Wednesday the 18th of January saw the first competitive game of 2012 for the Army Football team as they lined up to play the Amateur Football Alliance at Corinthian Casuals FC in the Southern Counties Championship.
Preparation for the fixture was fractious with a number of unexplained no-shows and players not being released by units, causing real headaches for the Army Management Team.
As a consequence the Army took the field with only one outfield substitute. The match began with some busy play from the AFA who looked confident and competitive when in possession.
Gradually the Army began to work themselves into the game and by the mid point of the first half were beginning to gain the upper hand in an impressive and well fought encounter.
The move of the game generated the first goal with a driven pass into the Left Wing channel being fed inside first time by Sgt ‘Dougy’ Douglass to Sgt ‘Riz’ Rizza who deftly laid the ball off for SSgt Kev Haley to cross towards the penalty spot. Cpl Andy Cottam rose highest, and expertly lifted the ball over the advancing keeper into the net 1-0 Army
This was the signal for the Army to up the tempo and the remainder of the half was spent with the AFA on the defensive. On 44 Minutes the Army regained possession in the middle third and charged into the AFA half, Cpl Danny Haley played a lofted pass into Sgt Luke Spiers on the Right Wing who played a quick ball over the top to the advancing Cottam, whose pace proved decisive as he rounded the hapless keeper and slotted into an empty net. 2-0 Army
The second half provided similar fare as the Army strode forward time and again with chances falling to the Skipper SSgt Glen Davison and to the effervescent Kev Haley who rattled the underside of the bar from 25 yards.
The Army looked comfortable going into the last 15 minutes when the AFA broke down the left, in what looked to be another innocuous foray into the Army half.
A slip and ricochet gave the AFA the chance they needed and although Army Keeper Sgt Ads Collington parried the first strike on target, the AFA number nine Mike Ewin was on hand to drive the ball beneath his body into the net. 2-1 Army
This gave the AFA the momentum they needed and despite the dominance of the Army for so much of the game a lack of fresh legs on the bench meant they struggled to stay with the pace.
Sure enough with only 4 minutes to got the AFA broke down the right again, and this time the cross was neatly flicked on for Mike Ewin to arrive and nod in at the back post. 2-2
A deflated Army side rallied for the last few minutes and despite good possession in the opposition third, could not conjure up the goal they needed.
Bitter disappointment for an under strength Army Team but the destination of the Southern Counties Championship is still in our hands. The IS/SCC double header against the Navy on March 14th will produce the winners.
Army: Collington, Lavelle, Haley, Rizza, Cooper- Tomkins, Emmerson, Davidson, Haley, Cottam, Spiers, Douglas Subs: Dean, Griffiths, Bell
Amateur: Pechhacker (Old Parmiterians), Gavin (Old Salesians), O'Sullivan (Old Ignations), Field (Civil Service), McSweeney (BB Eagles), Simmonds (West Wickham), Kerr (Nottsborough), Eguae (Old Meadonians), Ewin (Nottsborough), Cooper (Nottsborough), Rose (West Wickham), Subs: Hayes (Old Salesians), Lytton (Old Garchonians), Gavin (Old Salesians)
Referee: Pat Ryan
Assistants: Alperen Nayir, Deen Olugunna
Fourth: Leon Militiadous