Following a very disappointing result and performance from the previous game, it had the potential to be a very difficult afternoon. There could well have been a nervous tension or an overwhelming sense of dread that a repeat performance was in store. Added to that, the pitch was like playing on quick sand. Although it looked great, when you stepped out on to the pitch, you found your feet sinking and quickly.
Toby Jannaway completed his hat-trick. It's his first hat-trick in senior football so, as you might expect, he was very pleased.
There was a good atmosphere in the changing rooms before the game. We were disappointed with Tuesday's game and the boys were adament to put it right. It's easy to underestimate and dismiss the psychological side of football, lesser teams could well have crumbled and felt a pressure to perform. The boys saw it as an opportunity to press the reset button and put on a display. Full credit to them, it's exactly what they did.
Straight from the whistle there was real endeavour, cohesion and spirit to our play. A determination to make things happen combined with a relentless attitude to stop any potential threats from Redhill. I haven't seen the official OPTA stats, but I'm confident that it would be pretty weighted to our side throughout. Our shape, decision making and quality on the ball was impressive and it generated wave after wave of attack.
With Jannaway and Duff surging down the flanks, the Redhill defence appeared continually under pressure, plus in a bid to deal with Hartley's electric pace up front they could allow little or no space in behind. The movement throughout the Hartley team was very good and we dragged defenders into areas they simply didn't want to go.
Atko was called into action after some loose control in defence put through the Redhill striker, but our keeper comfortably saved. It turned out to be the save Atko was going to make throughout the whole game.
It was a well worked set-piece that created our opening goal. The ball made it's way into the box and fell at the feet of the industrious Jannaway, he pulled the ball into space and onto his other foot and fired the ball past the abundance of bodies stood in his way.
Our strikers have been in fine form throughout the early stages of the season, creating 40+ goals already. However there was further proof that we can source goals from other departments of the pitch. Argent turned supplier and slid a lovely ball into Steve Duff who finished expertly past the oncoming keeper. We were really seeing signs of the consistent form we had in the early stages of the season, it was a great move, fast, effective, clinical and so difficult to deal with.
Much has been said about how we will deal with the transition to the wet and heavier pitches, I think yesterday you would have seen a glimpse of what we are capable of. It can be difficult to play in those conditions, granted, but it's a damn sight harder for the other team to try and defend against what we have...when delivered!
The third goal was arguably the pick of the bunch. A through ball from Parfitt was met by Steve Duff and, in his normal train like manner, burst into space and whipped in a superb cross for Jannaway who with his trademarked 'slide-tackleshot', punched the ball into the back of the net.
Argent had a great chance to make it four when the ball was whipped in from the left hand side, but he couldn't keep his shot down after trying to put it into the top corner of the net. We created a number of great chances, however the Redhill keeper, despite the scoreline, was in fine form. Half Time 3-0. It was a superb first half performance, one of real dominance and authority. It was important we maintained that throughout the game, something we haven't done in some weeks as we've allowed teams back into the game.
Louie Paget was introduced midway through the second half. Louie, a youth team product, has been knocking on the door for some time and will continue to get chances should he maintain the standards and performances that have sparked the attention of the club. Louie partnered Ian Jones in the centre of midfield and certainly didn't look out of place.
We were creating chance after chance but the Redhill keeper made some top class saves to keep the score down. We did however get our reward for our dominant start to the second half and Toby Jannaway completed his hat-trick. It's his first hat-trick in senior football so, as you might expect, he was very pleased. Millers still claims he didn't see any of his goals and has refused to comment on the hat-trick heroes performance.
There was a well spirited battle going on between Steve Duff and their keeper. Duffs persisted in breaking through the Redhill defence and he finally doubled his tally when he once again drove through and finished with composure. Five goals, all from our wingers. In those conditions I think that demonstrates the force that we can be.
Zac Horkan could have had a couple to himself but once again our shots were well saved. Our defence were rarely troubled but that's more testament to their shape and positioning. Any threat was soon thwarted and our effective approach to the game eased any potential pressures. Very pleased to earn a clean sheet against a side that had scored 15 goals in seven games.
It was a very good performance from the Row. I was very pleased for the boys as they worked right until the final whistle. It's important that we never take the foot off the pedal and that we ensure we keep going right to the end, we certainly have the characters within the group that will demand nothing less. It could quite easily have been 8-0, arguably more, it was a fantastic reaction and a great performance. A 10-0 aggregate against a team that joined us from the league above last season, I'll take that.
We now have to deliver a similar performance in Tuesday night's home game, we need to make Saturday's display as our standard. I see our Redhill win as a foundation, as good as it was, we still have more to offer. [DB]