Sunday 11th December 2005
By Roger French
A close game this week with not long to wait for the return fixture – first match of the new year away to Ditton. We managed to field a full team with the luxury of two substitutes and nobody got lost going to the ground (lucky it was a home fixture). The team lined up with Toby Manchip in goal, a back four of Patrice Mongelard, Ian Couchman, Steve Blanchard, Roger French; midfield consisted of Colin Mant, Toby Harlow, Chris Ponulak and Chris Bourlet with Neil Smith and Colin Ebdon up front.
The first half was pretty evenly matched with neither side really threatening to score. In the latter part Ditton started playing the ball over the top of the defence and with their "younger" forward line having the edge pacewise managed to create a few openings. It was from one of these balls that they took the lead with the Ditton forward beating Toby Manchip following a bit of a mis-hit and despite him getting a hand to the shot. Injuries again forced some reorganisation in the team with Colin Ebdon going off followed by Colin Mant. At least this week we could replace them with two subs in David Aseltine and Trevor Stewart (welcome to the Vets), so we kept eleven players on the pitch but it did disrupt our flow somewhat. But it didn''t stop us from grabbing an equaliser from the penalty spot following a hotly disputed decision for handball, Chris Ponulak calmly putting the ball in the back of the net off the underside of the crossbar with the Ditton keeper waving the ball in.
The second half was not such a disciplined performance from us and we soon paid the price when a rare attack for us broke down and Ditton carried the ball all the way into our area and scored. For the second week running Toby Manchip in goal fancied a bit of a run around so Colin Ebdon agreed to switch and unleash Toby to chase everything going. It almost paid off straight away when having been set up by Toby Harlow, he put a long range shot just the wrong side of the post. This did trigger a mini revival for the last 10 - 15 minutes but we were unable to pressure their stand-in keeper. In fact it was noted that he had so little to do that he spent a fair amount of time on his mobile...probably dictating his match report to the Ditton Express only momentarily pausing (but not hanging up) while we took a corner!
Despite all these defeats we still retain a sense of humour (Toby Manchip in particular!) and maintain a good bar presence after the game. Thanks to Shirley for providing the after match buffet which is much appreciated by all and I must add that I do love a nice cup of tea after the game...thanks Vic.