Sunday 15th November 2009
By Gary Rosslee
After spending all of Friday and Saturday wondering if the game against Toby Vets would actually go ahead due to the torrential downpour my phone beeped late Saturday evening. I assumed the worst, that our game was called off…thankfully it was just confirmation of my vote for Jedward on ITV’S the X-Factor, phew. Our game looked like it was still on!!!
We arrived at John Roan Playing Fields with the sun shining down like it was from a biblical scene (however I doubt we would be privileged to witness the second coming of Christ in London SE3 as he would be very hard pushed to find many virgin Mary’s in the area!). The 3 pitches in front if us all looked in pristine and excellent condition considering the weather over the last 36+ hours so fair play to the ground staff at John Roan.
Unfortunately we had drawn the short straw as we had to play on the pitch furthest away. You know the one where one goal backs onto a very busy Kidbrooke Rd where I’m sure many a mitre size 5 has been killed in the call of duty by an oncoming Sunday driver on their way to the World of Leather, and the other end where there is a river / stream that wouldn’t look out of place in a Huckleberry Finn story.
The worst of it however had to be the goal frames themselves, to say they were not the regulation height is an understatement, if they were 8 foot tall then yours truly had grown at least 12 inches overnight, and not the right department I hasten to add! They also had what could only be described as a slight tilt as they seemed to be put up at a 45 degree angle, I could just imagine many a goalkeeper being beaten at his near posts at this ground (well that was going to be my excuse anyway should it happen).
We eventually used the metal poles that were holding the nets down to support and hold the goals up vertically which George K pointed out probably went all against health & safety rules, luckily enough nobody from Unison was around!
We lined up after our short scaffolding exercise as follows:
Gary Rosslee – GK
Steve Watson – RB
Tony Simpson – CB
Andy Cobham – CB
Danny (Tamiflu) Saines – LB
Paul Garrett – LM
Neil Connelly CM
Rich Davies – CM
Robin Lipscomb – RW
George Kleanthous – CF
Paul Tanton – CF
Brett Cheesman kindly helped us out due to the depleted squad we had and was on the sideline as our solitary substitute.
All of Toby Vets' early play was controlled from their more mature centre midfielder who we kindly dubbed the ‘silver fox’; the ‘white feather' and also ‘Santa Claus’ were thrown in for good measure. The first notable piece of action came when Steve Watson for some reason squared the ball across the FOBG 18 yard box and their forward powered into the box to latch onto it and it took an excellent last ditch tackle from Tony Simpson to concede the corner and save Steve’s blushes!
Unfortunately Tony’s next contribution was not so good, whilst jockeying the ball out of play from a non dangerous situation he fell to the ground in the FOGB penalty area and bizarrely grabbed the ball whilst on the deck, this left the referee no choice but to award Toby Vets a penalty. Up stepped their centre midfielder who George had pointed before KO “runs the show for em” he coolly slotted the ball to the FOBG goalkeeper’s right sending him the wrong way. 1-0 Toby Vets………..or so we thought??
The ref ordered the penalty to be a retaken stating he had not in fact blown his whistle for the kick to be taken. Now I haven’t checked the official statistics but aren’t retaken penalties normally missed more than they are scored? The midfielder shot to the left again but this time the FOGB goalkeeper dived brilliantly to his right and got two strong hands behind it to keep it out, unfortunately the midfielder was the quickest to react and seemed to have an eternity to get the ball out form under his feet take two touches and slot the ball into an empty net. Leaving the FOGB rather frustrated to put it mildly. Now it was 1-0 Toby Vets.
We had several good chances where Tant and George shot straight at the Toby GK when put through one on one and also we nearly capitalised from a goalmouth scramble but somebody volleyed the ball up into the air rather than goalwards and the GK managed to fist the ball away to safety. We were now all getting on everybody’s back and literally brought a new meaning to the word ‘Sunday Moaning Football’.
Half time came and after a stern half time talk from Neil C who pointed out that we should actually be encouraging each other rather than bitching and moaning about each other we may find it easier to play the game. With this in mind we made our first change of the match and Brett Cheesman replaced Steve Watson at right back.
Second half was underway and Toby soon doubled their lead courtesy of good wing play out on the left which resulted in a cross which went over 2 FOBG defenders and found an unmarked Toby player at the back post who stooped low to head the ball into the bottom right hand side leaving the FOBG GK with no chance. 2-0 Toby Vets.
What happened next can only be described as a football miracle, maybe the big man upstairs was going to make a second coming after all, but rather than being born in a nearby stable he would be born in a 17th floor 2 bedroom flat on the Ferrier Estate opposite – Alajuela.
We grabbed 3 goals literally inside no more than 5 minutes to turn the game on its head and leaving the Toby Vets scratching theirs!
Paul Tanton grabbed the first with a crisp volley after good play form George out wide which brought the deficit to 2-1. George then slotted the ball high to keeper's left after a deft ball over the top to make the scores level at 2-2, and then a great knock from Brett Cheesman out on the right wing caused the defender and goalkeeper no ends of problems and with PG breathing down the defender's neck the Toby defender somehow deflected it into his own goal and although their GK got a hand to it he couldn’t divert it away this now made it 2-3 to FOBG.
Our 4th and best goal of the game came courtesy from the in form George K who rather than opting to the chip the onrushing goalkeeper decided to curl a peach of a shot around him which was probably the best choice seeing as the goals only appeared to be about 6 ft high! 2-4 FOBG.
Now we were totally in control and started to play the ball around nicely which led to another chance which fell to Paul Tanton, he rounded the goalkeeper excellently and from 6 yards shot into an empty goal only to find that the ball completely ran out of steam so much so that it didn’t even have enough kinetic energy to bounce off of the far post so it just well stopped against it!!!???? Paul has taken - no physically ripped - the Ronnie Rosenthal trophy from Pete Harvey for the miss of the season and we may as well engrave it with Tant's name this week! (ALL BETS ARE OFF).
Toby Vets pushed forward for a lifeline but everything they threw at us was dealt with resolutely by Andy Cobham and notably Tony Simpson. They were also denied by a fine save from the FOBG GK from a dangerous free kick no more than 20 yards out.
We then put the game beyond doubt from either a very intelligent or very fluky piece of play form George K. Once again a simple ball over the top put George through on goal one on one with the goalkeeper who did his best impression of an echinoderm (more commonly known as a star fish to you and I) but the shot went through his legs and the ball ended up in the empty net 2-5 FOBG.
This was a real turnaround result for us and maybe it was due to the fact we got off of each other's backs and stopped moaning at each other, maybe it was down to our better fitness levels, maybe it was down to the tactical changes we made, maybe the oppo caught swine flu off Danny Saines who knows? Whatever way you looked at it we showed that when we play football not many teams can cope with us.
MOM was Tony (Michael Jordan) Simpson for an excellent display at the back which more than made up for the penalty gaffe in the first half. And a mention must also go to the hat-trick hero George who is just scoring for fun at the moment 8 in the last 3 games.
Next week we face Tiger Vets at the Acacia Halls in sunny Dartford home of the legendary Mick Jagger, and if we don’t get a result then I wont get no ‘satisfaction’.
Man of the match: Tony Simpson