Sunday 8th April 2012
By Colin Brazier
Easter Sunday saw our 9th attempt in 18 months to beat The Buff, something we have managed to do just once. For the fifth week in a row Roger was unable to play but as usual provided the necessary tools to manage the 14 players who had confirmed within the specified timeframe i.e. TUESDAY NOON like every week! (I think that’s a dig at Paul Bell who made up for his no-show the other week with a surprise attendance on Sunday. You have to excuse him, like most Geordies he is totally discombobulated by their surprise Champions League challenge).
Trying to ensure everybody gets a game means that players have to play out of position and results suffer, and that was encapsulated today. The management try to please everyone, to the detriment of their own playing time (taking five weeks off is a bit extreme though) and they end up pleasing nobody. There are teams out there that are folding due to nobody willing to run the team and we are fortunate in that we have plenty of players wanting to play and sufficient numbers willing to run the team to make it work. The team spirit is second to none and keeping so many players happy is a challenge, but squad rotation is best done over a period of weeks rather than 90 minutes.
Whatever rotation or team selection is made though, is irrelevant when so many players have an off day. We just couldn’t get anything going, but did just enough to keep The Buff at bay, with the exception of a fine looping header that gave The Clown no chance after about 20 minutes. The three or four personnel and positional changes that quickly followed didn’t make a difference to our play either way, and Toby made a couple of saves to keep us in it at the interval.
More changes then, with the managerial clipboard much in evidence. With Pat having to leave early he watched forlornly by the corner flag as we struggled to get to grips with our new defensive line and were punished twice – by Barry Grainger inevitably – for trying to play our way out from the back. The rest of the game was about damage limitation which we achieved, in fact we managed to score when a good cross from Sini was converted by Belly (insert your own joke here) to spoil The Buff’s clean sheet, which seemed to ruffle them quite a bit. That was virtually the last kick of the game and we all trooped off, after sorting out the goals etc etc.
A very disappointing day as we had gone into the game with high hopes of reversing our 5-2 defeat to the same oppo just a few weeks ago, and come up some way short.
Well done to the oppo though, and to Mr Gable who stepped into the breach to referee the game in the Commander’s absence.
Man of the match was Chris Webb who has been playing well for the last few weeks since getting over his injury.
So onwards and upwards as they say.
Man of the match: Chris Webb