralised any threat efficiently and effectively.
Next up, the Summer Cup gets underway, giving AW the chance to use some more of what is growing into a talented and versatile squad. Fingers crossed the winning streak continues!