Saturday 12th November 2005
Elizabeth Jaques Cup
By Colin Brazier
You''ll have to excuse the lateness of this report as I was drafted in as a last minute sub owing to the skipper''s / club captain''s / fixtures secretary''s latest injury, a modem tear that could keep him out of the newsletter for a few weeks, these hardware problems are notoriously difficult to diagnose and treat.
A fantastic performance with a well deserved result that did not flatter us at all, in fact we could have added more once Lee had tapped in the 4th to kill off Bexley''s challenge.
These early cup games are brilliant - no expectations, no pressure, no league points at stake and a chance to pit ourselves against higher level opposition, in this case two divisions higher. Bexley are old foes, we used to play them regularly but have gone our separate ways in the last few years, and this was a chance to avenge some of those close run defeats we always seemed to suffer against them.
More enforced changes saw another young player coming up from the Fourths, Jack Harding in an unfamiliar position of right back, and he did really well. The rest of the side was Mark Edwards in for the injured Ivor, Paul Parsons, Todd and myself making up the rest of the back four, with Chris and Steve Viner, Richard Coyne and Lee Cross battling and creating in midfield, with Richard Tapsfield and Ben Duffy ever dangerous up front. Lee Sheppard and Ben Tomkins were on the bench this week.
As I say, a great result but it could have been oh so different! Paul Parsons, playing at the back for the first time this season, seemed to suffer a few short circuits to go with his modem injury. In the first five minutes he shot low from just inside the box. Mark Edwards managed to dive to his left to concede a corner and prevent us going a goal down. I''m not sure whether Paul was on a bung but it certainly seemed that way when he followed this up by bringing down their forward when he might have been construed to have what the laws now call a "clear goalscoring opportunity". Luckily the ref didn''t see it that way and we kept all 11 on the pitch.
As expected, Bexley dominated the early stages even playing up the slope, but we slowly got our individual games going and from a long clearance our left back, caught horribly out of position, did his best Paul Parsons imitation (but without the resultant free kick) and caused havoc among the home defence, Richard Coyne emerging from the pack to force the ball over the line. The shock was ON!! Well so we thought until Bexley equalised a few minutes later with a great early-taken finish which Mark did well to get his hand to. A good illustration of the quality we were up against.
Undeterred, we continued to defend resolutely and regained the lead when a skewed clearance from Sticky Viner turned into a great through ball for Ben Duffy to sprint clear, round the keeper, and roll the ball home with such little force that it kept the defender interested until he ended up in the net with the ball.
Ahead for the second time, we were really beginning to believe, and the football started to flow from confident feet. Chris Viner''s good run down the left earned us a corner, which was half cleared and the young upstart (Chris that is!) totally ignored my call and smashed the ball inside the post from 25 yards. 3-1 at the half.
In the second period Bexley would have the advantage of the slope and we knew full well to expect an onslaught, but we were aware that to sit back and defend deep would just invite trouble, so we tried to keep a high line and hit them on the break when we had the chance. With Sticky doing a great job as holding midfielder earning him MoM (okay Steve?) we restricted Bexley to long range shots and hopeful crosses, dealing with quite a few corners and the occasional free kick around the box. When our back line was breached, Mark was there to keep them out.
Bexley were getting increasingly frustrated and us more confident, and when Lee Cross capitalised on a sliced clearance to tap in with 15 minutes left it was virtually game over, though to their credit Bexley kept going and it took another good save from Mark to preserve the 3 goal cushion.
I don''t know what it would take for the whole team to celebrate with the scorer, but perhaps we knew we had the game even at 3-1. In any case I''m sure the "more experienced" players at the opposite end of the pitch were doing mental cartwheels and conserving our energy for the next training session / curry night (delete as appropriate).
That reminds me, team Mexican in West Wickham on the 10th Dec. put it in your diaries now!!
A very enjoyable day, which will bring Ed selection problems for the coming weeks, so as with the 1sts and 2nds, if you miss out on selection for a week or two, be patient!!
Well done everyone. Let''s take this form into our league games. Meanwhile I''ll try to get Parsons booked (heard that before!) into PC World for a complete overhaul ready for Saturday.