Sunday 27th November 2005
By Roger French
After having had a long run of home games it was our turn to travel for a few weeks. This week we headed off to Dartford with Toby Manchip returning in goal plus the luxury of two substitutes including another new player (something like the 26th player to have played this season so far!!) in Dave?? and Glyn Farrell who came off the operating table to play (either that or he had placed his nicorette patches on his shoulder so he couldn''t easily reach them!).
Another cold morning with a bit of a walk to locate the pitch. The team lined up with Toby Manchip in goal, a traditional back four of Pat Mongelard, Ian Couchman, Steve Blanchard (having played for the 4ths with Richard Cawker on Saturday) and Richard Cawker, midfield made up of Colin Mant, Chris Ponulak, Toby Harlow and Colin Ebdon with Chris Bays returning up front with myself. This automatically upped the volume and I am sure that even Vic back at the club house could hear the dulcet tones of Chris Bays appealing for all and sundry (even the goal inadvertently scored by the Tiger keeper).
This week we managed to get started from the off but had a fair amount of defending to do. We managed to keep a good defensive shape and pretty much kept the Tiger front line at bay but this tended to result in us playing far too deep and not actually providing much support when the ball went forward (as Chris Bays pointed out on one or two occasions). They did score two goals; one an excellent cross into the box finished by a powerful header but the other came as a result of a defensive error giving them a 2-0 lead at half-time. We probably had two maybe three chances but none really threatened.
The second half started well for us with a cross coming into the box from the left which evaded the keeper and was completely sliced by a defender virtually into his own net. Chris Bays made sure in true poacher style and blasted the ball over the line from 6 inches before it could be classed as an own goal. The second half was certainly more evenly balanced with Dave ? being brought on to play up front and played some nice passes to put the Tiger defence under more pressure. However, it was Tiger who scored next to stretch their lead to 3-1 but we continued to press forward. Things were looking good when Toby Harlow took the ball into the Tiger penalty box and ghosted past the defender to set himself up for a shot on goal. Before he could pull the trigger Baysie took it on and unleashed a right foot rocket that beat the diving keeper, hit the post and came out but luckily hit the keeper and went in (watch out for this on A Question of Sport – what happens next?). Still even own goals count but it was not enough to win it.
All round this was a good game to be involved in being a close game and very good, friendly opposition with a pleasant bar to drink in afterwards. Look forward to the return match.