The Old Boys made good use of their speed on the wings, patiently working the ball into wide positions and using Graham Campbell and Zach Riggott to terrorize the United fullbacks. It was working well, with Stegman’s winning corner after corner. The corners themselves, unfortunately, were largely poor.
United were not completely out of the game, especially after the introduction of an attacking midfielder with pace and power.
He put the fear of God into the Old Boys rearguard, and with about 20 minutes gone was able to muscle past Gary Erzberger and spin part Derric Johnson wide in the box. It was a less than ideal shooting position, but he conjured an absolute screamer past Bryan Larson’s near post and into the net.
United continued to look to their lone threat throughout the game, but a smart tactical change was able to subdue him. Ben Savitt man marked their player into oblivion and Derric Johnson played as a deep sweeper to clean up any balls over the top to nullify the threat. With the fullbacks free to play, the Old Boys were able to build from the back and get men forward in wide positions.
With 35 minutes gone, Stegman’s clawed one back.
Working the ball from the back, Johnson exchanged passes with Farrell and galloped up the field where he played Dave Tesch in with a smart through-ball. Tesch was able to win the corner, and the Blues had United pinned in their own end. The corner was put out for a throw which Steve Pomeroy sent to Tesch who one-timed it back to Pomeroy.
The short pass took two defenders out of the play, leaving Pomeroy to do what he does: blast a shot as hard as he can.
It was from a poor angle, but hit hard and low. A run of Steven Hawking-esque intelligence by Nathan Proft gave Pomeroy’s shot some threat.
Proft made an angled run in front of the keeper and sold him with a dummy. The goalkeeper was sold by the fake and could do nothing as, in horror, he got his movement all wrong and saw the ball bounce off of him and into the net.
Scores were level, but at this point there was only one team the looking like winning.
Crosses were raining in on the United defense and they were barely getting a look in at the ball, and still the Old Boys kept pushing for the winner. With Luke Clayton working hard up top, it was only a matter of time. And in the 75th minute, Clayton latched onto a long ball played by Tesch from the wing. He ran onto it, pulled away a defender and knocked the ball into the marauding Farrell’s path. Easy finish, and 2-1 to the good.
The action continued at the United goalmouth, with Farrell hitting the crossbar and United lucky to escape having conceded only two goals.
“We tactically boned those guys” said Vice Captain Derric Johnson “once we took away their attacking outlet, there was only ever going to be one winner in this game.”
“We needed a little bit of time to settle in as a team, but now that we have we’re pretty dangerous” said Luke Clayton after the game “and there is still more than enough time yet in the season for us to scramble up the table so spirits are high right now. Really high. Like a kite or some other flying-type contraption.”