Final Day Drama As Slade Secure Final Day Winnebago
Mid table Forrest Row were the visitors to for Portslade Athletic’s final game of the season at a sunny, but slightly chilly Theatre of Wet Dreams.
As I made my way along Portland Road a tinge of hunger overcame me, with the culinary options limited I made for a nearby patisserie and I ordered a steak slice for the reasonable price £2.90. I immediately regretted my choice as the pastry was dry and there was about a much meat in at as an Andre Neto challenge. Disappointed, I searched for some additional nourishment and eventually I decided on some Branston Pickle Mini Cheddars and a bottle of water. Whilst the cheddars made my already parched gob even drier I took solace in my bottle of water, it was at this point I realised I had purchased fizzy water, If there is one thing I hate more than a nippy striker it is carbonated H20, but with my cakehole in dire need of lubrication I was forced to drink the lot. If this journey was anything to go by this was going to be a tough day for Slade.
Rumours had persisted throughout the week that master tactician Hornsby had been studying an old VHS of Andy Townsend Tactic truck and was about to spring a surprise. The seven (including subs and the ref’s assessor) Portslade fans were not to be disappointed as the side lined up in a 5-3-2 ‘wing back’ formation. Sills lined up in a goal with a back three of Ryan, Shelly and Graves with the wing back roles tasked to Ipswich Harry and Liam Reyland. A middle three of Steele, Boddy and Tai provided the ammunition to the ever deadly Hornsby and his ageing strike partner Steve Mould who only made the starting 11 as Nick Samuels was uncharacteristically late. Liam’s little baby foot was on penalty duty whilst JB was in charge of overhitting the free kicks.
The first half proved that old habits are tough to break with Slade starting slowly and after about 10 minutes they were behind. A shot from 10 yards took a deflection and wrong footed Kieran to trickle in, 1-0 down. Forrest Row quickly added a second which I didn’t really see but I asked Portslade assistant manager and he said it was everyone's fault apart from Steeley who could do nothing about it. The first half finished with air of inevitability as the players left the pitch despondent. At half time Cliff came over and offered me a cigarette, I never knew Cliff was a smoker nor that he was so sweary or ginger but it was a nice offer none the less. I am meant to be off the fags but I thought ‘feck it is the weekend’ and I had one.
The players came out for the second half and whatever was said in the dressing room (I’m guessing it was something like ‘we’re still in this’ and then everyone clapped and shouted and left) it worked as Slade looked rejuvenated. The new formation was working and the wing-backs were coming into the game whilst the back three were shutting out any attacking intent from the opposition. The Slade pressure paid off as JB pulled one back with a half volley through a crowded penalty area. This gave Slade a new confidence and after a spell of pressure they forced a corner. Tai’s cross was met by JB who bundled home to make it 2-2. As the away side continued to argue amongst themselves and with their lino also having a tantrum Portslade pressed for the winner. Their efforts were to be rewarded as Steely played in JB whose cross met by Steve Mould (who you would have bet Matt Collin’s Pokemon collection on shooting) but instead he squared to Hornbsy who nearly pissed the whole thing up before calmly slotting home to send the crowd into raptures!! 3-2 the comeback was complete.
Samuels replaced Harry who had put in a shift a right back and then Ian Steele gave us some fresh * cough * legs to see out the game and an historic win. It was a great effort from all of the players who could have quite easily rolled over at half time but the win showed the effort, determination and ability of the players.
If the comeback was not enough the players were all given a turn at inspecting pub landlady's huge Winnebago. From the worst of all starts this day had turned into absolute cracker.
Whilst I’m here, I’m sure I speak for all the players when I extend our gratitude to Hornsby, Cliff, Ian, Rob, Norris and all those others behind the scenes that put so much into the running of the club this season and have to put up with us lot, cheers boys.
See you next season.