Caleb Shomo of the the famed metalcore band Beartooth once sang, “I know I’m married to my problems, it’s always in my head. And I’m destined for greatness or death.”
Whilst I’m sure Mr. Shomo wasn’t writing lyrics based on the experience of being in Woking men’s 1st xi this season, his words are equally apt. At times magnificent as they have been, well, woeful. When the Boys in Blue sing from the same hymn sheet, they play beautiful, flowing hockey. But more often than not they have been pitchy, tuneless and out of time.
Going into the big six pointer against Sevenoaks off the back of an away day disasterpiece to then bottom of the league Lewes, you’d be forgiven to assume the Goldsworth Park tribe might be more pub band than Glastonbury headliner.
Band members were missing, their last few records had been chart flops and their goalkeeper wanted to do a musical. OH, he has a cat…
But sometimes new members can reinvigorate a band. Think Sugababes. Think Metallica. That’s right reader, I’ve got range.
After impressive showings in their midweek game versus the Army, Ollie Blakeman returned and The Brothers Wilkman were ushered in. Some might call it a coaching masterstroke. Some might call it desperation. I call it some nonsense match report filler to make up for the fact I can’t really remember much of what happened.
From the first whistle, however, the Wishbone Way gang did something controversial. They changed it up. Think OK, Computer. Think Vol 3: The Subliminal Verses. Think Enema of the State. They changed their thought process and their execution. More controversially they stuck to Coach Casson’s plan for more than five minutes, and the results were astounding.
Chances had already come and gone before Craig “S*** chat” Alder wafted at air at the back post and the Sevenoaks keeper made a couple of smart stops. But cautious optimism started growing.
It was back upped by outcomes. Firstly Tom “Love you, baby” Goodwin accidentally scored when he was definitely trying to square it from a narrow angle, before minutes later a smart corner routine doubled the lead when Alder absolutely definitely for certain didn’t hit the ball above the backboard with the first shot.
But this is Woking. They don’t care about your feelings, and just because the opening two tracks were bangers doesn’t mean they might throw in some garbage.
Sevenoaks responded. After the ball broke down harmlessly in the Woking circle, Andrew “CM Punk (AF)” Barton timed a slip to perfection, missing the ball entirely for the Kent troop to pull one back. This was further compounded by Tom “Waaaaaaaaaah” McLean doing quite a good hack job and finding the naughty boy step.
The game evened out. Woking possibly edging the midfield battle through immense work by Mat “Isosceles” Ming, Harrison “Achilles Ankles” Hubbard and Mat “Chin Strap” Cockerham. The best was building, it just needed to drop.
The moment fell to Steve “HBK” Wilman, but desperate for an immediate drop to the 2s, he fired handsomely (obviously) wide. A few minutes later, however, he made no such error and for the first time ever he flicked a ball and it went in. Scenes, you guys. Scenes.
3-1 up at half time. We’d hit the interlude and it smelled like team spirit.
But we’d been here before. We’d think we were getting Master of Puppets before the second half turns into St. Anger.
Woking continued to control the game, but after Barton’s breakdancing impression and a Goodwin green card, momentum seemed to be shifting.
Sevenoaks enjoyed sustained territory, forcing corner after corner and finally found what they were looking for when they got one back.
Greatness or death.
In the past Woking would have faltered under pressure. They had a choice to make: stick to their guns or abandon hope. More controversy, they chose a good old fashion pistol whipping.
They aimed straight at the Sevenoaks’ crooked brow, and looked them straight in the eye. Not going down with this ship, and certainly not waving a white flag in surrender. In 2 glorious minutes, the Boys in Blue climbed the stairway to heaven.
First, Adam “Nicky Clarke” Wilkins capped a strong return to the 1s with a smart finish, before moments later Goodwin accidentally got the assist of the season for John “Tom Mclean” McLane to make it safe. But what cake isn’t complete without the hundreds of thousands on top of the squirty cream on top of the cherry on top of the icing? Goodwin - once, twice, three times an accident - grabbed his second from another stupid angle to put the hi ho silver lining on the scoreboard.
There was still time for Barton to make his mama(s) and (the) papa(s) really proud by getting a yellow card, but by this point even famed eviscerator Max Deeley was relaxed, taking it easy and didn’t call him any mean names.
Don’t call it a comeback, reader. But the Croissant Crew released their Rumours. Their Night at the Opera. Their Steptacular.
“Greatness or Death” wrote Caleb Shomo.
Today, Woking chose greatness.
Motm: James “Justin Beiber” Fookes
Dotd: Andrew “Won an Olympic Yellow Card with a broken freakin’ neck” Barton.
Deluded match reporter: Andrew “Genuinely spent more time googling appropriate Step album names than anyone should reasonably do at 1am on a Sunday morning and doesn’t regret any of it, nor does he care for your eye rolling at the music metaphors/ poorly hidden song titles/lyrics. Screw you.” Barton.