At the beginning of the season Christ Church East Greenwich FC had a single goal – get promotion and win the league. Today, we knew that with a win over our rivalled Bromley Salvation Army, we achieve one of those goals and make the other near-certain. Yet we knew it wouldn’t be easy – Bromley are one of the only teams to have landed a blow on us this season and bad memories of a 6-0 hammering at their hands in the early days of our first season still linger. We were gutted to lose @Fabian Russo, @James Ayland and @Bjorn As to self-isolation rules in short notice ahead of the game (hope you all feel better soon guys!) but in the true Christ Church spirit our club community rallied together and we were able to welcome @Ollie Harford housemate Joe and @Tunji Ebun-Cole’s friend FJ into the side.
If there were any pre-match nerves ahead of a massive game they were settled almost immediately when a botched Bromley corner was pounced upon by Charles to put Christ Church one ahead. We only needed another two minutes to make it two. James “the cannon” Coates launching a trademark heat-seeking missile of a throw deep into enemy territory for Chucky C to detonate with a brilliant flicked header past the goalkeeper. We were barely more than halfway through the second half before Charles sealed his hat-trick, guiding into the top corner from a James cross. Christ Church were in total control at this point with a midfield three of Ollie-Lev-NewJoe recycling the play and keeping the ball working to prevent Bromley getting a foothold. So it was no surprise when James made it four. At this point Bromley’s defenders were quivering wrecks at even the mention of a surname beginning with ‘C’ that they totally collapsed and failed to clear a long ball forward, allowing James to swoop in and tuck home.
To their credit, Bromley then did begin to work some good openings. The first and nearly only time they got joy down a left flank expertly marshalled by Nassos and then Folarin saw a pin-point crossed headed just over. Their striker then almost got in for a clear chance only for a tackle-of-the-season contender from Tom to keep him out. He got through again soon after, but his shot cannoned off six-pack of our on rushing keeper. It took a scramble on the edge of the box and dipping snapshot from distance for the Bromley Army to salvage anything from their rare forays forward.
That was a wake up call and so, not enjoying being a mere three goals up, Charles once again linked up with James to stab home from the corner for his fourth and Christ Church’s fifth.
Second half was a less dramatic affair. They threatened briefly but tamely in the opening minutes but Christ Church kept control and had the better chances with Charles, James, Ollie and Lev all cracking efforts at goal. The sixth though came through the silky skills of debutant FJ, whose powerful shot was too hot to handle. 6-1 and promotion sealed in sweet style with one of the performances of the season!
In goal, Joe H made one good save, a couple of other less convincing ones but was overall pleased with his performance. At left-back Nassos was cool, calm and composed – always moving wide to create an option from midfield and adding a wicked left-footed cross to the attack’s armoury. At centre-back Folarin and Tom were both rocks. No nonsense when they needed to be, but also composed enough to play short when required to. Left their striker screaming in frustration. Sam at right back was his usual best self – strong in the tackle, quick off the mark and solid in the air. No one got past him all game. In the middle Joe was a master at finding time and space from which he could switch play and keep us moving. He was supported by Lev, making his first appearance since early January but you wouldn’t have known it such was the dynamism of his performance – crunching tackles, unflappable when pressed and linking play nicely. Ollie in the No10 role making things happen with a turn or a shimmy and moving from flank to flank to support the attacks. Has been a stats monster this year but today was about the pass before the pass. Jason left wing was simply excellent. Best presser in the game but also linking with Nassos with neat, short passing. Right wing James was unstoppable – whether with the ball at his feet or hands. Up top Charles was Charles. The man lives off goals and he was feeling hungry today. Off the bench Louis brought presence and ballast into the midfield, not to mention his typical good energy and spirit. Meanwhile FJ really impressed on debut, was basically never tackled and brought fresh ideas to the left wing position.
MOTM is a toss up this week between Tom and Lev. The latter was outstanding for someone who hasn’t played in over two months, while the former really stepped up to a new role for the first time this season and made it his own in a big game. Could go either way but Tom’s first half tackle just pips it for him.