Sunday 18th September 2005
Second game of the season and we faced one of the stronger teams we play. New management - food afterwards, team notes on the white board and kit laid out!! We even had a group warm-up before the game! First time for everything! Once warmed up, we then waited half an hour for Wickham to join us on the top pitch! When they did join us, they reasserted our belief of being one of the better teams.
Right from the off, they moved the ball around well and created spaces. Having placed himself in goal, Toby Harlow had a distinguished performance until he collected a short back pass from Ian Couchman just on the edge of the 6 yard box. The manager tells me that is in contravention of Rule 76b but I think he was making it up, but that didn''t stop the ref (our own Glyn Farrell) from giving a free kick. 9 on the line, but luckily no one made contact with the ball otherwise we would have had a player in Farnborough hospital, not by ambulance, but from the ball itself - it was a bullet into the roof of the net!
Although we were under pressure for much of the match, we did make some good football and even got into their half occasionally. Colin Brazier was making his mark all over the pitch, requiring the magic sponge on several occasions! Chris Ponulak worked hard as ever, with his new central midfield partner, Chris Bourlet trying to find his match fitness! Darren Chalker made his season debut for the Vets (one of many we hope) Pat Mongelard back in defence with Couch, Steve Blanchard had a storming game with growing confidence to win his first MOM of the season.
Second half and the gap in fitness showed. Wickham hit the post three times, but Toby held strong, and we rode our luck. Some classy ''hassle him'' from Chris P saw Wickham make a mistake under pressure, they passed the ball to Chris Bays on the edge of their box. Oh no, it was on Chris''s left foot and we all know he hasn''t got a left foot! But worry not, beats the keeper with a low drive into the corner of the net to rescue the Vets and the club from no points at all!
We are still finding our way under the new management, but we are getting there - don''t forget training on Wednesday, and we might get there even sooner.
Firstly may I say that I was 10th choice to go in goal on Sunday; Toby Manchip, Chris Alston, Paul Eddleston, Ivor Swatton, Jez Allen, Danny Weir, Alan Cuddon, Andy Court, and Dan Ford all declined, leaving only myself. Still someone had to do it, and I also got some sympathy votes for MOM, so it was not all bad.
I also got time to look at the team in action, and I was pleasantly surprised. Playing against a good footballing side we all with no exceptions worked very hard, chasing back with our men, winning tackles etc and in the second half especially carried a real goal threat, a very pleasing display, full of spirit and a genuine will to win. There’s obviously things to tweak up on, but we’ve now set ourselves a minimal benchmark, and with more games and TRAINING on Wednesday, the season can only get better. Cudham on Sunday, another very good side, so a repeat of last week’s efforts is required.
Thanks goes to Glyn a great Clubman for officiating on Sunday, also to Colin Brazier for helping out for the last fortnight.