Sunday 25th February 2018
By Mark Harrington
Supporters: None thankfully
Squad: Frank Pearce, Neil Pearce, Jon Gasson, Marcus Allen, Robin Moody, Joe Champ, Dean Murphy, Jon Redman, Damien Preston, Jez Mooney, Alan Fines, Paul Tanton, Jason Miller, Justin Blundell, Barry Grainger, Dean Wyatt.
I guess when you do not have your first, second or even third choice goalkeeper available, you are always going to be up against it but in truth, both of the last two games against the same opposition we were in a similar situation and ran out winners. So in true FOBG FC spirit, we have to congratulate our hosts on giving us a good stuffing, not only on the pitch but the buffet was exceptional (more on this later).
Fresh from getting our new Number 1 out of his bed at 9.30 and to accept his offer to keep goal (everyone else had taken a huge step backwards at this point and he was too hungover to move) we thought the extra sleep would reap rewards. To an extent this is true as Frank only conceded two goals in the first half before handing over the gloves to Neil Pearce at the break. The reality is it should have been three but the referee clearly didn’t think Frank was quick enough to catch the new rapid number 9 of John Roan and failed to give the spot kick. We have to admit that we were on that side of the pitch and we all believed he dived but Frank later confirmed that the extra bottle of red must have put a spring in his boots and he actually caught the forward. Our apologies to our opponents but nobody should be that quick in vets football!
When analysing a result like this you can easily look at a number of excuses, who didn’t pull their weight and the “ifs, buts and maybes” come out. One thing we did learn was that 16 players is far too many to take on a match day as it involves far too many changes. The intention of giving people some game time due to cancelled games and injuries was an honest one but perhaps a plan that should not have been tested against such a good side and without your keeper. John Roan have strengthened their team and at times played some lovely football. Almost every attempt ended up in the back of our net and despite us having a number of chances we were not as ruthless as our hosts. We did actually take the lead in the fourth minute when Alan Fines beat the keeper from just inside the box but John Roan equalised shortly afterwards and then struck a killer blow on the stroke of half-time. We did have a chance to equalise when Jez Mooney made a chance for himself but narrowly shot wide of the far post. Jez is famed for having a brilliant golf handicap and I guess that is down to his short game rather than putting a much smaller white ball in a hole. Only joking Jez as the ball on Sunday was far from white!
So Frank handed the gloves to Neil and he reciprocated with handing over the right back berth. Neil gave an accomplished return to action in the first half at full back and it was pleasing to give him some game time after injury. See Neil I said I would not tell anyone about the brown loafers I witnessed in town on Friday. I assume you have changed jobs from banking to IT? Brown in town, shameful! Anyway, good to have you back although, extra kitchen staff now being advertised for in every club. The king of the buffet has returned!
The goals came thick and fast and the game was over with 30 minutes to spare. One was headed in from a corner, someone who has not scored for 10 years broke that duck on Sunday and the nippy forward rounded Neil a few times. Anyway, it matters not as our hosts were worthy winners and we shall do it all again in a few weeks when we play John Roan for the third time this season. Hopefully, we can acquit ourselves a bit better. The after mood was sombre (almost sober) with lots of apologies but there was no time to feel down as the buffet arrived and if only we had been as quick on the field as we were to the sarnies, sausages and roast spuds we probably could have got a draw. Only joking, may have won, yeah right! Anyway, no forgiveness required as the lads have been absolutely tremendous every week this season and one wretched day at the office can be put down to exactly that. If it happens again then I’ll have to think up some other positive vibes. Don’t let me down boys.
So we have to thank the Pearce boys for stepping forward when they were needed in goal, Marcus and Robin playing with slight pulls, Jon Gasson and Dean Wyatt for trying to motivate when all was lost, Damo and Jez for trying to provide legs but the best of a bad bunch (Man of the Match) goes to Paul Tanton with 7 votes. I was not that confident going into the match as Paul said to me beforehand “Gaffer if you pull me off I’ll stiffen up and won’t be able to go on”. I think I knew what he meant but left him on just in case it ended in a climax and he provided a brilliant outlet on the left. A number of his crosses presenting opportunities that on another day we could convert.
So to end on positives……as well as having Neil back from injury we also had the welcome return of Justin Blundell and he didn’t let us down in his new Sports Direct specials, Barry Grainger got more fitness time as did Jon Redman.
Thanks to all players for tolerating the numerous changes in the freezing weather. Next week, weather permitting, we are back at the same ground against Toby Vets for a right carve up!
Good week all.
Man of the match: Paul Tanton