FC Team cruised into the last 16 of the London FA Junior Cup after beating Racing Chiswick 3-0.
After receiving a walkover in the previous round, FC Team came into the game seeking a victory that would put them into the last 16 of the LFAJC for the first time. They were up against a team in form in the shape of Racing Chiswick - who were on a unbeaten run stretching back to February in the West End AFA Premier Division – so were under no illusions as to the size of their task.
Team came out of the traps quickly settling in to a new 4-1-2-1-2 diamond formation, and although the game was fairly balanced after 15 minutes it was Team who struck first blood. Striker Richard Salmon picked up the ball out wide on the right and shaping for a cross he thundered an effort towards goal and the ball flew over the keeper and nestled into the top corner. 1-0 to Team and Chiswick were shell-shocked.
With the wind in their sails, Team started to dominate proceedings with the midfield diamond of Noti, Judah, Breger and Curry running the middle of the park. Curry, making his first appearance of the season after briefly leaving Team in the summer looked in fine form, holding the ball up and bringing others into play.
With the game poised at 1-0 the next goal was sure to be crucial and it went Team’s way. After a Chiswick clearance, Team full back Gideon Moss launched a speculative clearance/shot from five yards inside his own half which bent viciously and looked like finding the far top corner only to be denied by the woodwork. The ball fell to Salmon who jinked into the box along the by-line before laying it back to Jonny Breger who hit a first time screamer into the top corner from 12 yards out to send the fans on the touchline into raptures. 2-0 and FC Team starting to look comfortable.
Clearly not used to being in this position Chiswick looked bereft of ideas and struggled to make any real chances, bar one brief one on one opportunity which was snuffed out my a mixture of keeper Paul Mendelsohn and a last ditch challenge.
With the half drawing to a close and FC Team having had a number of good set pieces go without reward it was Breger, who again involved, whipped in a near undefendable free kick from the right which the Chiswick defender could only head into his own net under pressure from the Team attackers. 3-0 and surely the game was over. Further chances followed for Breger, Curry, Salmon and Howson who all saw the keeper make a diving save to keep Chiswick in contention.
Team came out for the second half to be greeted by driving rain and with the pitch fast and slick it was proving tough to weight the through balls and Howson was chasing admirably, closing down the defence and forcing errors. One such chase resulted in Curry picking up the ball wide right and muscling past the full back before cutting back and looking to fire past the keeper, who not for the first time pulled off a great save.
However despite not creating as freely as Team were in the first half, the defence was coping comfortably with the opposition attack. Silverman and Korn at centre back looked particularly assured, with Korn playing his first game back from injury after three weeks out and Paul ‘Ace’ Kent filling in well at left-back.
Dominant in the air and assisted by Mendelsohn in goal, who was playing to his usual high standard, Team held out comfortably to record a long awaited first clean sheet of the season and book their place in the last 16 of the Cup and a home tie against Brampton Park on the December 12 where they will have the chance to reach their first quarter-final in the teams short Saturday history.