Saturday 29th October 2005
By Colin Brazier
Take four players out of any squad and they will struggle. Well we were without EIGHT, for various reasons, an affliction that the whole club seems to be suffering from at the moment. Well done and thanks to the Hon. Sec. for getting four teams out on Saturday.
We therefore fielded a somewhat rearranged side for our second successive Kent Cup clash with Gravesend League opposition. After a couple of weeks running the line and writing match reports, Darren had been hoping for a start this week. Ivor’s absence gave him the chance – in goal. Disturbingly (for Chalker) the green kit fitted rather too well, methinks.
Unusually, Chalks was also reluctant to write the match report. He must have thought that with Ivor not playing, he couldn’t slag him off. Not so!! I was disappointed in making my sweeping debut that I can’t call myself a fully fledged member of the union until I’ve played in front of the Gobby One. In his and Todd Arnold’s absence I noticed that the planes that fly over and the birds flitting about actually make some noise.
So apart from me at sweeper and Chalks in goal, and perhaps Shep at left back (a very difficult position to play…) the rest of the players were in pretty much familiar positions. Joe and Steve completed the back four, our midfield was Chris and Ben T. on the flanks with Neil in midfield alongside one of two young debutants, David Martin. Up front were his mate Danny Godward and Ben Duffy.
Despite the changes we started very confidently, playing some good football and creating chances while at the same time working hard and keeping Chalks’ real identity as a forward a secret. If I was unkind I’d say he does that quite well himself most weeks. But I’m not, so I won’t.
So after a goalless first half we talked about keeping it going but we hadn’t bargained for the opposition stepping up their work rate and pinning us back for long periods. As usual, we conceded after one of our set pieces had broken down and a series of swift passes and a good shot left us a goal behind. Chalks got a hand to the shot but couldn’t keep it out. Talk to Ivor about strengthening your wrists mate.
We worked away for an equaliser but were denied the joys of extra time by good defending and a second goal for the Eagles (you didn’t hear that phrase too often last season did you Shep?).
There was still time for Chalker to show his class with an apparently instant reaction save to prevent a third goal. Any claims he was still diving for the second goal are pure conjecture.
One cup down, one to go. We can’t ‘concentrate on the league’ for a while yet but we need to string a few results together to get our season back on track. Keep playing football and the results will come, I’m sure.
Many thanks to Danny and Dave for helping us out, and also to Adam Metcalfe and Steve Blanchard for going sub and (in Steve’s case) running the line. And, yes, of course to Darren for stepping in to Ivor’s boots. There, I feel better now.