Sunday 25th September 2005
A few frantic phone calls by Toby made sure that we had 12 players for the local derby against Cudham. "Now you know what''s like" chirped Mick Gearing as he made a welcome appearance on the touchline.
We started very strongly and played some of our best football so far this season. Several chances went begging, a goalmouth scramble with 3 or 4 off the line clearances by Cudham - the ball just wouldn''t go in. Chris Bays playing the front line was put clean through, but the ball just wouldn''t come from under his feet. The new 3-5-2 formation seemed to be working well, particularly as we welcomed Toby Manchip back between the sticks for a MOM performance. It''s just a shame he can''t seem to finish a game! More of that later.
The back three started off as Pat Mongelard, Steve Blanchard and Toby Harlow. Steve put in another fine performance reducing the threat from Cudham''s very active striker. Steve even got so carried away with playing at the edge of the box, that he even started trying to play on the edge of their box!! The hardest part of our new formation falls to the midfield, to cover defence and still attack. Steve Viner was ''encouraged'' to turn out for the Vets, not the last time we hope, and he in turn encouraged the rest of the midfield. Chris Ponulak had his most creative game yet and managed to thread a perfectly weighted ball through to Baysy to cleanly finish to put us one up. The game was evenly matched with good football coming from both sides. Cudham managed to pull one back, but at half time, we felt the game was there for the taking.
Second half the sun shone down and warmed the temperature up. That was not the only hot thing on the pitch and I publicly apologise to Glyn for questioning his decision on what looked like a bad tackle on Toby in goal. It wasn''t the tackle that was bad, but Toby managed to dislocate his finger in making the first save before Cudham got the ball in the back of the net. Cudham broke again and beat the offside to slot the ball into the back of the net. The Vets didn''t give up, however, and Baysy charged down on the keeper collecting the ball and then slotting it in at a tight angle. Their keeper thought that Chris had handled the ball, and thought he would point that out to Glyn, several times in fact. Must have been the sun?!
We couldn''t pull back the last goal, but a good all round performance against a good footballing side. Hope we can carry that forward to face mighty Maidstone next week.
Not the result we were looking for, a sloppy first goal conceded, but a good equaliser from Chris Bays after good work from Chris Ponulak, good possession and various chances for the rest of the first half. Posts were hit; clearances off lines etc, our Vets edged the first half.
The second half started as the first with both teams going for a second goal, it stayed level until 70-75 minutes when Toby Manchip (who played extremely well in goal on his return) pushed a header onto the bar dislocating his finger and ending up in a heap in the 6 yard box, Cudham scored from the resulting rebound, loud calls of "foul, ref" echoed around the pitch, some heated discussions followed, with Glyn offering the whistle to anyone that wanted it. It was later proved that Glyn was 100% right, and apologies were issued in the changing room. I had to replace Toby in goal and we conceded a third shortly afterwards (definitely offside but no linesman so no complaints) after so much effort and good work it would have been a shame if we had caved in and let in more goals, but to everyone’s credit we carried on and battled away, and were rewarded with a second Bays goal (slight suspicion of handball). 3 goals in 2 games for Chris, could he play alongside Defoe?
Overall another good display. Three games in and still no wins, but lots of positives from the last two games. Our buddies from Maidstone next Sunday, if we play with the same attitude as last Sunday then our first win is merely 90 minutes away.
A few players asked me about sandwiches on Sunday. Our rule on this, is that we do food for those teams that do it for us, but it''s nice to have grub after games, so there is no reason why we can''t have it every week, perhaps we can take turns, it doesn’t cost anything as you reclaim monies spent from subs, perhaps there’s even a wife, sister, daughter or girlfriend that’s dying to get up on a Sunday morning and cook for 20+ men, after doing the food they could do the bar. It’s definitely not for my wife, but it might be for someone, we live in hope.