The much awaited north London derby finally arrived and Perhaps a little too hyped up for some. The first half an hour was all Winchmore Hill and more specifically Andy Barrells half an hour. Our team was warned that he was a handful and still we couldn’t stop him causing all sorts of trouble. A lesson hopefully learned for the future, but he certainly gave us a lesson on the day. We were 2 goals down in the first 15 minutes and we were shell shocked, this was a first time we had been put under this kind of scrutiny. After the first 2 goals Jack robery had to pull off another 2 saves that could have wrapped the game up for the Hill, tipping a free kick on the the bar and over along with a great one vs one save. In the last 15 minutes of the first half we made 2 substitutions (Using the roll on roll off philosophy that we have embraced) bringing on Alosie Ohuonu and David Greene which helped to settle and take the game to Winchmore Hill. A couple of set pieces caused them problems, with David hitting the bar from a drop down in the box with his first touch. This was by far our worst half of football all season, and credit to Winchmore Hill for their part in our poor performance.
Roll on to the half time break, where we had to try and get things back on track. What was said seemed to work, and we were back to our normal game pressing the Hill from the off.
It was the reverse of the first half with 2 quick goals from accurate corners by Matt Roles. The first one fumbled in by their keeper and the second a bit of a scramble headed home by Max Harrowell.
Back on equal terms, there was only one team in it with Norsemen having most of the possession and it was back to how we have been playing all season. There were notable individual performances that helped with this turnaround but the highlight for me was Alosie Ohuonu who for the second week running was outstanding with and without the ball. Just when things were getting better we had 2 set backs, firstly Max Harrowell coming off with cramp then David Greene with an ankle injury. Both players influential to our return to form, but it was time to make changes with our rotation policy anyway so they were easy decisions. Jake Lawrence went to centre back and looked like he had played there all season. The game swiftly went to full time with everything to play for.
Our second game in a row going to extra time so it was not a new experience. We tried to win the game during extra time but to no avail, so it was going down to the wire and penalties.
The Norsemen boys were asked who wanted to take the penalties? Six players immediately came forward and stipulated which particular penalty they would take, so it all fell nicely into place with no stress!!! Our first three takers all stepped up and slotted them away which luckily was all that was needed. Unfortunately for the Hill things didn’t go quite so well as they missed the target twice and one was saved by our very own Jack Robery. Scoring one out of four was not good enough and the win was ours.
All in all I think it was a good game for the crowd of around 200 but tense for those involved. With a bit of luck we will have many more derbys in the coming seasons.
In summary we must improve our defending, we seem to let in too many weak goals that could be avoided. Sometimes it is defending with the right numbers and sometimes poor choices or concentration.
The man of the Match is going to upset Jack Robery as he made 2 crucial saves at an important time and saved a penalty. But this week it goes to Alosie Ohuonu for his high performance over his last 2 games with his controlled defending and composure with the ball.
Please find all pictures and videos from this classic cup tie on the media page of the website.
Gary Harrowell, First XI Manager