FC Team A 5-2 AC Cricklewood
A hat-trick from Richard Salmon plus two from Adam Goldsmith helped FC Team maintain their grip on the Division Three title race as they claimed a deserved victory over AC Cricklewood.
The match was played in a tremendous spirit with only 10 free-kicks in the whole game. It was over as a contest inside the first 18 minutes as Team raced to a four-goal lead.
The opener came in the third minute after good work from Salmon who beat Dale Henry before seeing his tame shot find the back of the net with the aid of a deflection from an unfortunate Cricklewood defender.
Salmon should have doubled the lead on eight minutes but, instead of pulling the trigger towards goal, decided to try to walk the ball into the net but good defending kept the score at bay for a few minutes at least.
Team doubled their advantage on 15 minutes. The impressive Eddie Sternberg laid the ball off to Salmon who controlled with his chest and fiercely volleyed home from 15 yards.
Salmon turned provider two minutes later. With space down the left, he beat his marker and shot goalwards. The effort was saved but the rebound fell to skipper Goldsmith who tapped home from three yards out.
A minute later, the game was well and truly over. A long throw from Salmon found Sternberg whose left-foot cross was met again by Goldsmith who added the final touch from close range.
Cricklewood did not let their heads drop and were handed a lifeline midway through the half. Henry's cross was met by striker Mark Ratzker who drilled a 20-yard effort past Mike Perkin in the FC Team goal. Ratzker then tested Perkin again after outfoxing Adam Newsome but the stopper produced a smart save.
The second half was a dour affair as both teams seemed to take their foot off the gas. Salmon completed his treble on 75 minutes to end Cricklewood's hopes. Latching on to a pass from substitute Matt Kendler, the summer signing finished with aplomb.
There was still time for Cricklewood to reduce the deficit as Jeremy Kornhauser netted in stoppage time.
FC Team joint-manager Adam Newsome said: "Our effort levels were out of this world. We did all the hard work inside the first 20 minutes."
Co-boss Darren Freed added: "Team spirit is the best it has been for a long time. This side can definitely go places. All credit to Cricklewood, they didn't give up and will definitely be there or thereabouts come the end of the season."
Cricklewood goal-scorer Mark Ratzker said: "The game was over early and we never recovered. We were without five first teamers but there are no excuses. We didn't deserve anything."
FC Team: Perkin, Segal (sub: De Smith), Silverman (sub: Kendler), Colman, Sternberg (sub: Weintraub), Freed, Newsome, Lewis, Salmon, Rones, Goldsmith
Cricklewood: Hamer, Ritterband, Goldthorpe, Henry, Kornhauser, Ratzker, Wilson (sub: Posner), Chalmers, Kester, Pincus, Ruckin