Sunday 30th September 2018
By Mark Harrington
Referee: Marcus Allen
Team: Mark Harrington, James Clarke, Frank Pearce (Capt) Robin Moody, Joe Champ, Damian Preston, Justin Blundell, Dean Murphy, Paul Tanton, Steve Shippey, Tom Naughton, Barry Grainger, Darragh Nott
So with the Ryder Cup and the warm weather it really didn’t feel like a proper football Sunday. I thought I had seen enough blue and red whilst glued to the golf all weekend but only for our opposition to turn up in red and blue kit. Mrs H commented that all I would need is a sofa on the goal line and Sunday would be very similar to the previous two days. I didn’t sense any sarcasm and clearly the fiver I spent on her at Bluewater the night before on pic and mix repaid any accusation of inactivity for 48 hours. It may well have been me asking her to be quiet whilst Europe putted that took it too far and she clearly knows nowt about golf when she said “they cannot hear me”. Ha what does she know?
Unfortunately, she was probably right about inactivity on the second goal we conceded, as the corner came over and I was confident of a high catch and only to look up, see the sun and then see Stars and Stripes. Something ironic I feel, but the ball bounced around and Tom Naughton did a better job than me to get a hand to it, penalty given and duly dispatched. This was after us going a goal down to a shot that cannoned off the bar to the feet of their nippy striker to tap in. Fortunately, our own “nippy Shipps” headed in to level from a fine Damien cross.
Shipps was at it again latching onto a through ball to fire a shot that hit the back of the net via a small deflection. We were 2-1 up and playing well, good camaraderie in the team, people were working their socks off and we were defending well. Their nippy little fellow broke free again but I managed to save at the near post but only to concede what turned out to be the corner they equalised from. I’ll hold up my hands on this one, if only I had done so from the cross that eventually lead to the penalty.
They broke free just before half-time and the little fella was at it again, this time lifting the ball over me but just as he went to celebrate his strike partner, who had been in an offside position, decided to tap in a ball that was ultimately going to hit the net and for it to be cancelled out for offside. Whilst he moaned the decision, he ultimately knew the lineman and the excellent referee Marcus Allen were right and he had made a schoolboy error.
So we had got away with it and went into half-time all square. We were lively and competitive and the defence were excellent against such pace. We had chances but a 2-2 score at half-time was probably about the right scoreline.
With not playing for a couple of weeks, this was always going to be a hard game, especially in Indian summer conditions. We had already thought we had seen the back of an Indian in the dressing room, where Mr Preston treated us to a taste of Little India from the night before. Not only was his backside stinging, he doubled up with his legs later in the game after going to retrieve a ball he was stung by the top pitch nettles, which obviously drew huge amounts of sympathy from his team mates. Unfortunately the first aid kit does not cater for such eventualities so our very own “Calamine Kid” just had to get on with it. I am reliably informed that the Ryder Cup will be lifted before either stinging reduces. Must be a doubt for next weekend!
Both teams had a couple of chances to score but in fairness our visitors had clearer chances and could have put the game to bed on a few occasions but the back five, just about did enough, except with 20 minutes to go, he was not to be denied and through a crowded penalty area he bent a shot from the 18 yard line into the top corner to give himself a treble. It was a hard goal to concede as we had enough back to block but with quick feet and perhaps tiredness creeping in after such a good shift we cannot feel too bad. Every cloud has a silver lining and I am told he scored 5 last week so we did a good job on that basis. They must be delighted to have him in their side.
Even though we lost, this was a great workout. All parts of the team functioned well. The defence was marshalled superbly by Captain Frank Pearce and he was supported by Robin Moody. James Clarke had a fine first game of the season and looked like he had trained all summer. Joe was his usual excellent self before going off injured. We hope nothing serious but Damien showed he could adapt to that position and we have Matti Wright to return, who is an excellent left back.
Dean and Justin covered the whole pitch from centre midfield as did Paul Tanton, Tom, Shipps and after coming on as subs, so did both Barry Grainger and Darragh who ran their legs off. Shipps was a constant thorn in their side and fully deserved his two goals, if not more. We looked a team and regardless of the result, it was a thoroughly enjoyable match to play in, which our visitors added to. It was ultra competitive, and like Damo’s legs; a little prickly at times but we all cannot deny, it is the type of game we all love playing in.
Home to Lads of the Village next week lads. Perhaps our good form will produce the right result, especially if we are all as committed as we were today, none more so than Justin Blundell who was correctly voted Man of the Match with 8 votes.
Thanks to Leanne for the post match grub, which was hoovered up by both sides in the same competitive nature as the Match. Thanks also to Marcus for reffing and doing a very fine job of multi-tasking on the day with his management duties.
Man of the match: Justin Blundell