London Unity League
Venue - Regents Park
Report by: Stephen Groom
Phoenix returned to LUL action at one of the capitals most glorious LUL pitches at Regents Park, home of reigning champions Soho. The sun was shinning for the first time in weeks on a soggy pitch, with no wind or rain in sight.
Manager Stephen Michael Groom running late due to admin issues arrived to see his warriors raring to go on the changing room benches. A quick pep talk and instructions relayed, the team unleashed themselves into the warm up with Rash.
The game kicked off with Phoenix playing in their triumphant GFSN final colours of white and black, attempting to psych out the opposition before a ball was even kicked.
In the early stages of the game Phoenix looked calm and composed stringing about passes with ease and precision. Casey in his newly owned position of DM took charge of the middle of the pitch winning back possession and playing the ball into the feet of Declan Evans and Rash. From here numerous attacks were evolving, with the two playing through balls to Philip Anthony and Harrison Bailey both either taking on their men and delivery shots or crosses in the box. Phoenix were knocking on the door and in charge.
As the game continued Soho had a rare foray forward from which a game of ping pong occurred within the Phoenix box, as Stephen Michael Groom, Liam Sure, James Mabbutt and eventually Denny David through themselves in the way of and finally cleared the ball. To which it ended up at the feet of goal machine Jack Bailey who masterfully beat his man and the hapless goalie, who to this point had been keeping Soho in the game, 1-0 Phoenix.
As the half came to a close the game continued in Phoenix’s favour, with great passing and movement throughout the team and a solid back four.
Half time, manager Stephen Michael Groom spoke to his troops with sentences full of superlatives about their performance so far.
Second half, 10 minutes in and disaster strikes. A Soho free kick just outside the box is lifted over Vikram Joseph 1-1. At this point substitute Steve Sawyer, finally locates his contact lenses and places on his yellow jersey and goalie gloves.
As the half continues Phoenix pick themselves up and go again with chance after chance. Then, reeling from a previous missed chance, the magical Jack Bailey slots home to make it 2-1 Phoenix. As the game enters its final phase, introduction of Paul O'Connell and Shazlur Choudhury pay dividends to help slow down a final push by Soho who conjure two great chances athletically pushed away by Steve Sawyer in the Phoenix goal. Apart from those attempts the Phoenix back line stays resolute, frustrating, harassing and demoralising the opposition.
Final whistle, 2-1 Phoenix and an amazing team performance to make it 5 wins out of 7 this season in all competitions.
I’d like to start by thanking Soho FC for what is always a strongly competed match and wish them luck for the rest of their season. Phoenix looked forward to a weekend away in Liverpool to play Mersey in the GFSN league and continue our unbeaten start in the competition.