ARYPT after two games this season had already doubled their point’s total from the whole of last season, with back to back wins in the 19/20 season. Joey’s red army were sitting pretty second in the league beating St John’s fishers 2 and Wanderers to have max points in these early stages of league 2. Elim playing a game more than today’s visitors were 2 points behind in the league with 4 points from 3 games but achieving their first win of the league the week prior against Christ the King. Elim last season did the treble of wins v ARYPT with home, away and cup wins.
Hughes back from holiday took charge of the squad and 9 of the squad remained the same. Elim’s Mulligan lost a very competitive number 1 spot to Betancourt for the goalkeeper spot. Mack was pulled from midfield into defence joining the existing Baldwin, Watkins and Matewe in the back line. Titman and J.Smith remained on the wings with Jones partnered with Mangan in the middle and Elim kept C Smith and Moroney up top. Reid was the only change to the outfield for Elim. Hughes, Watts and Zaheer were Elim subs for this game. With the game suffering from a ref shortage, Hughes took charge of the game at the Foxford Stadium.
Elim kicked the game off on a mild October, with the pitch looking a little more worn than the previous month but probably to get worse in the winter games. With the reward for the winners to finish the weekend 2nd both teams were not shy in showing their attacks throughout this fixture. ARYPT were having a lot of joy on the left with three on two’s against Titman and Baldwin. The red’s winger dummied a shot to have the full back to commit to the slide to turn inside for Betancourt make a smart save low down. Moroney was hungry to add to his previous goal from CTK to run through, there was a coming together in the box but the ref not interested in awarding the home side a penalty and played on.
ARYPT would race into a 2-0 lead, firstly Elim’s Matewe felt from a corner he cleared the danger, only for the ball to find a ARYPT player to tee off his team make to a hit a powerful 25 yard screamer. Betancourt got a hand to it but not enough to stop the ball going in. ARYPT’s second goal would start from their own box calving the Elim midfield and defence open. Jones and Mangan were outnumbered in the middle and this slick passing attack from the away side showed with men over. ARYPT were able to pass the ball 6 times from one box to another to leave an opposed Betancourt one on one conceding 2 goals in 10 minutes. Baldwin pushed Moroney into the middle for Elim to control the game in the middle, with a long 70 minutes to go.
On the half an hour mark Elim were given a free kick on the left, Mononey would pick the ball up and whip it back post. He would find strike partner C Smith to head the ball onto the line for J Smith to tap into an unguarded net and salvaged a consolation. Elim celebrations were quickly put on hold as the flag was up, but after talks with the official the Elim played adjudged to be offside wasn’t interfering with play. Joshua Smith got a taste for goal and quickly the winger was at it again scoring shortly after to level the scores and have it all tied up at Desmond.
With momentum on Elim’s side now, the Josh Smith double was almost over if it wasn’t for the experience of Matwe throwing his body where it hurts to block a shot in the box. 15 minutes can be a long time in football and ARYPT went from 2-0 up to 4-2 down in this time period. It was Elim’s captain Mark Jones that would put the home side ahead. The midfielder burst into the box, to fire from an acute angle into the back of the net with power and accuracy to find his spot.
Jones midfield partner Moroney was giving the opportunity from range and boy did he take it. A failed clearance from the ARYPT left back found Moroney from 30 yards, for the player to take a look up with his great vision, spot the keeper off his line and fire over the shot stopper. Baldwin and Moroney on the defence made sure between them to get enough body parts on an ARYPT attack for the ball to sail over not troubling the Elim number 1.
With the half time whistle coming, Elim were forced into a change at the break. Leon made way for gaffer Hughes after taking a knock to the head. With the next goal crucial Elim were told to not chase for goals and keep it processional second half, which this objective was met not conceding second half. Instead Elim would get the next goal and would be a hat trick for the tricky winger Joshua Smith. The new signing would put the game beyond all doubt scoring his fifth goal this season making him after 4 games top scorer in division 2. As the game reached the final 20 minutes, Elim made a double swap with Watts and Zaheer coming on for Titman and Mack. Jones went into the back line for Watts to play between the two banks of 4. Zaheer was a direct swap for Titman on the left. With ARYPT tiring it was Jones and Watkins combination that allowed Watkins to whip in a great ball for ARYPT’s defence to just about deal with but the full back started to expose the right side growing in attacking confidence.
Elim in this last quarter would find enough grit to force a 6th goal and was from a player who hadn’t scored in a number of years. ARYPT were probably sick of Smith being on the scoresheet but this time it was Corey who would rocket a shot in. The attacker hit a free kick, which was dealt with only to be given a second bite at the cherry and with his head over the ball smashed Elim further ahead to mild celebrations in this player older years.
ARYPT would have one last attempt back post, but Jones hip blocked the ball to spin wide of the Elim post and for a corner. With the ref seeing enough the full-time whistle went along with ARYPT’s undefeated streak. Elim had back to back wins, picking up 7 points from 9 and setting early pace towards the top. St John Fisher’s first 4 games have given them an immaculate record of 12 points leaving Elim 5 and ARYPT 6 points off the top. Joshua Smith was Elim’s man of the match, achieving this award second time and being a great addition to the Pentecostal Football club.
Next up for Elim a tricky away side to Xcel to play Wanderers with both teams in form going for a third win in a row. Elim also are fighting on three fronts with the week after Lowfors are the visitors to the Foxford stadium and then Elim will appear in the Leicester cup v Kings for the first ever trip away in this tournament.