vs Wembley (H)
SSML Premier Division
30th March 2019
On a Sunny warm day with no wind which was a marked contrast to the away game, Arlesey lined up against a very big Wembley side. Arlesey started this game with much more purpose than some recent games; an early FK was flicked on by a defender but well taken by the keeper and a cross in from Alex O’Brien was volleyed by Phil Payne but it was blocked but came out to Adam Mead who hit a good shot on target that was well taken by Raheem Belgrave in goal. Wembley countered with a cross in from Femi-Gil that was over hit but collected by Filho but his cross was loose as well and cleared. O‘Brien latched onto a firm header from James Hatch and hit a good shot that Belgrave saved well before Wembley again tried to go down the wings with both Femi-Gil and Filho but Robbie Ponting dealt with both comfortably. He also did well punching over the tall Femi-Gil which left the big forward on the deck requiring treatment although it was never a foul.
Arlesey should have taken the lead on 20 mins as a FK right in the corner was delivered by O’Brien just over the keeper reach and Aedan Gaffney came in at the far post but was unable to get his header the right side of the post from close range. Another good Arlesey move saw Mead feed Hatch into the box, he found Gaffney who cross to the far post and Ryan Lamond but he volleyed wide of the post when he maybe could have taken an extra touch. Another good ball in was well cut out by D’Alessio as Gaffney attacked into the box and as Arlesey kept up the pressure Hatch won a corner that Aaron Gooch headed just wide. A good run by Gaffney saw him beat 2 defenders before attacking into the box but he lost control at the vital moment and it was collected by the keeper. A cross in by Lamond was headed out for a corner that was headed onto Lamond who picked out Gaffney with his cross but Gaffney’s volley scraped just over the bar as another good chance slipped by. A counter by Femi-Gill down the right was stopped by Phil Payne conceding a corner that was delivered deep and IIyas Mohamed put wide of the post under pressure from Ponting.
Another chance for Arlesey saw a cross in from Hatch to Payne in a good position but he was beaten by the bounce of the ball and it came off his shoulder rather than his chest. Wembley tried to make some moves forward but they were easily cut out by the Arlesey defence. Mead was fouled about 25 yards out and O’Brien lined up the FK but he hit the wall, the ball came to Lamond who crossed back in but it was cleared. Another FK after a foul on Hatch saw the ball come back out to Hatch who hit a good volley but it was well taken by Belgrave so the score remained 0-0 at HT.
With the start of the 2nd period Arlesey were disrupted by 1st Gaffney getting a knock and requiring treatment after which he returned to the pitch and then Mead getting a knock and he had to be replaced by Lorrell Smith. Wembley pressed forward at this point and Femi-Gil had a shot that was deflected goal ward but Ross Taylor did well to clear it off the line, the ball came out to Filho who found Ogunsola who hit a shot that was well taken by Ponting. The game was more end to end now; Hatch headed onto Smith who returned it to Hatch whose shot was blocked and cleared and at the other end Filho broke through and tried to chip Ponting but he just stretched to reach it and the danger was cleared. A cross in found Smith who volleyed just past the post and Femi Gil worked through again but was stopped by a very good tackle from Adam Randall conceding a corner and getting injured in the process. While he was off the pitch D’Alessio headed wide and then Arlesey were forced to replace Randall with Jason Darvall.
Smith looked through before he was fouled by Mohamed who was booked and the FK was cleared before a great ball from Lamond dropped perfectly for Smith who attacked with two defenders close to his heals; he put the ball over the advancing keeper and also just over the bar. Arlesey replaced Phil Payne with Charlie Moss to try to find the break through whist Wembley made a double change as Mateus was replaced by Rhys Lendore -Martin and Filho was replaced by Hani Berchihe.
Moss was felled on almost his 1st touch and although the impact actually tore his shorts the refs didn’t see it as a foul. A good move by Hatch to Moss saw him find smith and he turned well in the box before shooting wide. Another good move saw Moss get put through one on one with the keeper but the young striker was unable to beat Belgrave who save really well with his foot.
The ball came back to Lamond who exchanged the ball well with Hatch and hit a good shot that pulled another good save out of the keeper.
Babalola was booked for another foul on Moss who was causing Wembley problems. The FK was headed down to Smith who hit a good volley only for Belgrave to make another good save. Wembley changed an injured player (whose number I could not see) with Jack Wacker who immediately lived up to him name as he felled O’Brien with his 1st touch and received a yellow card before he had touched the ball. Going into the final minutes the FK came in and was headed out as far as O’Brien who hit a great shot past 2 defenders that was on target before Belgrave made possibly his best save as he was unsighted pushing the ball wide. The resultant corner was too deep and drifted out. Arlesey were pushing for the win; Moss put a good ball into Smith who was crowded out but got the ball back to O’Brien who hit another good shot that was again saved by Belgrave.
With that most people thought “good 0-0 draw” but a quick final break by Ogunsola was stopped by the defence before the ball rebounded to Femi-Gil who hit a speculative shot that looked wide before hitting a defender and looping up over Ponting and dropping just under the cross bar to give an unlikely 0-1 93rd min winner to Wembley as the final whistle blew. Football can indeed be a cruel game.
This was MUCH better from Arlesey with stacks of chances created, good efforts on goal and good defending when needed. But they failed to find the back of the net again and ultimately paid the price in the cruellest way possible. Next week is a difficult away derby game as we go to 4th placed Biggleswade Utd and Arlesey must take this game with them to that game and just hope that their quality will show through and luck will maybe look just a little more favourably on them.
Team : Robbie Ponting, Lewis Sinclair, Ross Taylor, Phil Payne (Moss74), Adam Randall (Darvall 56), Aaron Gooch, Ryan Lamond, Adam Mead (Smith 50), James Hatch, Alex O’Brien ©, Aedan Gaffney.
Subs; Lorrell Smith, Jason Darvall Ricky Lawrence, Stuart Richardson, Charlie Moss.