Match Report | Summerstown Casuals 0 -1 Barnes Stormers
Barnes Stormers saw off Summerstown Casuals with a 75th minute winner from winger Joseph Zubaidy.
With their first league game of the season after the November lockdown, Barnes went into this game looking to avenge the home loss they suffered at the hands of Summerstown at Overton Park a month prior.
First obstacle of the day was to obtain nets and pegs as the council lock up was, well, locked up and so Summerstown had to plead with another local team to borrow their nets for our match. Nets set up, we were ready to warm up - although by this time Barnes had notched up two late drop outs (Conor and Khalil both unfit) and Abdul was MIA. Stress levels were high for management duo Jacko and Ash at this point but they had 11 and made Mo Saibu captain for the first time on his 18th appearance for the club.
Barnes started off a little slowly, although the domination in the centre of the pitch was clear to see, it didn't quite convert to chances being created. About 20 mins into the first half, Abdul decided to make an appearance and after a few mins warming up, he was brough on to see out the final 15 mins of the first half. Unfortunately he wasn't able to make an immediate big impact and several free kicks and corners later, both sides were evenly matched going into half time thanks partly to some superb goalkeeping from Billy Nicolaou and solid work rate from both teams to keep the ball out of the net.
Going into the second half, Barnes came out firing and set about working up through the gears. Having mixed up the formation to bring Abdul into central midfield, Harry was moved out wide on the left. Making his return to Barnes after a few months out injured, Harry impressed with his energy and tenacity down the wing, his crosses offering a couple of good chances that we were unable to finish.
Time moving on, Ash made a change to bring on Joseph back to right midfield and move Abdi into a second striker/attacking midfielder role. Barnes took a bit of time to adjust but Joseph had come back onto the pitch with a renewed energy and fought for everything high up in the opposition territory. It was from his doggedness that Barnes were able to win the ball back and play it around a little bit until Abdul was able to split the defence with a lovely through ball leaving Joseph with a defender and goalkeeper to beat. Under pressure, he slowly rolled it into the far corner leaving everyone on the pitch to watch in baited breath as it rolled over the line to secure the win.
"It seemed to take an age for Joseph's shot to finally hit the back of the net, but when it did the atmosphere was electric. The look on his face was priceless as he realised he'd scored not only his first goal for the club but probably also the winner," said Jacko. "I'm really proud of the boys, they came out and really upped their game to score a fantastic team goal in the second half".