Sunday 13th December 2009
Beckenham Hospital Cup
By Gary Rosslee
After having only played 60 minutes of football in the last 3 weeks you could see how much this game meant to all of us as we arrived in Saaaarf East London for our 1st round Cup game against Crofton Albion Vets.
There were smiles of joy and happiness on all of our faces as we greeted each other in the bar area, it was as if we were all 4 or 5 years old again and Santa had paid us a visit the night before to deliver our much eagerly awaited presents. But instead of asking for an Xbox or Nintendo Wii or a mountain bike or a pony we had asked for a football kit, football boots, goalkeeper gloves, a football, a big green area to play on and last but not least a team of 11 other players to play against!!!
Today was also the long awaited return of Pete Harvey who had missed the last 6 weeks plus. Word around the dressing room was he had been on an intensive course on how to learn to pass the ball when in the final third of the pitch. Today was a good example to see if it was money well spent by the club!
We lined up as follows
Gary Rosslee – GK
Danny Saines – LB
Andy Cobham – CB
Matt Wright – CB
Rich Davies – RB
Neil Connelly – LM
Richard Cooke – CM
Daragh Nott – CM
Paul Tanton – RM
George K – CF
Pete Harvey – CF
We started off the better side on which was quite honestly not the best of pitches (but given the recent circumstances and lack of football we were just grateful to be playing) and had the first real opportunity of the game with around 5 minutes gone. Daragh Nott met an excellent ball from out wide with a header which seemed to have the goalkeeper scrambling across his goal to reach but somehow got to it and cleared it off of the line more like a centre half so it actually went out for a throw in and the danger passed!
We took a deserved lead courtesy of a Pete Harvey effort with about 10/15 minutes on the clock. Pete collected the ball out wide on the right hand side and cut inside two defenders and unleashed a shot that beat the goalkeeper at his near post, a great strike but there were surely question marks over the Albion goalkeeper's positioning. 0-1 FOBG.
We extended our lead around the 25 minute mark through Richard Cooke who had clearly stamped his authority on the game in the centre of midfield and was excellent going forward and also help shore up any danger at the back. His goal which was actually set up by Pete Harvey (looks like the course paid off and Pete ‘passed’ with flying colours) took a bit of a deflection off of the toe of an Albion defender trying to close down the shot which inadvertently redirected the ball and gave the Albion GK no chance! 0-2 FOBG.
It was now apparent that this would become a walk in the park for us especially if we were to base it on the performances we had turned in so far this season against stronger opposition – WELL HOW WRONG WE WERE!!!
Crofton pulled a goal back when we failed to clear our lines and a sloppy clearance was delivered straight back into the danger area and Matt Wright was unfortunately unable to deal with the cross which led to mix up with Andy Cobham and this gifted the Albion midfielder with a chance 8 yards out and he coolly dispatched it past Rosslee on nearly 40 minutes to make the game a bit more interesting! 1-2 FOBG.
This momentary lapse in concentration clearly had an effect on us and our confidence levels came down a level, however in games gone past we would have started bitching and arguing amongst ourselves so the fact we did not get on each others' backs was a great credit all round. This however didn’t detract from the fact that we were now under the cosh for the last 5 minutes of the half and Albion must have felt they were going in at the interval with honours even. We failed to clear the ball yet again on the edge of our box which was struck by an Albion attacker first time on the outside of his right foot which went round a group of players and was headed for the top right hand corner. Rosslee, unsighted however managed to get across the goal (which is no mean feat in itself) and somehow kept the ball out with a diving save and parried the ball safely out for a corner.
The resulting corner led to the half time whistle being blown and gave us a chance to regroup. We would have felt hard done by going in at the break at 2-2. We made our first change of the match as Danny Saines had to go to a kids party or something, I’m not sure if he was providing the entertainment as I just assumed his red nose was from his recent bout of swine flu! Danny was replaced by Robin Lipscomb at left back.
We were now kicking uphill which didn’t make life easier for us and Albion had a speculative long range effort which was nonchalantly left by Rosslee knowing it was going wide – it actually went wide by the width of a Rizla paper! You could now tell that Albion were running out of gas and could not cope with the seemingly endless running form Richard Cooke and Daragh Nott in the middle of the park and the spritely George K always a constant threat although his Carling Opta stats read as follows: Shots on goal 18; Shots on target 15; Goals 0! Speculation is that after the match there was a note left in the changing room from Andy Cole saying…’can I have my boots back after the game please George?’.
We managed to put further breathing space between us and restore our 2 goal lead as Richard Cooke scored his second of the match form inside the penalty area as he coolly dispatched the ball underneath the Albion GK when he had all of the left hand side of the goal and right hand side respectively to aim for! 1-3 FOBG.
Simon Harvey replaced Neil Connelly on 60 minutes and Simon provided some deliveries into the box but unfortunately we were unable to take advantage of them; one effort however that springs to mind is a good save from the Albion GK from yet another Daragh Nott header down to his left hand side that was creeping in at the near post. George for all his might could still not find away past the Albion GK, and at this point was wondering if there was a magnet in the ball and the goalkeeper was wearing metal gloves!
Richard Cooke neatly added a 4th and his 3rd of the game to put the game beyond any doubt and the MOM award in the bag as well!
Today we ran out comfortable winners after a 3 week break and are one step closer to the cup final, however based on the performance today we know we did not play as well as we know we can so let's not get measured up for those white cup final suits just yet eh lads! ‘Ooooh suits you’.
Next week we are playing Santos who normally play at Beaverwood which as we all know is a good pitch to play on although the website says TBC.
Man of the match: Richard Cooke