Saturday 15th March 2008
By Colin Brazier
No chance of getting out of report-writing duties this week (look at the scorers column!).
The latest episode in the Thirds’ Great Escape Act saw us take on Lewisham Athletic Reserves, the only side below us in the table, and whom we’d beaten 5-2 in the reverse fixture in November. Last week they caused the upset of the season by beating likely champions Charterhouse 3-1. Now, call me Mr. Cynic, but when I saw that result I took a peek at division one to see if their first team had a game, and sure enough, Lewisham were missing from the fixtures. Ah ha! I then glanced at the cup games, and saw they had beaten Drummond 4-1, so yaboosucks to me and well done to their reserves.
We knew we could not afford to slip up in this game and that result helped us to focus. I say “us” cos I did use to play in this side and old habits die hard! Now now Todd, stop crying…I’ll be back soon!
Today’s team: Jumbo in goal, Michael Stewart, Todd Arnold, James Behagg and Mark Friend across the back; a midfield of Steve Viner, Chris Charlton, Stuart Gaylor and Piers Moss, and Ben Tomkins and Simon Davies up front. Sean Webber, nursing an injured hand (don’t ask) was on flag and sub duty.
Unusually for us we started well and took an early grip of the game we weren’t to lose until the last seconds. Chances fell to James (I think) with a close range header and Ben (I’m certain!) with a misdirected lob before a free kick on the edge of the area was hit low into the net by Chris Charlton…his first goal for the Guild. We continued to dominate but couldn’t increase our lead and Lewisham began to get into the game without really threatening.
Not much to change during the interval and Ed could concentrate on how his football bets were going (not well!!).
We needed that second goal to settle us down and it came from the unlikeliest of sources…(a) a corner!! (b) Viner, S. One of several pinpoint deliveries from Chris found its way onto the big toe of Steve who had gone up to occupy the keeper (because no-one else would) and he wasted no time in tapping the ball home. Simon claimed an assist with a glancing header (yeah yeah OK mate!). Steve opted for the simple airplane celebration over the Lua Lua somersault combo.
So that was pretty much it…so we thought. When Chris added his second with a delicate lob it gave the scoreline a nice look, but little did we know it would turn out to be the winning goal. To their credit Lewisham battled away and were awarded a spot kick when Todd was penalised, but the shot cleared the crossbar.
Five minutes later Michael was harshly judged to have held their striker and a different taker put the penalty away, thus depriving us of our second clean sheet in a row, and second since February 2006 (in case the forwards get too smug…(a) it’s a team game and (b) Chris’s first 2 goals for the club put him into joint second in the golden boot race – and we’re in mid March!).
Still, no need to worry…until James sliced a clearance past Jumbo in their next attack. Now the mood had changed, but luckily time really had run out for the visitors and we claimed the points. A good performance that we need to carry into this week’s game against…Charterhouse.
Thanks to all who came along to give their support, notably the throng of assorted Guild team management - Shaun and Macy, and Des (Todd…!) casting their eye over potential new recruits – Vince and Darren were being very optimistic!!
Stuart edged out Chris for the man of the match award. I know Steve will be wondering what he has to do…