London Unity League
Venue: Hackney Marshes
Report by: Steve Groom
Phoenix headed to their home from home hackney marshes looking to get back to winning ways and get our first 3 points of the LUL campaign. Conditions were windy with occasional downpours, some may say as temperamental as our opponents emotions.
Phoenix employed a new formation under directions of midfield maestro Rash, however made a stuttering start when, with only minutes on the clock, a Charlton striker rode a challenge from Denny David. Almost parallel with the goal, the ball spun between the post and a hapless Joao Benfatti. Disbelief could be seen in the Phoenix players faces as the ball crossed the line in how it managed to.
The first half continued with a deflated Phoenix assault and lack of penetrating action, only half chances were made and the first half slowly petered out.
Half time and manager Stephen Michael Groom got his point across, aggression/ passion and belief were the orders from this pep talk.
Immediately Phoenix came flying out the blocks as Callum let loose the shackles of our depressing first half performance charging down the left wing and firing a low dangerous cross spinning through the charlton box which Alistair through himself towards causing the challenging Invicta defender to deflect the ball pass his own goalie, 1-1.
The game continued with more positive play from midfield maestro Rash, Casey and Denny David combining well, during which the defence of Niall O’Domhagain, Stephen Michael Groom, Paul O’Connell and Callum dealt calmly with the long wind assisted balls of the Charlton attack.
A half time chat and swap between centre back and forward James Mabbutt and Stephen Michael Groom now took place, as James Mabbutt’s calmness and distribution from the back would compliment the aggression and communication that the new front line of Harrison Bailey, Jack Bailey and Stephen Michael Groom
Suddenly the balls were coming forward to the attackers as all three started causing havoc to the Invicta defence, minutes later an advanced Jack Bailey dropped a shoulder and flung a pin point cross to blood brother Harrison Bailey flying in at the back post.
The game continued with Harrison Bailey creating, then beating and scoring a great goal, only to be called offside. Charlton now picked up their game as the last ten minutes saw the ball launched repeatedly towards the Phoenix goal. However the defensive partnership of Niall O’Domhagain and James Mabbutt competently dealt with the challenge. A late throw in from Charlton had Phoenix hearts in mouths as it went straight in the net without touching a player, however, it was ruled disallowed by the referee. With both teams having a goal controversially disallowed now the game finished 2-1 Phoenix.
I would like to start with thanking our opponents for what is always a tough and close match and wish them luck for the rest of their season. Phoenix look forward to a visit from Scotland’s very own Hotscots Saturday, hoping to build on their good start start in the GFSN so far.