Slade arrived at Falmer in good spirits despite last weeks defeat. The location brought back great memories for some members of the Slade team as we won the district 6-a-side tournament back in 2009 containing a golden era of players such as Westgate, Reid, Tucknott, Jordan, Tom & Dave Murphy, Hornsby & Boddy. A delayed kick-off after a fixture clash got even further delayed after the game on before our fixture went into extra time. We eventually kicked off 30 minutes later than scheduled. After our last outing on a 3G surface ended in a poor performance. Slade had to put this right on a better and much bigger pitch.
Slade welcomed back mild-mannered John Boddy into the staring XI. Debutant Craig Beckwith, Ben Graves and Matt Hornsby coming in to make a strong bench. Missing out was Jacob Everett who served a one match ban for his part in the naked calendar.
The game got off to a fairly even start with Old V's forcing the game but without creating any chances to write home about. With Neil Shelley looking as comfortable as a Bison in a BMW Mini on this huge pitch, he decided he didn't fancy grazing over every blade of grass and feigned injury in the 12th minute. With the Spanish Crab champing at the bit he got this chance when Bison limped off.
Only 10 minutes later and El Hornsby took a pass from Nathan Cook in his stride, cut inside an Old V's player and unleashed a left-foot swerving thunder-b*stard into the net from 25 yards out. Goal of the season contender. 1-0
Eight minutes later and Slade added another. A neat corner kick was laid to Nathan Cook by Sean Trend. He passed it dangerously across the box and a returning John Boddy unleashed a delightfully controlled half-volley into the top corner. Expert finish. 2-0
Two minutes later and Slade looked to have taken a huge leap in getting the 3 points. Nathan Cook was fouled 25 yards out and Sean Trend stepped up and hit a dipping free-kick which lobbed over the keeper and into the net. 3 up only and 32 minutes gone. 3-0.
With Slade looking comfortable and no real malice involved, the game exploded on the eve of half time. John Boddy was savagely hacked down on the half way line. in a tackle not dissimilar to Callum McManaman's assault on Massadio Haidara - John Boddy took exception and immediately got up from the turf and head-butted the the Old V's defender. All hell broke loose with punches being thrown and people trying to the calm the situation down. A full 21 man brawl persisted with El Hornsby the only person not getting involved after feigning to tie his shoe-lace!
When the mist had cleared it turned out JB had been told that his leg was going to be broken in the next challenge by the defender - which was duly attempted. A moment of madness from the two players but both teams remained on good terms. Both players rightly received a red card. Half time
Slade were told to keep their heads and concentrate on the task at hand just incase tempers remained frayed in the second half. Ten men Slade switched to a 4-4-1 formation with Matt Hornsby switching to the left wing.
Two minutes into the second half and Slade took a four goal lead. Sean Trend went down with a shriek on the edge of the box and the same player got up again to send a sparkling, whipping free-kick into the top corner past the motionless goalkeeper. 4-0
On 54 minutes Old V's pulled a goal back. Hesitation at the back let in their Number 11 and he lobbed the on-rushing Rich Smith. Possible comeback on? 4-1
Slade went straight up the other end and Nathan Cook slipped in full-back Matt Collins on the right hand side. MC drove a low shot from a tight angle which the goalkeeper could only parry off the post and into the net. Breathing space. 5-1
On 68 minutes Old V's were caught napping again. Karl Boffey launched a long throw. Sean Trend had acres of space 7 yards out and he controlled perfectly before simply knocking the ball in the net. Hat-trick for our very own Petal!
Three minutes later and Slade were in Seventh Heaven. Out top scorer Karl Boffey finally got in the goals. A lovely slipped pass found from the Spanish Crab Matt Hornsby found the big man in space and he bundled the ball into the corner. Scrappy but they all count! The big mans 13 league goal of the season to take him within one of the Golden Boot, 7-1 !
On 75 minutes Slade made it eight. Nathan Cook to the ball in his stride on the half way line. He skipped past one player. With the Old V's defence trailing in his wake he weaved into the box past another player, made another trademark swivel of the hips (that gets Nozinhio moist with excitement) and side footed into the bottom of the net. What a goal and his first of the game, 8-1
With Old V's looking despondent the impressive Nathan Cook took advantage again. A slick pass by the "BIg Man with the good feet" Karl Boffey found Nathan Cook on the right hand side of the box. He took aim with his left foot and curled in a delightful 25 yard shot in off the bar. Another fantastic goal by Nathan. 9-1
Slade got into double figures with 9 minutes remaining. Another spectacular goal from Nathan Cook. The Goalkeeper fluffed a low goal kick and without hesitation, from 45 yards out Psycho launched a right foot shot that evaded the Old V's 'keeper and bounced into the net. Another amazing finish from Nathan and the second hat-trick of the game. That was his 10th goal in 10 league games. An exceptional goalscoring ratio for a midfielder. 10-1
In summary, another excellent performance all around. Our first 10 goal game since 1928 when Terry scored 9 was slightly marred by the sending off of the back-to-form John Boddy. Special mention again to Paul Weir who was solid. Also Sean Trend and Marc Sutton were contenders for man of the match but the bottle of imaginary champagne has to go to Nathan Cook who played like a Rolls-Royce throughout.
When handed the champagne with its own cloaking device Nathan Cook said:"Really? I think you've been swayed by hollywood goals there, other players deserved mom but nevertheless i'll dedicate it to JB because standing up to that bully was a fair way to get sent off. Also take a moment to feel sorry for the keeper. . . But then laugh at him!"
Team: 1. Smith 2. Collins 3. Larkham 4. Weir 5. Scott 6. Trend 7. Boddy 8. Shelley 9. Boffey 10. Sutton 11. Cook SUBS: 12 Beckwith 14. Hornsby. 15. Graves
P.S. Thanks to Ben for the match report headline!
P.P.S A huge thanks to Dave Goffin as well for running the line in Cliffs absence. Saved my old joints some pain.
P.P.P.S Hope Cliff is feeling better soon. All the best.