Sunday 15th April 2018
By Mark Harrington
The ultimate comeback in a week of comebacks
Supporters: Little Redman, Little Grainger and Mrs Grainger
Squad: Gary Rosslee, James Clarke, Jon Gasson, Frank Pearce, Joe Champ, Jez Mooney, Jon Redman, Damien Preston, Alan Fines, Paul Tanton, Barry Grainger, Jason Miller (Capt), Simon Davies, Justin Blundell
Referee: Marcus Allen
The comeback of all comebacks……
What a week it has been for teams coming back from an almost impossible position to win but at 0-3 down at half-time and then conceding early in the second half, no one could have predicted what was about to unfold in the final 40 minutes at Farrow Fields. I still can’t quite believe it but in truth, if the Young Vets have anything it is their never-say-die spirit and chief cheerleaders Frank and Jason gave rousing speeches at the break in an attempt to galvanise a disappointed 11. We all knew we could play so much better than the first half showing, we were unusually so far off the pace in the first half that we were barely recognisable as a team. Lack of games has affected our flow but we could not string two passes together and the scoreline could have been far worse but for two fines saves by Gary Rosslee.
As this is a family read I cannot really write what I thought about the first half but as bad as we were in this period, we proved to be back to our best in the second, well but for one moment early in the second half. Their goal, a good curler into the top right, seemed to not rock us but pump even more life into us and after a couple of near misses, sub Justin Blundell got his second goal for the club with a fine header. So pleased for Justin as he broke his ankle not long after joining us and it was great to see him back in action. One of the nicest blokes you will meet and a fine player and he was first to react after Alan Fines had his penalty saved to make the score 2-4. The credit for earning this penalty goes firstly, to Barry Grainger for creating the opportunity when the last man brought him down and then secondly, to the excellent referee Marcus Allen for allowing play to continue to so see if we could gain an advantage, then he pulled it back when it was clear there was none.
Momentum in football is almost impossible to stop but we gained this through the excellent contributions of subs Justin, Barry and Si Davies. All three bringing endeavour, calmness and an eye for a pass. The alert referee spotted the visitors' defender's elbow at a corner and Alan Fines this time made no mistake from the spot to bring the score to 3-4. Jon Redman came back on and set up Barry Grainger but he could not adjust his body in time and shot wide but is was not long before the same combination created our equaliser and Barry calmly lobbed the Charlton keeper to bring us level. I thought I was going to have to have use of the club's defibrillator after coming back from 4 down but if I needed it then, moments later the old ticker was put through the ringer again but Gary saved another effort after the opposition broke free.
Every man put played their part in a brilliant second half, I am tempted to say they must have saved all the energy for the final 45 minutes but I will not! Jon Gasson and Frank Pearce put their bodies on the line and headed and tackled anything that moved, sometimes even the ball was there! Jason Miller, captain for the day, was dogged and led by example. It wasn’t a case of the tail wagging the dog but he led from the back, after moving to right back from his usual wing position. He kept us on all fours and correctly collared the Man of the Match vote with 7. All three were superbly assisted in defence by Joe Champ whose distribution from the left side gave us not only time to regroup but also the delivery set up numerous attacks and he worked brilliantly with Paul Tanton and Damien Preston, who were both constant thorns down the left side.
It is ironic that I write this watching the Newcastle versus Arsenal game, which many will remember finished 4-4 after a stunning comeback by the Magpies. Well the only similarity is the striped shirts as the Guild went one better than the Geordies when Barry Grainger and Jon Redman’s combined headers found their way to top scorer Alan Fines who lobbed the keeper to send us into dreamland and me recreating Jose or that bloke at Wolves down the touchline (with flag in hand and making it the fastest lino you have ever seen!). Sorry could not remain impartial at that point but if Neil Warnock wants an apology then…….sorry haven’t run for ages since the op.
The boys were never going to let slip the position we had got ourselves back into but to win the game from a 0-4 position is nothing short of a miracle. An amazing team effort and those boys who came off continued to cheer us on, which I have no doubt helped those on the pitch. I could name a number of standout performers and whilst some individuals grabbed the headlines in truth all 11 played a spectacular second half to recover what seemed an impossible position. Let’s just hope we don’t have to be in that position too many times!
Thanks to….. Tant for the grub, Leanne for the bar, those that ran the line, Marcus for officiating brilliantly again and our opposition for, as usual, a very competitive encounter that for the first time in a while, we came out on top against them.
Metrogas at home next week and it would be good to take the second half performance into that game against what is always tough opposition.
Man of the match: Jason Miller