Hartley Sunday Vets 1 - Chobham Burymead Vets 0
Match Report by Steve Rocknean
You know it’s not going to be your day when the kit is removed from the kit bag and is still damp. Stu Johnson, so electrifying in front of goal in recent weeks but not so clever in front of the tumble dryer it would seem could only give the defence “Its been in the boot of my car for a week and a half, it should have dried by now and I parked in the sun”. Having heard that, it explained the smell. Skipper Glen O’Donoghue was not petered, he had managed to find a new pair of socks for the forth game running.
So exiting the changing room together in odour, united in dampness we entered to the field of play. It looked glorious, freshly cut, rolled and the bright white lines suggested that it had been marked that very morning just for us, a visit by Chobham Burymead Vets. One kick towards the away end goal by Mick Rose enforced the Groundsman to cry “Oh get off the effin pitch, you old farts. You lot are on that pitch” and pointed to a bumpy, grass bare pitch behind the bushes painted poorly on a 1 in 4 slope. We carried our stench towards the North Face and pitched camp on flat ground near the half way line.
Warm up consisted of standing in the sun trying to get the kit dry then things got worse. Judge Dredd arrived dressed in his best black referee kit and cool black wrap around shades and requested that he hold his team brief in the shade. You could tell he had quite a lot to get across but the pong got the better of him and he curtailed the speech to the minimum and we returned to the sun.
Inevitably, we lost the toss. So we kicked-off up hill, against the strong wind with the sun in our eyes. Fan-bloody-tastic.
The game started with a barrage of attacks from Hartley using the long ball played up to the tall, wide centre-forward who had a good touch and held up play extremely well. It was obvious he was the danger man and a conference between members of the CBFC back four identified that something needed to be done to stop this offensive approach and we racked our minimal tactical knowledge to find the right solution. Jamie Judd did not remember how the collision occurred that broke the centre-forwards jaw but he was well aware of the pain that remained in his shoulder for the rest of the game. Get well soon mate.
BCFC had little to offer up front in the first part of the game due to the severe incline and strong wind making the ball return to our own half far quicker than we would have liked. Desperate measures and the need for a rest saw Steve Rocknean hoof the ball not only out of play but out of the park narrowly missing Mrs Perkins new patio doors at number 52. The opposition lined up their long throw tactic, putting the big Number 9 (jaw still in tact at this point) on the front post. Not only did it take us by surprise but the attacking team as well when the ball caught a gust and flew by the intended target and found a midfielder running in for the second ball. Eyes shut, he leaped like a wounded gazelle and grazed the ball off his highly polished bonce to skim the ball into the top corner, impossible for Goalkeeper Dave Hill to reach, especially as his feet never leave the floor. One-nil down and this is going to be a long half.
However, events were to take a turn for the better and CBFC adjusted its style of play from long hopeful ball to short hospital balls but we were winning the tackles and making progress up the Eiger towards their goal. Having made it to the summit and created a chance we came face to face with the gate keeper. An awesome double save from Stu Johnson then Vic Sam from 8 yards out kept the score the same. Encouraged by this, the CBFC midfield quartet of Glen, Pete Bryant, Paul Curtin and Baz AKA Nigel pressed on and linked up with the front two to produce what has to be the golden opportunity of the game.
With our front pulling wide in opposite direction taking their markers with them, a massive gap appeared, like the parting of the Red Sea in to which Paul ran (minus skull cap of course) collected the ball and ran at the gate keeper one-on-one, surely an equaliser, stay cool, keep presence of mind, we all held our breath. First Paul jinked left, then dropping his shoulder Paul danced right, the gate keeper slid in winning the ball. Paul span forward head over heels. The united CBFC team collective encouraged him following his poor fortune once we had stopped laughing.
Half-time whistle and the CBFC players departed the pitch in loud conversation saying “How bad must they be, only scoring once with all those elements on their side”. Oh how that would come back and bite us on the arse.
Second half started with an enthused set of players, in dry kit, albeit still pongy, kicking down hill with the wind and the sun behind us and all we had to was to score more than the one measly goal our opponents had laughingly only achieved! Our first two shots went high and wide with the only local person showing any nerves at this point was Mrs Perkins at number 52. The second half was well balanced with the oppositions home advantage showing as they dealt with the mountainous conditions by substituting on two Sherpa’s. However their threat had gone, gone to A&E in fact. Leaving Dave in goal as the new gate keeper and with Iain Terry joining and fitting in with back four regulars Steve Rocknean, Jamie Judd and Mick Rose, there was never a doubt we would keep the score to just one. So attack attack attack was the new tactic.
Chances came one after another and CBFC were gaining momentum and you could feel it was only a matter of time before we scored. Then with the ball being swept from right to left through centre midfield, players moving off of the ball to create space, slick one or two touch football by CBFC despite the bumpy conditions, the ball arrived square at Glen’s trusty left boot, this was to be the moment all our hard work and pressure had been striving for, an equaliser. The ball left his foot twenty times faster than it had arrived. It accelerated as it entered the penalty box and to be fair it was still going pretty quick when it left the other side and to be doubley fair it was not slacking in pace when it and smashed the corner flag into pieces. Repairs took some time and the momentum was lost.
Frustration and tiredness began to creep in, well frustration anyway, the tiredness had been there since the 12th minute. With the Home Teams keeper pulling off another couple of saves you began to feel this was not going to be our day, as we had anticipated. But then, for no apparent reason other than being a rubbish footballer, there ageing (even by our standard) defender swipes a leg and misses, taking out Vic Sam just outside of the penalty area. Rolling around in agony we remind Vic we are a goal down and to stop screaming and get out of the way. He is finally substituted after a lot of fuss and Malcolm Lucas enters to adopt his favoured role at right back.
Over the ball Stu and Glen debate the benefits of a left or a right footer taking the free-kick. They decide on right and Stu places the ball. Glen moves to the side and whisper the usual tips, Concentrate, hit the target, miss and you’re a girl. The wall, six men tall and wide, take a few steps back at the request of Ref Dredd, the keeper spits in his gloves one last time, Stu steps back putting all the weight on one side, lifts his left arm for balance and majestically sweeps towards the ball to impact both with power and precision, a good contact, head still down, the ball hits the wall, what a twat.
Final whistle. Game finishes one-nil. Showers were warm and the bar was good and cheep, not that I would know because Jamie bought the round – again, and I can categorically deny any accusations that this is the only reason Jamie Judd got Man of the Match. He defended well and played more than his part reducing the oppositions threat. Although it was later agreed that hospitalisation was a bit extreme. Additionally the fact he was marking their goal scorer at the time he got a free header was not considered relevant because it’s not as if that goal made a difference!
Team Dave Hill, Mick Rose, Steve Rocknean, Jamie Judd, Iain Terry, BAZ!, Peter Bryant, Paul Curtin, Glen O’Donoghue, Stu Johnson, Vic Sam, Malcolm Lucas,