Five star performance from the firsts
Every now and again comes along a performance that will live long in the memory, we alway hark back to the Beckenham match in the Vase, but Saturday's game could join that. Against a high-flying Walton the lads were magnificent from the first minute to th
Goals from Ayden Richards, his second in two games since joining us, and another from Matt Ferdinando gave us a two goal half time lead, and three goals in an eight minute burst from Andrew White, Ferdinando and Asa Rixon-Nicholls sealed the game.
Darren Salmon had a strong squad to select from, as proven by the bench with the club all time appearance holder, Liam Holden, the experienced Craig Hastings, Craig Nelson and Andrew White, plus a fit again Joe Mead all on it.
The visitors started brightly with their lively wingers Athan Smith-Joseph and Malachi Thomas looking to get at us from the off, and in the opening exchanges good work by Howard Newton set up Athan Smith-Joseph, but he was denied by a tremendous block by Owen Davies. We then had a scare when Smith-Joseph fed Thomas who look to have been fouled in the area, but stayed on his feet and the chance went begging.
Having weathered the bright start by Walton, the lads grew into the game, and took the lead on 15 minutes. Matt Tanton was pulled down by Thomas, Davies delivered the ball, Rixon headed back across goal, and Richards took advantage of a mistake by Julian Hornby to fire beyond Brendan Norris for 1-0.
Walton almost hit back immediately when a long ball over the top found Flo Bojaj, but the striker was denied by Michael Eacott who was quickly off his line. It was almost 2-0 on 21 minutes when Richards forced Sullivan into a mistake, Daryl Cooper-Smith picked up the loose ball and saw his shot fumbled by Norris, Richards reacted quickest and squared to Cooper-Smith and he was denied by a superb last gasp challenge by Sullivan.
We were almost caught out three minutes later when we failed to make the most of a corner, and allowed Walton to break, Jamil Okai delivered into the area, and Davies did well to clear, and then repeated the process from the second ball and we cleared the danger completely. We increased our lead on 28 minutes, when Sullivan gifted the ball to Ferdinando, he beat a couple before drilling low beyond Norris for 2-0. Salmon had to make a change though, replacing the injured Cooper-Smith with Andrew White.
Ten minutes from the break and Walton were almost back in the game, Bojaj did well and fed Smith-Joseph, his deep cross found Thomas but he could only direct his volley wide. On 37 minutes a decent delivery by Thomas almost found Bojaj, but again Davies defended superbly and we cleared.
Walton continued to put us under pressure as they look for that way back into the game, but despite a fair amount of possession in and around our area, they were unable to force any clear cut chances.
Matt Farrell found his way into the book for a foul on Jim Fenlon on the stroke of half time, and we went in at the break with a healthy 2-0 lead.
Salmon was forced into making another change at the start of the second half, with Richards going off injured, and being replaced by Liam Holden. Walton also made a change at the break with Thomas and Okai off and TJ Nkoma and Elliott Simpson coming on.
We almost increased our lead immeiately in the second half, Matt Auletta and Jeff Addo-Dankwa linked up superbly with Auletta's cross finding White, and his low shot struck the base of the right hand post with Ferdinando being denied by a great save by Norris from the rebound.
At the other end and Smith-Joseph got beyond Addo-Dankwa but was stopped in his tracks by skipper Aaron Bogle. We went close again on 52 minutes with a move involving Farrell, Ferdinando, Holden and Auletta and ending with a Ferdinando shot going over the bar. A couple of minutes later and White dragged an effort wide of the right hand post.
It was 3-0 on 57 minutes when Ferdinando and Holden linked up superbly and Ferdinando's low cross was flicked home by White, which signalled a goal rush for SCR.
Two minutes later and it was 4-0, a ball into the area was headed back across goal, half cleared by Fenlon and Ferdinando launched himself with a diving header for his second of the game.
Scoring was completed on 65 minutes, when a great ball into the area by Addo-Dankwa was guided home by Rixon. The goal signalled the end of the excitement as both sides accepted their fate.
We made our final change on 76 minutes with man of the match, the outstanding Matt Ferdinando being replaced by a very welcome sight, with the return of Joe Mead, after a long injury lay-off.
The whistle went, signalling the end of probably our most complete performance for many seasons.