FC Team got off to the perfect start in the quest for the Middlesex County League Division One title with a 3-0 victory over West Essex at John Lyon School.
Team went into the game missing a host of regulars, with James Korn, Jack Mosse, Laurence Judah, Kieran Allen Curry and new star Eddie Obinna all missing through injuries and holidays. However manager Mitch Young had new signings Dan Cohen, Josh Morris, Andy Croll and the returning Mitch Lassman to step in.
Team started brightly, playing their football on the beautiful surface with Irvine Howson Richard Salmon and Young closing down the opposition and focing them into mistakes. Team went close early on from a Paul Kent header and then again from a Howson cross-shot.
However, Team had debutant keeper Cohen to thank for staying on level terms on the 20 minute mark after a brilliant point blank save from a miscued clearance saw Cohen tip the ball over the bar. This forced Team into action and the unplayable Howson was causing the Essex defence all sorts of problems.
The opening goal came on the half hour mark when Salmon won a flick on to Howson down the right. He beat two players before laying it square to Mitch Lassman to tap in from five yards.
Salmon and Howson had chances to make it 2-0 but failed to hit the target. Team looked comfortable in defence with Morris having a great debut alongside Hecht, Kent and the ever reliable Gideon Moss.
Team went into half time content but Young demanded more and more is what he got straight from the kick off. Salmon closed the opposition down and forced them into a corner. Lassman chipped in the corner to the near post Howson challenged with the keeper and the ball fell to Croll who volleyed home from eight yards to spark wild celebrations.
Two became three 10 minutes later Breger picking out a cross- field pass to Salmon who beat three men and then the keeper before squaring it to his strike partner Howson who under pressure finished well.
Team looked comfortable for the rest of the house and saw the game out professionally although it took a superb last-minute Morris challenge to ensure a clean sheet.
Manager Mitch Young said: “A perfect result for the first game of the season. We were missing a number of players this week but the new boys came in and did a tremendous job. I was very pleased with our defensive performance. We will always score goals with the striking talent we possess but its so important we increase the number of clean sheets this season.
“We are working very hard to get out of this league this year and will see it as a big failure if we don’t achieve promotion. The players are focused and we have an excellent squad with plenty of competitions for places.”
Team: Dan Cohen, Josh Morris, Marc Hecht, Paul Kent (capt), Gideon Moss, Adam Rones, Andy Croll, Mitch Lassman (sub: Neil Weyman 83), Mitch Young (sub: Jon Breger 45), Irvine Howson, Richard Salmon