We once again welcomed Luton Tigers to Crawley Road for a friendly.
The game got underway and it was Luton who started much the brighter. The home team were second to every ball in midfield, and the away side playing some neat one and two touch football, were giving the home side a master class in how to play quickly through tight spaces. They took an early and deserved lead, playing through the middle, and then finding the unmarked player at the back post who calmly finished 0-1. They quickly doubled their lead, the home side never got set for the corner, and ball was powerfully headed home 0-2. Whirlwinds just hadn’t got out of the blocks, and weren’t competing at all in the game. It got a whole lot worse as a cross was allowed to come too easily and Luton got a third 0-3. A re-shuffle in midfield and some soul searching from the team, brought a positive response, Jack M launching a long ball for Ajiri to race clear of the defence and finish with aplomb 1-3.
It was the lift the home team desperately needed, the front three were now combining and causing the Luton defence all kinds of problems, with their pace and skill, Ibu fed Ajiri with a lovely through ball and he again made the finish look easy 2-3. Roles were reversed and it was now the home side dominating in midfield, they drew level with Brandon working some magic in the right channel, feeding Sam who drifted in from the left to score 3-3. It was a breathtaking first half hour, full of goals and ascendancy swinging from one side to to the other. Luton still not out of it, despite sacrificing a three goal lead then tipped the balance in their favour, again a cross was to easily put in the box and then not well defended at the back post to allow the attacker to tap in 3-4. The home team took it on the chin, Ajiri played Sam through, and centre of goal he was upended with a tackle from behind. A free kick centre of goal twenty yards out, Sam stepped up and curled a dipping shot over the wall, it hit the inside of the top left hand post and in to the net, a supreme piece of individual brilliance 4-4.
Half time was a bit of a dressing down for the team, they hadn’t gone in to the game with the correct attitude and we had paid an early price for it, however we had showed great character to drag ourselves from the canvas, and draw level. We needed to put in a top second half performance to make up for the first half.
Second half got underway, and it was again Luton who started the better, a reaction probably to a dressing down they got at half time after throwing away a three goal lead. Despite their superiority in midfield the home defence was holding them at arms length, but it was the home team who took the lead, Ajiri completing his hat trick with a swift counter attack 5-4. At the other end Luton created a good chance but the shot bounced off the bar. It was a pivotal moment, as the home team were now looking a real threat every time they went forward, Ajiri and Ibu combined for the latter to calmly finish after going 1 v 1 against the ‘Keeper 6-4. The home team were now rampant, and were breaking forward and scoring at will, the front three of Sam, Ajiri & Ibu tearing wholes in the Luton defence, Ajiri adding another two goals to his tally, Ibu doubling his tally and the pick of the bunch was a deft lobbed finish from Sam to complete his hat trick, final score 10-4.
Scorers: Ajiri (5), Sam (3), Ibu (2)
Summary: This game was a mirror image of our season, in equal parts, we were rubbish, average & brilliant! The start of the game was all about attitude, we didn’t start the game in the right way mentally. Showed great character to drag ourselves back in to the game, and then for the last 30 minutes it looked like we could score almost at will.
M.O.T.M: It was a strange game with all players having good and bad spells, Ajiri looked a threat and is growing in to the central striker role, Thomas & Jack C at least in the second half brought some stability at the back. This weeks award goes to Sam, who was creative with the ball and two of his goals were superb pieces of individual skill.