Sunday 26th January 2020
By Mark Harrington
Squad: Gary Rosslee, Gary McQueen, Mark Harrington, Robin Moody (Capt), Joe Champ, Paul Tanton, Matt Kerby, Chris Morris, Jason Miller, Alan Fines, Sean Blackwell, Damien Preston.
With last week’s cancellation a distant memory there was never any doubt that this game was going to go ahead. We were the only team at home so had the luxury of the main pitch and multiple changing rooms to choose from. But as old people do, we stuck to tradition and squeezed into our usual surroundings.
After several failed attempts at getting some decent music requests, I took over as DJ and the new Bluetooth accessory courtesy of the kids' Christmas present to their old man pumped out Elvis from the word go. I’m not an Elvis fan per se but anything was better than Neil Pearce’s Nat King Cole offerings of recent weeks.
I’ll make no Elvis jokes as I’ve done that previously but I have to say that The King was truly inspiring. Usually we have played like a load of old Queens so as you will hear further down the page, we turned on the style against much younger opposition. That Sanatogen stuff is a miracle cure although, not sure it works on the youth.
We were out warming up only to be told they had 7. Hearts sank but then four more appeared out of nowhere and we were good to go . A quick inspection of the nets, pitch and driving licences of our oppo by the again excellent Paul “Play on” Parsons and we were off.
The first 5 minutes saw our opponents have much of the play but then a super through ball from Chris Morris saw Alan open the scoring. Jason Miller, who turned up looking like he had a small part in Brokeback Mountain, increased the lead with a fine shot across goal into the bottom right hand corner. We were totally dominant at this point and should have added more. Paul Tanton missed from 6 yards, a bit too far out for him on this occasion and Sean could just not connect with the rebound. Alan had another effort excellently saved by the keeper and Sean was crowded out when he was just about to pull the trigger.
Perhaps complacency or clever forward play but a bit of grappling between Gary Mac and the oppo winger from a throw saw a penalty awarded. A bit of six and two threes in my opinion but as a defender you are always going to get the decision against you. Anyway, Gary’s dad consoled his son at half-time with confirmation that he should keep his hands to himself. Anyway, we did not panic as Gary Rosslee has saved the last four pens and we had every faith in him. Our confidence was not misplaced and only the kick was as Gary kept out penalty number five. This must be some sort of record at the Guild.
Sadly a few minutes later a corner was swung over and their midfielder ran unchallenged to head in. Things could have got worse but Gary’s heroics continued and some last-ditch defending kept a few attacks at bay and then from our own corner, Alan headed home at the far post. That’s now three headers from Alan and he would admit it’s not his strong point, as perfectly demonstrated in the second half! We are sending Alan for some dementia tests as he actually forgot to not pass in the second half.
So half-time came and we were in buoyant mood. There was not a man on the pitch whose level fell below an 8 out of 10 in the first half and this was to be repeated in the second.
Alan led the line superbly and was excellently supported by Sean Blackwell, whose unselfish play and dropping deep to help out did not go without notice. Alan started the second half exactly how he finished the first by scoring a goal I actually find hard to describe. Was it an overhead, scissors or scorpion kick? So having said I cannot describe it, I will, the cross came over, it bounced and Alan hooked it over his shoulder and over the keeper into the top right hand bin. As hookers go, I have not seen finer.
This did not dispirit our opponents and they continued to run and chase until the final whistle and it took a few more fine saves by Gary and a clearance off the line by Gary Mac and one by Tant to keep our lead. The best goal was yet to come and it was like watching Barca. Won at the back, played out wide, three quick passes and a cross by Chris Morris saw Alan side-foot in our fifth and Alan’s fourth. A truly brilliant goal and even admired by our visitors.
They still would not give up and a speculative shot was misjudged by Gary for once and it ended up in the back of the net. There were no grumbles heard other than from Gary himself as we all recognised we would not have been in the position we were without his earlier performance. As Gary is such a perfectionist no-one needed to remind him of this clanger, so that’s why I’m doing it now.
So as mentioned, no-one's levels dropped below 8 out of 10 throughout the game. Every man played their part and none more so than the gaffer Damo. With Joe’s calf going he slotted in at left back like he had played there all his life. I can confirm he has not played theirre all his life as at school we would not let him anywhere near our own box!
Robin took over as third choice skipper after Dean’s charity exploits and so we wait to see where Robin goes to get away from the responsibility! Robin had another solid game and his delegation skills are second to none. When the biggest lad you have ever seen comes on, he straight away said “He’s yours H”. Very trusting is our Robin.
Our midfield excelled today. Chris and Kerbs complement each other. Kerbs glides across the pitch with ease and Chris is a clever user of the ball. If anyone wonders where Glenn Murray is, he’s pretending to be a Vet with us. A lookalike if ever I saw one and he even supports Palace!
Despite turning up looking like a line dancer, the only dancing Jason Miller did was around much younger opposition. A fine game by Jason and Tants was excellent on the left wing.
But the day belonged to Alan with four excellent goals of different variety. An easy decision for man of the match with 6 votes. Votes also for Jason, Kerbs, Gary Mac and Sean.
Brilliant display lads and on to Baltic next week.
A good week all.
Man of the match: Alan Fines