Once again player availability was an issue, with a number of favours having to be called in to field a starting eleven. Injuries, work commitments and other factors are continuing to make it a challenging start for the team and once again Norsemen were only able to begin the match with the bare eleven as they waited on late arrivals to bolster the squad during the match.
Norsemen got off to a strong start and it wasn't long before the scoring was opened. Some neat work down the left flank from Tom Collier resulted in a nicely weighted pass for Dan Williams to finish and set Norsemen on their way. The joy for Williams quickly turned to despair however as he suffered a recurrence of a hamstring injury and was forced from the field barely 15 minutes into the contest. Without any substitutes at this stage, Norsemen were forced into playing with 10 men until reinforcements arrived just after half time.
With only 10 men Norsemen were still looking the stronger of the two teams, with Roey Hunt and Stevie Morgan dominating the midfield battles allowing the Blues to dictate the game. The second goal came from an unlikely source though on the breakaway. Having defended a corner, Thenesh Naathen found himself charging forward and set free behind the opposition defense from a perfectly timed through ball. He duly rounded the keeper to open his senior Norsemen account.
Norsemen were in control but the boat started rocking a little at this stage. Having 10 men was beginning to take its toll with injuries to Collier and Andy Grant hampering their efforts and fatigue setting in across the park. As if by design, Matt Rogers turned up not long after the half to give Norsemen the full complement, allowing first team manager James Owen some respite when shifted from right back to up front. Tajohn Brissett was next to turn up and gave the team the unusual luxury of having a substitute!
Norsemen were becoming more and more dominant at this stage and were rewarded when Ollie Lewis broke free in the left side of the box to score. His first effort was well saved but he made no mistake with the second and was good reward for his efforts across the day. Two games, two goals and some very tired legs earned his post match beer.
The loudest cheers of the day came shortly after when more good work from Collier was finished with a delicate touch from Owen, much to the disappointment of the onlooking first team captain who no doubt didn't hear the end of it in the bar that evening!
Finishing touches were applied by Grant heading home from close range from a Morgan corner. At 5 nil, he has scored more important goals but the relief was there to see after going last season scoreless.
A soft goal was conceded late but the job was long done by this stage. After a very difficult start in the league this cup win hopefully proves to be the tonic the Blues need to jump-start the season. Another cup match awaits next week before the job begins in climbing the league table.