Sunday 23rd February 2020
By Mark Harrington
Groundsman the player of the match…..
Team: Gary Rosslee, Gary McQueen, Mark Harrington, Robin Moody (Capt), Matti Wright, Damien Preston, Si Davies, Sean Blackwell, Paul Tanton, Alan Fines, Barry Grainger, Chris Morris.
Venue: John Roan Playing Fields, Kidbrooke
With more bad weather forecast it was going to be ‘touch and go’ yet again for a weekend fixture. Credit to our opposition as they arranged an early inspection at 8.30 on the morning of the match and confirmed we were good to go. It was appreciated as no one wanted the long drive to Kidbrooke for no reason, especially those hardy travellers from Chislehurst. Arriving at the ground the main pitch was under water so we were amazed to see the pitch we were playing on was in perfect condition. Probably good enough for moulded boots such was the quality and so we applaud those at JR responsible for the pitches.
In the warm up both Tant and myself commented on the “too relaxed” atmosphere. People were standing around nattering about the Fury fight, the weather and anything else except football. One blessing was that as a result, we didn’t lose any balls as no one took any out of the bag. It was clear we were going to start slow and it looked like most had stayed up in the early hours to watch the fight. Some still catching their sleep on the pitch.
I do have to applaud our opponents with some good old fashioned vets fair play. After the slightest of touches by yours truly, he went down like Deontay Wilder. The ref was on the halfway line and asked for honesty. If I had taken him out I would have said but this was one old pro trying to play the game and for a minute it nearly worked. The penalty was given but great credit to Stuart Ross, who is also in our group, he simply rolled it back to Gary and we remained at nil nil. I’d normally accuse Stuart of trying to force our next team selection when he plays for us but in truth, it was just a case of good old fashioned fair play. Chris Morris said he would have missed it anyway but it certainly does not go down as a Gary Rosslee save!
So one Guild friend remembered his roots but another one certainly did not. Rent a footballer Danny Mullins, who always seems to want to play against us rather then for us, which we take as a compliment, ran through and whilst we thought he had run out of ground, somehow squeezed a shot under Gary from the tightest of angles and just eluded my attempt to clear off the line. Danny always seems to score against us so we should have accepted it as a given really. This actually woke us up and from nice interplay on the left we nearly equalised when Damo’s shot was blocked for a corner; however from the resulting kick and brilliant delivery by Sean, Robin smacked home a powerful header that eluded bodies on the line. Robin is an ex team mate of a number of Roan players who enquired “Why did you never score headers like that for us?”. The obvious response was of course “because the delivery was never that good”.
Shortly after our equaliser Matti Wright put over an exquisite cross that Barry Grainger controlled with one foot and calmly slid past the oncoming keeper. It was a great goal and probably Barry is the only one capable of taking a ball out of the air like that and finishing coolly. It was like time stood still but also a goal created and scored by long serving Guild players. It was a day when the old guard were out in force and performance by Matti Wright, Gary R and Tant stood out.
So we entered the half-time break in front and in control. Oranges, water and Jelly Babies were consumed and Simon felt a change of formation to a 4-3-3 would assist when kicking with the powerful wind. It worked and paid dividends straight away as Alan to bundled in a superb cross from Tant and then slid in his second to put us 4-1 up. We always concede goals and too much play at the back cost us and our oppo reduced the arrears but Alan completed his hat-trick but not before an amazing Gary Rosslee save. A handball was given 35 yards out and the free kick was a shot but the striker got his head to it and at pace it looked like it was going into the bottom corner but somehow Gary R not only stopped it but held onto it. The striker just could not believe it and in truth, nor could we. Not because he does not have the ability but the power of the header from a short distance had goal written all over it. Gary had also stopped two one on ones in this game and has continued his fine season but he still isn’t having that penalty save !
From a far post cross Danny Mullins scrambled his second of the match but shortly after, Matti Wright nicked the ball off a defender, strode forward and sent over a cross, which was missed by about 5 players from both sides but Alan was lurking to turn the ball in from two yards out. Clearly watching Tant or perhaps not as Alan didn’t have it all his own way. Despite scoring four, he did do the best Benteke impression. After the match he was compared to Jason Lee, Mickey Quinn, Joelinton and numerous others but to be fair to Alan, he knew he should have scored more and joined in the banter. Perhaps the blue kit restricted his movement as the shorts he was wearing were shorter than the amount of time he spent in school.
So at 6-3 it was almost over except, we had one last attack that saw the most disgusting of scenes. Chris Morris put over a cross that the keeper somehow managed to fumble into his own net. Like Robin, Chris is a mate of the Roan players and they were all begging to not award the goal to Chris. It really was not a pretty sight when Chris claimed the goal, I thought he was more honourable and even more strange is that most keepers will gladly let a forward have a goal but the keeper was so desperate to claim it, something I have never seen in over 30 odd years of football. It left a nasty taste in the mouth but thankfully the sausage rolls, sausages and sandwiches provided by our oppo was something we could swallow. I always felt we have not used Chris to full potential but now I realise we have!
So it was great third win on the bounce and with only 12 on duty it was important that everyone put in a shift. It’s hard to name stand out players as all performed well and evidenced by the spread of votes which saw Sean, Robin, Gary R and myself awarded two each and despite the misses, Alan scooped with three. If you cant win MOM after scoring four you never will!
Let’s keep the momentum going!
Have a good week all.
Man of the match: Alan Fines