Saturday 12th November 2005
By Danny Saines
Well done boys. At last a good result ground out against a fairly good opposition who would not lie down. Again with minimal staff. 2 regular fit players away along with the 4 long term injured did not help, but Dan Head and Joe Oatley stepping up again did tremendously well as did Richie Davis in the centre of the park even though his first touch did deserve the mandatory 7 year stretch in Wormwood. Judgie took over the captain''s armband, led by example, and on merit deserves to keep it again this week against Wilmington. Alongside Woody at the back, although after a shaky 10 minute start, then dealt with everything thrown at them by Penhill, protecting Stewart throughout the match.
After taking 10 minutes to settle we really started playing like the ''old skool'' team and was good to see, with everyone committed going forward, with some excellent passing and moving. Daragh came in to left midfield and his level of encouragement to the rest of his team mates was second to none, especially to Joe who was playing directly behind him. Some of you ''old skool'' players should take a look and listen to Daragh. It was what you expect to hear from a team mate rather than the somewhat negative grief being dished out all over the place since the start of the season. That was until of course, he told the ref to go forth and multiply, earning him a yellow. Tut tut Daragh.
Our first goal came funnily enough from a counter attack after we had softly let them in for the first time all half, but a brave save by Stewart enabled a quick and decisive throw out to Barry who linked quickly with Daragh who brought Kirky into play on the right with accuracy and speed. Pete measured his pull back perfectly for Jay Hardy to take under control and pick his spot, giving their keeper no chance. From there on our confidence grew and it looked like we may get our long awaited hatful that we know we deserve. Alas again for another week it didn''t happen for us with Bazza, aka "Who''s moved the goal posts to the right again this week?" still not finding that touch that earnt him the Sevenoaks & District Golden Boot Award 2002/03 (oh the prestigiousness!!). See Barry. I told you I''d get you back in the newsletter for taking the pee out of my last one. I am the one with the control.
Our second goal came from a stunning piece of individualism from young Joe Oatley. Although left full back is not his favoured foot or position, his pace and close ball control going at defenders does give him potential for a good club wingback now and in the future. Although on his first run (some 5 minutes before) he tripped over his own shoelace (sorry Joe, but you weren''t going to get away with that one!), his second run proved to be decisive and after greedily getting himself into a shooting position in front of goal, took it without faze. 2-0 before half time. Half the job done.
Unfortunately with minutes to go before half time, we softly gave them a goal which they did not deserve but gave them hope for the second half, bringing them back into the match. Although a good move, it was too easy for them to walk through us with most of our players standing off waiting for someone else to take responsibility. Laziness and poor communication amongst the ranks cost us a goal and re-shaped what was to be the second half.
Village appeared from God knows where at half time giving me a much needed 12th man cover and I felt everyone responded to the half time team talk. Penhill had other thoughts though and came at us with new belief right from the off. All of a sudden things just weren''t clicking again. Passes going astray, panicking on the ball, loss of self belief - the usual stuff - and it looked like an equaliser was on the cards. Lucky for us Captain Marvel Woody was at hand to deal with it all, justifiably earning himself Man of the Match. Woody wanted to do everything. From take all the throws, all the corners and if it possible all of theirs as well. But, joking aside, gave a sterling 2nd half performance which started rubbing off on everyone else.
Giving credit to Penhill (but frustration to us), they never laid down and kept coming back at us relentlessly. When Joe got a knock half way though the second half it was nice to get Village back on (after 3 weeks out injured), giving another head of calming experience at the back and we seemed to settle a bit and started opening them up once more. We then had a good 10 minute spell where we should have finished them off with at least a third goal, but their luck held out and when Jay Hardy sustained a recurring injury to his damaged ankle ligaments and had to go off, with 5 minutes to go and down to 10 men things didn''t look too chipper. This is where the necessity of a 14 man squad (INCLUDING subs) comes into effect. I know everyone wants to play, and to play for 90 minutes, but a squad''s a squad, and you know I will rotate it to be fair IF and WHEN we get back to full strength. As I said in the dressing room before the match the 1st''s and 2nd''s are finally coming into a spell where supply exceeds demand and what I require is 15 man squad dedicated to the cause every Saturday.
Tant & I watched nervously from the line for the last few minutes, commenting on how nice maybe a 2nd or even a 3rd sub would have been right now and how much of a travesty it will be if they equalised. All that effort for no result. How demoralising. BUT little did we know that Ray''s deputiser Dan Head had other ideas and in the dying moments of the match produced a stunning goal worthy of the 1st team. A well deserved goal at that, rewarding him for all the running and chasing down he had done throughout the 90 minutes. 3-1 and 3 deserved points. Job done.
BUT it will mean nothing if we do not go out and repeat all again this coming Saturday with a well-looked-forward-to replay against Wilmington. Another 3 points here could put us right back up there with the leading pack of 3 teams. It is up to you guys. If an embarrassing defeat by Wilmington earlier on in the season isn''t enough to fire you up you may as well not bother turning up. We are at home and we are good enough to return the embarrassment ten fold. I have named a very strong 15 man squad. If you are unavailable OR are injured please let me know as soon as possible. I can only afford one, maybe two dropouts this week boys.
Finally on a sad note can we please spare a thought for Chrissy Greenhough. He was ribbed by his team mates upon leaving the dressing room after the game for an undeserved and uncharismatic speech impedimented blunder. He never made it to the bar and apparently left the clubhouse in a right huff. Ignore them Chris. I will make the guilty perpetrators apologise to you in public next week. Even though I was there and found it all as amusing as the next bloke, I will not tolerate bullying.