ActiveWin FC continued their flying start to the season, with a 5-1 victory over Our Boss.
The win preserved AW FC’s 100 percent record and cemented their place at the top of the JP Business League’s first division. However, they made fairly hard work of it.
It was a cold and crisp night at the Salford Community Centre, as the team lined up for their first match of 2019.
There were some notables changes to the line up which beat W&G Plastering 4-0 back in December.
First Achieve‘s James Harries continued in goal, Ben Skeer has now bid ActiveWin a fond farewell, but Josh Booth was back in action at left-back, with Tom Perera on the right. Eliot Jacob, Bryn May and Captain Fantastic Eddie Jordan formed the familiar back three. Player-manager Adam Jackson commanded the midfield.
Gary Maiden and Allan Stevenson both dropped out, making way for friends of the club Phil Pole and Marcus Jackson to return, though the latter was a sub. Jack Van-Gelder made his debut up front, with Sam Benson dropping in from the wing and Adam Rowley drifting with purpose.
ActiveWin were first out of the traps – Rowley to A Jackson to Van-Gelder, who tried an ambitious effort, which sailed over the bar.
Rowley headed the ball down whilst Perera got back, forcing OB back to their keeper to try to start again.
Try they did, Perera was getting amongst it but didn’t quite clear the danger. Never fear, though, May was on top of it.
A Jordan throw-in to A Jackson, up the pitch to Benson and back through the channels.
GOAL! 1-0: The lively Van-Gelder played in Rowley, who dispatched a sweet low strike into the far bottom corner, to open the scoring.
ActiveWin quickly went looking for a second, Perera found Pole, but the latter couldn’t quite get the contact he wanted.
Van-Gelder had another go, but shot over the bar.
Good footwork from A Jackson kept OB on their toes, while Van-Gelder tried to play Booth in. OB countered, but Jordan was typically calm at the back.
Perera, Van-Gelder, Pole and Jackson were working well together to try to create an opening, whilst OB failed to trouble Harries at the other end.
GOAL! 2-0: Rowley kept the ball under pressure from two players, then turned provider, sending Pole through, who stroked the ball into the net with consummate ease.
OB tried to reciprocate, but the effort was directed straight at Harries and a follow-up throw-in was dealt with by May.
Jacob indulged in his customary jaunt forward, deciding to go for goal himself, but put it wide.
OB won a couple of corners, but again shot straight to Harries.
AW pushed out through Rowley, but Pole couldn’t bring it down.
Booth applied pressure to keep OB at bay, before Pole delivered a lovely little ball to Rowley, which went out for a throw-in.
A Jackson floated a nice ball to Perera who crossed, but OB cleared. Back in through Rowley, resulting in a Benson corner. Jordan headed down but Pole missed his chance.
Great pressure from AW put OB off and they messed up probably their best chance to start to redress the balance.
Lovely link-up play between May and A Jackson, to Rowley before M Jackson saw it out for a throw-in.
Rowley was attempting to push AW forward, and Benson tried to strike, Pole linked up with Rowley, but he was deemed offside.
With Rowley getting harried, Jacob pitched a ball over the top for M Jackson, unfortunately, the opportunity came to nothing.
OB GOAL: 2-1: OB’s persistence finally paid off as they headed in, pulling the score back to 2-1.
AW should have killed the game off much earlier, but were now in a precarious position and needed to find another goal sooner rather than later.
A Jackson saw his shot blocked for a corner. Jordan delivered a beautiful cross, the OB keeper snatched at it but eventually secured the ball.
Van-Gelder to A Jackson to Pole but the shot required no effort from the OB keeper.
Van-Gelder again, this time to M Jackson, who did well in the build-up play, but his final shot wasn’t convincing.
Shortly after, Jordan had the ball in the net, but the ref disallowed it for a penalty.
Rowley was all set to take it, but Jacob insisted, striding cockily up to the spot and…hit the crossbar.
It was a shame, as Jacob had played well until this point, but the jokes and largely good-natured ribbing will continue for some time to come!
At the other end, Harries came out to deal with an OB effort – a confident keeper in form.
Pole was looking to break through, with support from A Jackson and Rowley, and AW won a couple of corners.
Van-Gelder tried a long-range strike, but shot over the bar.
The second half started much the same as the first, with great movement from Van-Gelder, and Rowley dropping back in order to push AW forward.
Pole displayed excellent control with his first touch, but took the ball too and hit the side netting.
OB too were going for goal, but May and Jacob maintained composure at the back.
A OB free-kick found its way around the AW wall, but missed the target.
Good work from Jordan and Jacob, and Benson dealing with OB danger.
AW looked the more likely to score, however, with a couple of half chances and deflections keeping OB alive.
GOAL! 3-1: Booth found A Jackson who let fly with a stinging strike, which flew into the net.
Booth followed that up with a brilliant block.
Benson did well to bring the ball down, A Jackson found Rowley, who tried a long-range shot, which in fairness wasn’t miles away.
OB failed to ruffle Harries.
Perera rolled the ball past the far post, but he was offside anyway, then got back to clear off the line.
A foul on Perera saw AW awarded a free-kick. Pole curled it round, but hit the keeper.
OB weren’t going down without a fight, and hit the post and the side netting in quick succession.
GOAL! 4-1: But AW weren’t finished. Rowley took it forward, A Jackson did the hard work, then took it himself, and toe-poked it into the roof of the net, to complete a classy brace.
A resurgent AW went looking for a fifth. May got ball to Benson but Van-Gelder ran out of pitch.
Rowley took a short corner, but the OB keeper came out to deal with it
GOAL! 5-1: A Jackson played in Pole who took it well and fired home around the keeper.
OB tried a last-ditch attempt but, inevitably, shot straight at Harries.
Jacob redeemed himself somewhat for his earlier penalty miss with a well-timed clearance, as ActiveWin closed out another comprehensive victory.
Line up: Harries, Jordan, May, Jacob, Booth, Perera, Pole, Jackson, Rowley, Benson, Van-Gelder
Subs: M Jackson
Man of the Match: Van-Gelder enjoyed a lively and product debut, May and Jacob were strong at the back, but Adam Jackson capped an accomplished first-half performance with two cracking goals in the second period, to ensure OB didn’t recover.
Verdict: Despite some missed opportunities and dodgy decisions going against them, ActiveWin won the game by some distance and will take the confidence of their unbeaten record into their two February outings. Topping the league with a healthy goal difference and strong squad ActiveWin are the team to beat this season.