Sunday 6th January 2019
By Mark Harrington
Team: Gary Rosslee, Mark Harrington, Frank Pearce, James Clarke, Jon Gasson (Capt), Damian Preston, Kevin Analuwa, Dean Murphy, Matt Kerby, Paul Tanton, Steve Shippey, Barry Grainger, Alan Fines.
So it’s a happy new year all and whilst it is usually a case of ‘out with the old and in with the new’, the annual pattern of losing this fixture ensured it was the same old story.
There is some irony that this game is always played just after a long break and played at Stone Rec. We certainly brought a few stones of our own. I don’t mean to be cruel to my team mates but to be fair, I don’t think anyone got the Joe Wicks healthy eating book for Christmas. Needless to say that Mrs Allen will not only have to wash the kit, which no one fancied doing after playing on a public park pitch, she will also need a needle and thread to repair the stretch marks. I am sure she is used to it.
It was a marvellous sight whilst waiting for the changing rooms to be opened and observe a dog walker allowing his mutt to curl one off in the top right hand corner. It was not the only thing that curled into the top right corner but more on that later. I admired the walker's community spirit when reaching for his poo bag and clearing up the mess. Unfortunately this was not a case of a ‘dry January’ and he clearly bent down, realised a straw was more appropriate than a bag, had second thoughts and fooled us all into thinking he was a man of the people and cleaned up. We made several poo jokes and oh how I laughed until being told I was at right wing back, right on the spot of the spoiled turf. It’s hard to make that pitch worse but the mutt did a fine job and had clearly eaten something from the food van that none of us would dare take a chance on. No matter I thought as we had taken the opposite end, it would be gone by the time I was on that part of the pitch. Imagine my horror when Capt Jon won the toss and turned us around. He has always been a fine tosser! Thanks Skip.
Anyway it mattered not as we all concurred that it was not the biggest pile of crap on the field today.
It was evident from the early exchanges that we were off the pace and it wasn’t going to be our day. It is not a pitch that suits our passing style; however we warmed to the task and after a neat passage of play, Shipps was through on goal but denied by the keeper.
An injury to the oppo forward changed the game. His replacement collected a throw-in and eluded one tackle to fire past Gary. We nearly responded immediately when Shipps could just not stretch far enough to turn in a cross from the right. Half-time came and we were confident we could turn it around. In the first half we ‘ran up the hill’ more times than Kate Bush and so we thought the downhill slope would help us. Unfortunately a mix-up allowed the same forward to lob the onrushing Gary to out our hosts 2-0 ahead. How the same guy stayed on the pitch for grabbing Frank around the throat and then shoving me twice in the chest, for no apparent reason, was beyond me and it was ironic that the ref had earlier booked Frank for following through when his momentum couldn’t stop him from falling into the oppo left back. Perhaps he didn’t believe Frank’s explanation that he was 14 stone and just couldn’t stop. First time I have ever thought of Frank being understated. He did as usual, have a fine game and his determination for a man of his age is an example to us all.
Kevin again had a fine game and his constant running and tackling is a major asset for us. Jon Gasson, as usual, lead from the front and played a captain's role. Matt Kerby, playing in an unfamiliar central midfield role, didn’t stop running and was unlucky not to score with a couple of long range hits. He was fully deserving of his MOM award with 7 votes.
Whilst we didn’t click today, we can be proud that every man put in a massive shift. The effort and commitment was there for all to see, even if a few of us had very little left to give by the time their midfielder collected the ball and put a ‘proper’ curler into the top corner. The mutt would have no doubt thought his was a far better curler. I can say it was a proper shift (with a silent f) by our four legged friend. I guess if he had done it at our ground the top pitch would have been deemed unplayable and match called off.
A 3-0 scoreline was harsh on us but we can admit that we didn’t trouble their keeper enough and made mistakes that our hosts did not. We did score but the goal was ruled out for some reason, which the referee didn’t really explain. Summed up the day really but probably made no difference anyway.
So next week we are at home to Charlton Rangers. It been so long since we played at Farrow Fields I will remind you that the postcode is on the website and so you should find it using a Satnav.
Oh I almost forgot.....congratulations to Jade and Alan Fines on their wedding before Christmas. Marriage is a great medicine for football and so we today welcomed Alan back to the squad after a few months of retirement. What a match to return for! Second thoughts Al? On playing I mean mate, not the wedding.
Weekend will be here again soon. Hope you all earn a few quid. Be seeing ya.
Man of the match: Matt Kerby