Sunday 24th February 2008
By Roger French
A combination of injuries and the lure of the Carling Cup final took its toll on player availability this week with appeals for additional players being answered by former Vets player John Tallis together with Nick Kinnear. An emergency loan signing of retired Vets manager Micky Gearing was also made to cover for the absent Toby Harlow who no doubt had been planning a few Carlings whilst singing Blue Is The Colour. This is also the assumption we made as we arrived at the Met Police ground only to be informed that the Boys In Blue had now become a very similar shade of red as our kit. The late kick-off gave us plenty of time to mull over our next problem which was who was going to go in goal with both Gary Rosslee and Toby Manchip absent and no immediate volunteers and an e-mail recommendation from a certain T.Manchip suggesting Chris Webb was a good keeper. After a lot of floor gazing Trevor Stewart and Colin Ebdon heroically agreed to share the role only then to be informed that we had no gloves. A quick search revealed a numbers of items volunteered as replacement gloves ranging from a 5 year olds mitten to a pair of used underpants. Micky Gearing used his vast managerial experience and asked the opposition if they had a spare pair - luckily they did.
To the game itself. The conditions were excellent although the pitch was a bit on the lumpy side to say the least. The Met Police managed to find a change of kit and not only had a number of subs but also seemed to have the luxury of two keepers. We on the other hand had to negotiate terms for our keeper to play in goal. As a result and thanks to John and Nick we were able to line up with Trevor Stewart in goal, Ian Coles, Steve Blanchard, Chris Webb and Roger French forming the back four, Pat Mongelard, Paul Storkey, John Tallis with Colin Ebdon in midfield and Paul Smith and Ian Shoebridge up front. Nick Kinnear provided support by running the line and even Micky Gearing got changed to provide a second sub just in case.
Stand in captain Steve Blanchard took note of the wise advice given by Micky and having won the toss elected to play up the slope and into the wind and sun. The Met Police had a front line that resembled the land of the giants and the back four had to endure a lot of pressure as they used the slope, wind and sun to great advantage. Under the circumstances we held out well with Trevor Stewart living up to his t-shirt to display a cat-like performance in goal. In one of our rare attacks we even had the opportunity to take the lead when a handball in the area was given and Paul Smith was presented with the penalty. He hit it well to the left about mid-height but the Met Police keeper pulled off a very good
one handed save. The pressure continued and eventually the Met scored after Trev "the cat" had made a good save at the foot of the post only for the attackers to pick up the rebound. They went on to score two more to make it 3-0 at half-time and we were relatively pleased with our performance considering the circumstances.
Nick Kinnear came on for Ian Shoebridge for the second half and we had a good spell of pressure from the kick-off but could not apply the finishing touch. The second half was a much more even event in that we spent more time in their half but we were always susceptible to their better finishing. Trevor had gallantly agreed to continue in goal and put in a similarly solid performance tipping a very awkward inswinging corner onto the crossbar. The Met are obviously a fit team and in the end this showed through with them running in three more goals in the latter part of the half but not before Chris Webb provided the tackle of the game when he slid in to block a certain strike as one of the attackers was in on goal from the penalty spot. In the end it was disappointing that we didn''t have more to show for our efforts.
A big thanks to John and Nick for helping out together with another return for Super-Vet Micky Gearing. Man of the match in my opinion has to go to Trevor who not only had the guts to go in goal for the whole game but also provided an excellent performance. Hopefully next week should see the return of 4 or 5 players and maybe back to winning ways.