Sunday 27th January 2019
By Mark Harrington
Music appears to have galvanised us and midweek WhatsApp banter was all about the tunes for the playlist. A shame really as it’s disgraceful that our WhatsApp group should be littered with such clean stuff. To remedy I suggest I will just pick a few random songs and we get back to the usual material.
Anyway last week I did say the first tune should be “You can call me Al” and even though we did not play it, it would have been rather fitting as Al dominated the scoring with four superbly taken chances. Now Al is famed for goals but I cannot say I have ever seen him even head a ball, let alone score with one off the swede but today was that day. I can only assume having already scored a hat-trick he had nothing to lose and somehow managed to get in front of Frank to bury past the oppo's stationary keeper. A fine performance and one which rightly deserved the Man of the Match award with seven votes.
The overnight deluge appeared to have no effect on the surfaces, well that’s what I thought from about 50 yards away during the mutts' early morning walk. Perhaps I used the bottom pitch as too much of a guide or was I too confident that, as the only team at home, we would have two pitches to choose from. Anyway, a visit to Specsavers is clearly on the cards as a last minute call from Vince Wray asked if we would mind if they switched their called off away game to home. No problem “so long as the top pitch is playable”. Erm......it was after a pitch inspection, brooms and forks. A 15 minute delay to kick-off was no drama which meant a game for the Sunday XI and a 6-0 win. Well done lads. A big thank you to Danny, Gary, Marcus and a few young Vets who ensured any puddles were dispensed.
Referee Parsons was agreeable to play and it proved to be the right call as it was just surface water. Another decision Paul Parsons got right on a day when he again had a fine game and the boys are enjoying his style of officiating.
The pre-match team talk was rather rushed, which was a good thing as Marcus tried to explain how he would fit 16 into 11 and I must admit, “he had me at hello”. He barked “The right will rotate with the left and the middle will rotate with the back four” we all looked on in utter confusion, of course all nodding that we understood. Anyway, it seemed to work as we went after our younger opponents from the word go and we were 2-0 up very quickly through Alan and Matt Kerby. Further goals followed with Alan completing an early hat-trick and even setting up Rhino with a back heel for a well deserved goal. Those Rhinos just love the wet and Dean had an outstanding game; he covered every bit of.......mud and his goal was a classy finish from a very well worked move.
We were 5-0 up at half-time and some of the football we had played showed this was no fluke. It could and perhaps should have been more but we were satisfied with a brilliant 45 minutes' work. Dean had the better of the left back, Tant was dropping short and pulling his marker all over the place, Joe and Damien combined well on the left and the back four withstood their attacks. The midfield of Kerbs and Rhino won the ball time and again to set up the forwards.
There was a host of youngsters on their subs' bench so I guess, with our tiring legs this would give them impetus. We were not concerned as we had the legs of Kevin, the guile of Barry, the robustness of James, the calmness of Neil and the sound defensive qualities of the returning Matti Wright. Well......erm.....it didn’t go to plan really.
The first 10 minutes of the second half was polar to the first 45 minutes. Yes their youngsters gave them a lift but we seemed to not immediately respond to our own host of changes. We were all over the place and a twice deflected shot gave our visitors a goal back. It hit Matti Wright then my left arm and Gary could not keep it out. Matti had left his sound defensive qualities in the dressing room at this point but we knew nothing could have been done and both he and myself did see the funny side and I would only say that if you never put your body in harms way, then you will never score an oggy. Unlucky Matti as VAR confirmed it was going in from you anyway! You’ve clearly been spending more time working that rank. Rank I hear you say? Yes terrible but like the true pro Matti is, he made up for it with a brilliant headed goal from a sublime free kick by Barry Grainger. Matti heading in at the far post and giving the keeper no chance.
Talking of keepers, despite the scoreline you would think we had it all our own way however, we are indebted to Gary for three brilliant saves and one from a penalty. Although, if truth be told, he was almost level with the taker when he got down to block the kick which had been awarded for a foul by one of our older folk on one of their younger boys. Ball was taken first but referee Parsons adjudged the man was taken from behind as well. I am sure there are laws against that sort of thing. Anyway, it mattered not as Gary did the rest. This would have made the score 6-3 if it had gone in as we had just been beaten at the far post for their second although, I think this may have come off a Guild body so Gary may well have kept a clean sheet against our oppo.
The miss seemed to kill off their belief and we could have scored a couple on the break but after Alan completed the scoring with his header it really became a midfield rumble that Rhino, Kevin and new wingers Joe and Frank bossed. Joe almost added a shot from 20 yards but sadly it was on his uncustomary right foot and the shot still has 19 yards to go. Joe blamed the pitch but it’s clear that all of his talent is in his left foot but we congratulate him for being as far forward as he was.
The hardest task of the day is clearly going to be the kit washing. Marcus already confirmed that he may splash out on two sachets of Persil this week but we all know Scousers' generosity knows no beginning and so we look forward to next week’s remodelled kit, fresh with a nice brown stripe.
We returned to the changing room ecstatic at our performance and pumped out the tunes. The Jam featured with “That’s Entertainment” and Matti Wright became a man possessed when “Keep on Moving” by Five came on. Both appropriate we thought albeit, some very worried looks when Dean Murphy’s request came on, “I’m Too Sexy” by Right Said Fred. You’ve never seen such a delay for the showers and Dean had the choice of three all to himself although he seemed to be having problems finding his soap and there were no willing volunteers after his request for assistance. 15 blokes all cleaning their boots at the same time is an unbelievable coincidence.
So next week we are hopefully away to Baltic, let’s keep the run going. Congratulations to Alan for his four goals and MOM award. He is now second in the goal charts by one to Shipps. A real battle forming with Kerbs just behind.
Thanks to Leanne for the grub and to Gary and Danny Saines for assisting with the pitch. I would have looked a right plonker if we had been called off after giving away our pitch!
Enjoy your week.
Man of the match: Alan Fines