CSKA ended the 2021 calendar year in style with a 7-0 “away” victory over Van Circle at a foggy Rawlins Stadium.
To guarantee the game going ahead, the fixture was played at Rawlins Stadium with Dorothy Avenue out of service. Early fog threatened a full cancellation, but it lifted into a mild mist as kick off approached.
The sides had met each other just a few weeks ago, with Van Circle coming out on top that day in an 8 goal thriller, so the stage was set for another epic encounter.
CSKA were without several key players in Sean Brown, Jack Lucas, Adam Gent, Danny Chapman and Brad Parker, which allowed Tom Field and Manni Rai to step up from CSKA II into the starting line-up. There was also places in the squad for Dan Danes and Caine Ward.
CSKA started the brighter of the two sides and an early breakthrough came after 15 minutes when Chris McCafferty’s freekick looped over the outstretched goalkeeper for 1-0. Van Circle were looking strong also and the second goal of the game was much needed for The Mods, this one coming from Hiran Mistry who latched onto a delicious cross from debutant Tom Field.
There was even time for a third just before half-time. Gaz Walker’s long range effort was saved by the goalkeeper, but McCafferty gambled on the rebound and when it happened the goalkeeper had no choice but to grab onto the Irishman’s ankle, the penalty decision was probably the easiest of the day for referee Martin Dexter. McCafferty despatched the penalty for his 8th goal of the season.
Despite the encouraging lead, the game still didn’t feel safe. Van Circle had plenty of threat going forward as well as neat build up play from their no9 talisman who had caused so many problems in the previous encounter. Manni Rai did a sterling job of protecting the midfield and allowing Mistry, Payne and McCafferty all much more licence to get forward and support the lone striker Andy Pettitt.
After several chances earlier Pettitt found the net after chipping over the outrushing ‘keeper from a nice pass from Rai to make it 4-0. And then another a few minutes later, this time smashing home from a McCafferty cross to the back post.
Brice introduced youngsters Dan Danes and Caine Ward for the final stage of the game, as well as Ruben Capp and Miky Garcia.
Andy Pettitt then turned provider for Dave Payne who made it 6-0 to smash in a well deserved captain’s goal. And at the end a lovely through ball from Dan Danes fed in McCafferty who took it round the ‘keeper, but was denied his hat-trick by Hiran Mistry who was quicker to the loose pass to make it 7-0.
Tom Field was voted Man of the Match for a solid defensive display, forcing their best player to go and find a new position.
And that’s it for 2021 for CSKA. A nice way to end the year with both sides winning comfortably (CSKA II having won 4-0 last week) and with clean sheets to boot.