Autumn is officially here as LUL football returned to Dukes Meadow after a hiatus for the summer period.
It was the first game for the newly-formed London Titans 2 Brewers under a new management duo of Paul O’Regan as manager and Ben Hope as assistant. It promises to be an interesting season!
The team kicked off with an away fixture in muggy conditions against Stonewall FC. As with all new teams there were some teething problems for Titans 2 Brewers, and a tentative start to the match gave Stonewall a foothold in the game which they seized in the opening quarter.
Following a break down the right, a low cross from left to right evaded a Titan player and was coolly slotted into the bottom right hand corner, wrong-footing stand-in-keeper-for-the-day Connolly. 0-1
Titans looked to quickly get back into the game. O’Regan played in debutant Rob Barr, who drove into the box and – after some quick feet – was up-ended for an easy penalty decision for the referee. It wasn’t to prove a route back into the game for Titans however.
The usually reliable Felton, rumoured to be already thinking about his celebration, side footed the ball tamely into the keeper’s body. A let off for Stonewall and another blow for the Titans. Cries of “What a sh*t penalty” were heard by those watching on.
As the Titans continued to struggle to get going in the game Stonewall added a second just before the half hour mark. A floated cross from the right of midfield was headed down and into the net, to give Stonewall a strong lead heading toward the break.0-2
Titans did get a final chance to get back into the game before half-time, when some quick feet from Carl Lawrence got him in behind the Stonewall defence for the first time. But under pressure from the covering full back, his effort was saved by the stretching keeper. HT: 0-2
Some choice words at half-time spurred the Titans into action from the restart and all the players reacted to the request for urgency. A beautifully weighted slide pass from Trueman was seized on by Lawrence who managed to slip the ball pass the advancing keeper and into the net. Game On. 1-2
Or not. Within 5 minutes of the restart after some erroneous defending allowed Stonewall restore their two goal advantage and the Titans keeper to the temporarily lose a glove. Titans were at this point however over their first-half hangover, and did not take the goal lying down. 1-3
The impressive Rob Barr was shifted to a central striker role and it was his hard running that resulted in Titans earning a second penalty of the match. Up stepped Chris Felton for a second time; and this time he confidently slotted the ball to the right of the keeper. 2-3
Titans didn’t have to wait long to be back on level terms. Some quick thinking from Ben Hope set Andrew Blevins clear down the left and he made the finish look easy with a sided footed passing finish. 3-3
With Stonewall tiring Titans were still not finished and continued to pour forward in an effort to the win game with the clock against them. There was still time for Steve Miller to shoot from 45 yards, the ball was never found, and new manager O’Regan to send an injury time header over the bar from close range.
Full time: 3-3
Not the win the new Titans management were hoping for but a hard fought point and a battling performance will leave the team with something to build on in the coming fixtures.