Sunday 13th September 2020
By Mark Harrington
Team: Gary Rosslee, James Rutter, Neil Pearce, Robin Moody (Capt), Joe Champ, Dean Murphy, Paul Tanton, Si Davies, Chris Morris, Sean Blackwell, Steve Shippey.
Subs: Matt Kerby, Mark Fisher, Jay Gasson, Alan Fines.
Ref: Andy Cobb.
Supporters: Tom Naughton and Baby, Gary McQueen and Senior Mr McQueen, Barry Grainger, Two little Redmans.
With the past week all being about not exceeding the number 6, I guess we observed government guidelines a little bit too early. However, the scoreline does not really tell the whole story of this competitive match on a lovely sunny Sunday morning. In what looks like a comfortable victory, it was far from it against one of the more youthful vets sides we play. I’ll make no jokes on their name especially, the 5 a day gag.
You would think that with a 6-0 result it’s all about the strikers (again) but as most players know, you have to have a good foundation and this was so evident on Sunday and it enabled us to counter quickly once we had stopped the constant running and athleticism of our visitors. Their forward line and midfield are a constant noise but James (not pronounced ‘Hames’) Rutteriquez, Joe Champ, captain Robin Moody and Neil Pearce were more than equal to anything they threw our way. In fact, the MOM votes were dominated by 11 going to our centre half pairing. Team captain Jon Gasson took a rest this week and it was his deciding vote that gave Neil Pearce MOM. Clearly Jon was not taking next week’s selection into consideration with that call! Neil was a worthy winner with his calm presence and supporting Robin’s more robust performance but both were excellent and it could have been either winning out. Credit to James for staying on his feet this week, the divots having been filled in or so he tells me. Seriously, both James and Joe recognised the threat and curtailed their runs forward to provide a more solid back line.
It was actually our visitors who had the best chance early on. Being sent clear and the goal gapping, the forward's hard and low strike went wide, much to our relief but it really should have been the opener. Not long after, we had a foul about 20 yards out but the more Chris tells the story the further out it gets! So our man who is usually building walls demolished this one with a fine left foot strike that whilst the keeper got a hand to it, the power sent it into his right hand post. A fine strike and whilst we, except Tant as he’s no good on distance, discussed Chris’s length he smashed a strike from fully 30 yards into the bottom left of the keeper. It was so precise there was no chance for the visiting stopper this time. No arguments this time on length and all that witnessed this strike will testify he has never hit a cleaner shot. Robin said that is definitely the case!
So talking of Tant, he’s been on a bit of a goal drought as he has not scored since February and didn’t score in the first game. Whilst he didn’t hit the net yesterday either, he produced a brilliant bit of magic. No not running the line with his top off and nearly making the sun disappear, his skill on the left was super to watch. I forgot to put his last week’s ‘nutmeg’ into press but clearly subliminally I knew something greater was coming. He collected the ball on the left, put the ball through one set of legs and sat the midfielder on his backside and then snake hipped another to put him on the seat of his pants and put a cross over which unfortunately came to nothing. Super skill and all enjoyed except perhaps two!
It was clear that we needed to add to Chris’s two strikes as our opposition were not going to give up and hit both posts in short succession. A few niggly arguments over decisions were soon smoothed over when both managers suggested where each others local Specsavers are and clearly a week away in beautiful Cornwall had not dimmed or relaxed Damien’s love of the game. One challenge by Sean was mistimed and accidental and whilst the intentions of the tackle were discussed, referee Andy Cobb made the sensible call that it was half-time. Gary’s socially distanced Jelly Babies were scoffed and the tactics were to keep our heads, play around the opposition and quickly retreat once we lost the ball. New boy Mark Fisher clearly paid attention, he’s not been here long, and followed the instructions to the letter. His tackle success % was amazing. It must have been at the 100 mark as he provided an excellent barrier in front of the defence. I feel sorry for his kids in the garden as he takes no prisoners does our man from the Civil Service. I think he works for the tax office which made the pre-match collection of subs interesting! A great debut and a fine addition to the team.
Shipps side footed us 3-0 up just after the break from a Kerbs pass. Same act as last week so a good understanding forming but Damo is a hard man to please and last week’s fellow scorer was relegated to the bench but clearly the manager's mind games worked. Alan came on, fired up and chased everything. He was rewarded with a simple tap-in after Kerbs' shot was spilled and he forced over the line. Where was Tant? Oh yeah running the line and topping up his tan. Kerbs again caused more problems and clean through on goal he was upended and whilst the protest were made, it was without doubt as dead cert pen as you can get. Alan duly converted for his brace and our 5th. Allan then saved the best goal of the game with a delightful chip over the keeper to complete yet another hat-trick and keep pace with Shipps in the scoring charts.
There is a real confident feel to the team and the opposing manager complimented us on what a unit we have. I don’t think he was talking about just Neil or Robin. We have lots of options and it’s difficult getting everyone game time. Trust me I know as does Damo but we are doing it on a rota but obviously the regulars have to come first and keeping the run going is vital. So it’s not great to ask people to stand down but it’s far easier than scratching around trying to get 11 out. I know what we prefer and so we shall all just have to miss a few games until cold December. Clearly working from home allows the wives to want to get rid of their men for some peace and quiet!
So a real solid display right across the pitch. First 11 were complimented by the subs coming on an performing just as good as those that started. Chris Morris picked up a couple of votes and Mark Fisher received his first nomination but as mentioned, dominated by the centre backs. Jay Gasson unfortunately had to come off with hamstring injury which as a bit of deja vu as this happened the last time he played for us but hopefully his speed and running will not be missed for too long and it’s only a slight strain. It was nice for Neil to come out of Bro In Laws shadows for once and whilst Dean had another fine game on the right, Neil was head and shoulders on this occasion. This should get them talking!
So already we have a solid 20 for next week versus Farleigh so the axe will be coming out. Sorry to those on this week’s rota. We will play at the same time as SE Dons visit Vince’s team on the main pitch. Get there early for parking as I’m told by the youth they are on this thing called YouTube and bring quite a following!
Let’s keep this going boys!
A good week all.
Man of the match: Neil Pearce