Overton Athletic were the visitors to the Priory Park this week, the third week of the season for the home side who were still looking for their first win. The stage was set for a great encounter with Priory looking to make up for the poor performance against Overton in a pre-season which finished 7-3 to the away side, also Priory were looking to continue the slick football displayed last week against RH123 ‘A’.
Lawrence Clarke returned in goal after his recent injury. Last week’s man of the match Ben Jones was partnered with Luke Smith, Lee Wilmot and Stu Jones. Michael Walker maintained his starting spot in the centre of the park along side Aaron Lawrence with Martin Baxter returning to the right and Dave Hall taking the wide left spot after another good performance last week. Last week’s goal scorer Matt Bone lead the attack supported by Ben Vezza. Gilo, John Braund and Peter Jowitt made the bench this week.
The Priory players knew nothing but a solid start would be good enough against the Overton side that most were aware are a very good attacking side. Things started brightly enough for the home side who managed to contain the Overton wide players and front men. A.Lawrence was forced off early on with a reoccurance of his hamstring injury giving Jowitt and early chance.
It took a mistake from the usually more than capable B.Jones for the away side to create a real goal scoring opportunity. B.Jones having made a routine challenge emerged from the back with the ball only to have his pass intercepted by the lively Overton forward man who slid in the right midfield whose first time shot was well placed beating Clarke. B.Jones recovered well from his mistake however proving to be highly influential and well organised at the back as the team have come to expect.
Priory had flashbacks of the pre-season encounter on their minds for the next few minutes after the re-start and Overton made them pay again with a second goal. The Overton striker was given far too much time on the edge of the box with his back to goal, he managed to turn and play in his fellow team mate despite three Priory player converging on the front man. The finish was made to look simple.
The Priory players knew that the next goal would define the rest of the game and they were determined to make sure they got a foot back in the game, a determined attitude that was lacking somewhat last season. That man Bone popped up again to provide the inspiration, his second in as many games give Priory that required lift. S.Jones was in hand to play a dangerous ball in towards the back post, Bone chased down what looked to be a lost cause only to confuse the centre back and the keeper who stayed on his line. Bone ran between the two and used his head to guide the ball past the keeper at his near post. Bone’s second of the season summed up his performance on the day, tireless energy and brilliant work ethic. Priory were back in the game and seemingly in the mood to score some goals.
Baxter was next up to chase what again looked to be a lost cause as another long ball, this time from Jowitt, caused havoc in the Overton back line who let Baxter run through. Baxter had to drill the ball early and ride a sliding challenge at the same time with the keeper shutting him down. Baxter’s strength and determination paid off as he beat keeper and defender to the ball and fired home to bring Priory level. Baxter’s first of the season reminded his team mates of his excellent pre-season form, scoring again.
The first half was coming to a close when Priory forced an error at the back. Jowitt’s hopeful ball was chased down by the ever present Bone and Vezza and their presence seemed too much for the Overton centre half who sliced his attempted clearance into his own net. Priory had taken an unlikely but deserved lead into half time leading 3-2.
The opening exchanges of the second half saw Priory consolidate at the back and they were able to shut Overton out of the game. The defenders would have been happy with the energy of the attacking players who were leading the defence with tireless running across the opposition back line. An early second half injury to Walker gave Gilo his chance to prove his worth.
The game looked to be heading for a nervy last 30 minutes as Overton Pressed for an equaliser, however Priory managed to force a corner after a swift counter attack. The recently introduced Gilo made his mark on the game early on with a firm header from the Baxter corner to put the home side in the commanding position. Gilo made sure the manager was aware that he had scored in a bid to earn a start.
Priory were in high spirits now and Overton were showing signs of panic both at the back and upfront. Overton, in a bid to force their way back into the game, left Jowitt in ample space on the left hand side, after being picked out he drove at the right back. The now very confident Gilo made the run for Jowitt from the centre midfield position and find himself free at the back post. Jowitt picked out his fellow midfielder with a pin point pass to the chest which Gilo took with ease, the ball fell kindly for Gilo inviting the defender to make a last ditch challenge as he was expected the shot. Gilo was aware of this and took the opportunity to knock the ball to the left of the defender by a yard and then chose to smash to ball into the roof of the net from ten yards to take the game well out of reach of the away side.
Braund come on at right midfield with a sole focus on defending to ensure the win, but Jowitt rounded up the afternoon with a much deserved goal after providing three assists so far. He found himself in space on the left yet again, Hall finding the wide man, however this time after taking on and beating the full back he opted to pound the ball into the goal using the inside of the far post to aid his effort.
The game finished shortly after Jowitt’s first goal of the season, the score 6-2 to Priory.
The man of the match award this week is going to be a very tight affair with some five or six players in with a shout. Jowitt’s three assists, Gilo’s two goals and Vezza & Bone’s unparallel energy and commitment the highlights of today’s game will surely be battling for the award not to mention those that took their place at the back to cut Overton out time and time again. The Priory team were completely unplayable today and the players should all be very pleased with their performances. The manager really has some tough decisions to make for the next game as everyone did well including those that came off the bench.
Priory A’s next game will be against the Kingwoods Falcons on 15th October.