It would be fair to say that both teams approached this game with their minds on different things. Second placed Catz, with three draws from their last 4 league games, needed to get back to winning ways if they were going to put any sort of pressure on runaway Premiership leaders Teddy Hall. Anne’s on the other hand, after a fairly average season by their standards, find themselves languishing mid-table, with any chance of a title challenge
or relegation dogfight long since gone. This may be why they seemed disinterested for much of the match, although they may well have been looking ahead towards their hotly anticipated cuppers semi-final match against St. John’s on Friday.
It was due to this difference in attitudes that Catz ran out as fairly comfortable winners, building their way into the game and dominating in the middle of the pitch. This, coupled with a lacklustre Anne’s performance, meant that although the game never really got going, there was only ever going to be one winner.
Anne’s were clearly suffering from absences in some key positions, notably between the posts. Several times in the opening exchanges goalkeeper Poole showed his inability to deal with even the simplest ball. Their attack also seemed to be relatively one dimensional, with the giant figure of Ed Border providing their main outlet for attacks. The number 9 was dominant in the air for the entire 90 minutes, but just didn’t have the support.
But Catz could also boast their own man mountain up front, in the sizeable figure of McNaughton. The striker looked the most dangerous player on the pitch in the early stages, with surprising nimble feet and an ability to hold the ball up well.
As the half wore on, Catz became more and more assured in their possession, flighting through balls over the top to test the Anne’s defence. It was from one of these that they were finally able to trouble the scorers, with Anne’s failing to track the run of O’Brien, who collected the ball midway inside his opponents half, before calmly slotting past the keeper.
After half time, things only got better for the home side, their movement and passing stepped up a gear, and they moved the ball fluidly from one end of the pitch to the other. Their second goal was a well taken header from Kiln, and from then on it was plain sailing. St. Anne’s, with their minds elsewhere, played out the match with little enthusiasm.
Catz will be pleased with the win. ‘We played them off the park’ enthused O’Keefe-O’Donovan, and they certainly made Anne’s look quite ordinary, which doesn’t bode well for their cup pretension.