Sunday 28th August 2011
By Roger French
Not Much Charity on View as Senior Vets Draw 4-4 in Arthur Dean Memorial Game in Season Opener
With so many fixtures to cram into the new season we found ourselves opening our account with an away game in Four Elms, near Edenbridge on August Bank Holiday Sunday having been invited to play in the Arthur Dean Memorial game against an Edenbridge Charity Vets team.
As usual at this early stage of the season summer holidays were influencing squad selection and the Senior Vets were boosted by the inclusion of established Young Vets Grant Gable, George Kleanthous and Pete Harvey together with new boy Simon Hunt. This game also saw the return of Steve Palmer in goal as FOBG lined as follows:
Steve Palmer GK
Mehmet Bozyigit RB
Steve Blanchard CB
John Tallis CB
Ian Coles LB
Ian Shoebridge RM
Grant Gable CM
Sinisa Gracanin CM
George Kleanthous LM
Leo Maccioni CF
Pete Harvey CF
Subs: Roger French, Chris Bourlet, Simon Hunt
Prior to the game the match organiser said a few words in memory of Arthur Dean who had close connections with Edenbridge FC and Nomads FC as we all observed a minutes silence in the middle of the vast Nomads FC pitch.
As the game got under way the initial pressure came from Edenbridge as they looked to pen us back in our half. With Pete Harvey looking his usual lively self we were always dangerous on the break but it was Edenbridge who took the lead when the ball was played out to their right to their winger who was at least a yard offside. However, with no linesmen being employed the goal stood.
This provided us with the wake up call that was needed and we started to pass the ball around very neatly with Grant and Sini taking control in the middle of the park.
The first 20 minutes was to prove costly in terms of injuries as first George with a knee injury then John with a hamstring both had to withdraw and be replaced by Simon and Chris respectively.
By now we had the majority of the play and it wasn’t long before we were on equal terms courtesy of a Pete Harvey goal. After 25 minutes Roger came on for Mehmet at left back with Chris switching over to right back.
FOBG sustained the pressure with great link up play between midfield and Pete and Leo up front with chances being created. Grant was next up to score when following up a parried shot from Pete Harvey he was able to bundle the ball into the net before the defender.
Edenbridge were restricted to the odd foray into FOBG territory now which was well dealt by the back four and invariable played out to midfield to create another attack. Just before the stroke of half-time one such attack lead to the ball being crossed in at pace from the FOBG right only for an Edenbridge defender to neatly place the ball into the back of his own net.
The half-time whistle was blown immediately after the restart and the words of Waldorf had been duly noted as a bag of juicy oranges was produced to provide welcome sustenance as Shoey took a break to allow Mehmet back into the game.
Edenbridge with a large squad of players introduced a number of new players into the second half who rather changed the tone of the game with a number of feisty challenges and niggly comments appearing.
As usual Pete Harvey took more than his fair share of these robust tackles a lot of which went unpunished by the referee. This approach worked for Edenbridge as FOBG did not settle back into the sleek passing mode seen for the majority of the first half.
Indeed they were able to drag themselves level scoring two goals without reply although once again one had more than a suspicion of offside to make it 3-3. Finally we got back into gear and Pete converted a second to put us back in front.
Shortly after this good play between Pete and Grant resulted in an excellent goal from Grant but surprisingly the referee decided this was offside – funny that really. By now Chris has succumbed to the injury curse and Shoey was back in the unfamiliar role of right back.
Edenbridge continued their assault on our goal and were awarded a penalty after Colesy had attempted to block a shot on goal. Steve in goal made a valiant attempt to save the well struck shot but could not prevent it hitting the back of the net to level the scores.
Another robust challenge escaped the attention of the referee which proved to be the final straw for our level headed manager and questions were asked in a none too conciliatory manner resulting in a dubious free kick being award on the edge of the box to Edenbridge!
Not long after this the game was brought to a premature end following a last ditch attempt by the said level headed manager to block a shot on goal from the edge of the box. Unfortunately this was not the type of pitch to attempt a sliding block as his trailing leg stayed still resulting in a badly twisted knee.
Things did not look too good and an ambulance was called but this did not deter the teams who were playing after from taking to the pitch and warming up around the prone Statler. After a good 15 minutes of ice pack application he was able to get to his feet and it was decided that a trip to Edenbridge casualty was not required so the ambulance was cancelled. Pity nobody told Pete who had been waiting to guide the ambulance in from the road and didn’t appear back in the changing rooms until almost everybody had gone.
All in all a very disappointing end to a tough game. No MOM votes were taken but everybody in my view played well so a nominal vote has been awarded to all. The bigger disappointment for me is that I won’t be playing for a number of weeks now and I hear that George is in the same position – not really the sort of start you need for a new season.