Sunday 11th September 2005
New season and new management. After three hundred and thirty four years as player manager, Mick Gearing has transferred to Cudham Super Vets for an undisclosed fee (we had to pay them!!). Mick has led the team through a number of ups and downs over the years, and we all thank him for the efforts he has put in. I think we are only now realising how much work he has done behind the scenes as we felt our way through the bureaucracy of organising 14 adult men and getting them onto a football field!
The traditional first fixture away against Orpington was eagerly awaited. A rigorous pre-season training programme on Wednesday evenings had been followed by a surprising number of Vets this year led by Chris Ponulak. After the opening whistle, things looked promising, and Chris Bays had his first shot on goal in the first move of the match (in order to meet the 4-1 bet made at about 3.30am that morning over a beer or three that he couldn''t score two goals). Just wide. Then Orpington started to control the game more as our passing began to let us down. I was hoping to provide accurate, blow by blow match reports this year, but to be honest, no one could remember the final score at the end of the game, let alone how each of the goals were scored. Even the ref had to check his note book carefully and get his calculator out to verify the eventual tally. And it was a score more likely to be found at the Oval than on a football field.
Chris Alston stepped up to take on the number 1 shirt, and to be fair had a good game making a couple of very fine saves. However, if he goes in goal again, we reserve the right to place him on a rack overnight to give him a little more height advantage!
Patrice Mongelard moved by the new management into midfield (for the first half anyway) was missed in the heart of defence and Steve Blanchard''s heroic sliding tackles (caused by grass clippings sticking to his studs) could not stop the Orpington attack. Ian Couchman joined Steve at the back in a game that saw numerous changes in personnel and formations as we tried to thwart the Orpington front line. Kevin Moynihan and Glynn Farrell both filled in at left back until we moved to a back three in the second half and Pat returned to his usual slot on the edge of the box. The midfield worked hard - Chris Ponulak, Toby Harlow, Roger French and Chris Bourlet. Again numerous changes in substitutions brought in Rob Weekly and Richard Cawker leaving Chris Bays and Colin Brazier up front. Just before half time, following a free kick, Roger French grabs the ball and loops a shot from his golden boot into the far top corner for our consolation goal. 5-1 at half time and that was with the benefit of the slope!!
2nd half was a little better and we only conceded two! We played some good football, but nothing seemed to come together. This was the opposite for Orpington. One small error and the ball flew back and straight in. Everything they hit seemed to go in. Nonetheless, it was a good game and we are now more determined to try and pull it together next week.
We have changed the player of the year system this season and are running a Man of the Match system. This week it was a close call between Chris Ponulak and Steve Blanchard with Chris just pinching it - well done Chris. Roger is leading goal scorer so far with....one!
Onwards and upwards!