PASALB FC 4-0 Exeter
PASALB FC began the season with a solid if unspectacular Cup win over Devonian rivals Exeter. Though the Grecians were nominally the home side, the fact they use the same Riverside Lands pitch as us created an atmosphere not dissimilar to the Milan derby taking place at the San Siro later on the same evening. Leopold’s flags and pyrotechnics were admittedly less impressive than the Milanese ultras but for once he did at least make it in time for kick off.
Familiarity was no doubt responsible for our bright start, with Tom Watkins getting behind the defence early on and firing narrowly wide. For their part, Exeter displayed a marked improvement on last season’s 11-0 Cup defeat, progressing past the halfway line on several occasions. However, it was Argyle who took the lead midway through the half when new signing Cassidy’s corner from the right flew in like a scud missile and the defender at the near post could only hack into his own net.
While we dominated possession, we were unable to convert any of the ensuing half-chances into goals. Noble, also making an impressive debut, saw a shot blocked from a right-wing cutback. A long throw by Cassidy invoked comparisons with that Russian javelin guy from the 1990s (at least for those of us who were alive at the time) coming through to Hildyard at the far post (!), who lobbed narrowly over.
PASALB stepped it up a further gear in the second half and it’s probably easiest to list all our chances in bullet point format:
- Disco tapped in from close range after a surging run into the area from Noble, but a cruel whistle from the referee denied us the rumoured hip-shaking goal celebration
- Hildyard hit the post from a tight angle after rounding the keeper…
- …Then saw a shot blocked on the line with the keeper well beaten, after meeting a cross on the half volley
- Watkins, cutting in from the left Thierry Henry-style, was thwarted by a last ditch block
- Confusion between Disco and Watkins resulted in the latter nodding over from close range
There were probably others. It was all beginning to get a bit much, when a fairly poorly-struck shot from Hildyard deflected into the path of Watkins, who stabbed home from about ten metres out.
Shortly afterwards, we wrapped up the three points when a Cafu-style run down the right from Lancaster culminated in a lay-off to Prout, who turned into the penalty area and nonchalantly volleyed into the top corner with his second touch.
Cassidy, who had taken setpieces to great effect throughout the game, displayed a similar aptitude for meeting them, with a thumping header from Noble’s corner.
There were a bunch of other chances – I can’t remember them all. Kidd headed narrowly over from another corner. Subs came and went. The final batch possibly disrupted us a bit and Exeter had their best spell of the game in the last ten minutes. Langworth made an excellent point blank save when their centre forward got his first clear shot on goal. With the referee’s increasingly bizarre decisions becoming more interesting than the game itself, the final whistle was perhaps welcome when it arrived, in trademark fashion, after about 45 minutes of the second half.
Probably our easiest game of the season, but a satisfactory endeavour nonetheless and much to build on.
Team: Langworth, Lancaster, Richards, Kidd, Brown, Hildyard, Cassidy, Prout, Noble, Christmas, Watkins, Stopher, Disco, Mumford
Goals: OG, Watkins, Prout, Cassidy
Assists (new category for 2015/16): Cassidy, Hildyard, Lancaster, Noble