Daryl Francis scored his second ever Playford hat trick.

Playford 5 Ipswich Athletic 2

After a very up and down pre season the first team started their league campaign with an emphatic 5-2 victory against a very young and tricky Ipswich Athletic.

Inspired by a very solid defensive display in which Tom hunt, Jez Vince and a first appearance under Chris Smiths stewardship for Cameron Overett were aided by a very aggressive performance from another of the ‘new’ signings Luke Mallett, if he wasn’t knocking over members of the opposing team he was driving with the ball at great lengths over a lovely pitch at the fortress. In front of them Ash King and Josh Bolton battled well in a midfield with skipper Dan smith today, outfought and outplayed the opposition for large parts. The front 3 consisting of Ben Williamson, Daryl Francis and Luke Coates worked tirelessly to create opportunities and to drive us forward, in an even first half which ended 0-0 the lads were inspired by the gaffers words at half time.

We started the second half quickly, carrying on the same dominance and control that the midfield and defence had battled bravely for.

Early in the second half Playford were guilty of missing a guilt edged opportunity as a corner was swung in deep, met by the ever reliable right boot of Luke Mallett his effort was seen wide by the Athletic backline, not long after Luke Coates who was at the heart of everything as he danced into the penalty area before rolling it across the goal for Daryl Francis who couldn’t miss (if you’ve known daryl long enough, you’d be surprised he didn’t) who converted to make it 1-0. To the away teams shock Ben Williamson soon after rolled the ball in to the path on the goal onrushing Daryl who converted for his second of the game with a rather composed finish into the bottom corner, this goal was met by a massive standing ovation from the soldout crowd of 1, that 1 happened to be Daryl’s son! Soon after the second it was de ja vu for the Athletic defence as Coates burst through after a very accurate but again side footed pass from the skipper Dan smith before rolling another pass into the path of Daryl who tucked home for his hattrick, the soldout crowd roared as the hall nestled into the back of the net. Ash King not wanting to get overshadowed by the creative genius of Coates decided to roll the ball into that path of last seasons golden boot winner, captain fantastic who duly delivered with his first goal of the season, Dan smith a man who finesses everything, finessed the ball into the corner for his first and Playford 4th.

Changes were made As Macauley Leek and Chris Smith replaced Ben Williamson and Josh Bolton respectively but that didn’t affect the intensity of a Playford side determined to better last seasons 4th placed finish, the goal scoring wasn’t finished Dan smith advanced down the right wing, imagine the shock of the crowd as he side footed a cross in to the path of Luke Coates, who unselfishly dummied for the onrushing Cam Overett who fired home for his first goal of the season, Cam when asked about his goal after the game said ‘I channeled my inner Destiny Udogie’ which showed with a tireless performance up and down the left flank.

In a game where we had to continually check whether safehands Andy Cubitt was still awake the clean sheet was in jeopardy, Tom Hunt was alleged to of handled the ball in the area, we were led to believe the ref made the wrong decision as a usually very laid back and care free Tom Hunt sprinted towards the ref with anger in his eyes, yelling it hit him on the nipple, the ref was having none of it, to which Tom cut a very frustrated figure, which I’m hoping at this point was through anger and nothing else. The striker happily climbing out of Luke Mallett’s pocket stroked the ball home to make it 5-1. The scoring didn’t end there, the Ipswich athletic winger cut in and laced one in to the top right hand corner, much to the disbelief of the makeshift Childminder Grant Overett on the sideline.

Playford then squandered 2 massive chances to add more goals to an already impressive score line, Luke Mallett, inspired by his namesake bobbed and weaved his way through the Ipswich Athletic defence, much like a possessed Rocky Balboa, he opened up his body Thierry Henry style, wrapped his foot around the ball to surely convert for playfords 6th… no, he didn’t, the ball rolled very safely into the goalkeepers hands and Luke had to make the very long run make towards the Halfway line. Ipswich Athletic were ready for the final whistle at this point and this became more apparent when their CB decided not to try and defend Ash Kings trickery and fouled him in the penalty area, Club captain and Mr reliable stepped up, but unfortunately Dan Smith saw his effort impressively saved by the Ipswich Athletic Goalkeeper who kept the score at 5-2.

The same CB who fouled Ash king for the penalty decided Chris Smith was going to face the brunt of his frustration as he scythed down the player manager, this led to typical Sunday morning handbags as a changed Tom Hunt came in at speed looking for a scrap, he was truly living up to his Millwall fan stereotype at this point. This thankfully didn’t overshadow what was a dominant and very impressive performance by the team in purple as they start with a 100% in Chris Smith’s second season, Chris was ecstatic at this result, this was apparent with his words in the group chat after the game ‘Just love winning football matches! 💜’






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