Saturday 4th February 2006
By Colin Brazier
“Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the grey twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.“
“Grey twilight” my a*se.
So now we know why there is no such thing as ‘draw’ in US sports. My mate and FOBG fan in New York (hi John!) says a draw is akin to “kissing your sister”. Not sure whose sister he is talking about but I know where he’s coming from, even if he is mistaken. We can have bore draws, losing draws, winning draws, lucky and unlucky draws, hard fought draws…and this one had the lot, save the boredom. Unkind non-report writing folk may say that I’ll be adding that here, well they can go and…
Back to the subject.
So much happened in this match that I fear this report will make Shaun’s efforts seem like cursory notes (sorry mate! – actually I’m especially looking forward to this week’s on the 6-4 win).
A bit of background. Elite are running away with the SLA division 4 title, so it seems that just the runners-up spot is available to the rest of us for promotion. Before Saturday’s games just five points separated the next six teams, including us and our opposition, who are the last team to have turned us over in the league, 3-1 back on Guy Fawkes Day. So every match is important, doubly so those against the teams around us in the table. The same of course, can be said for every side in that bunch…losing is just not an option.
The scene set, we went into Saturday’s game without the services of Chris Viner (ill), Richard Tapsfield (knee?), Lee Shep (ribs), Paul Parsons and Alex Thrall (both ankle) and Ben Duffy (either family commitments or he couldn’t face the lovely Butterfly Lane barmaids for a second successive week – not sure).
On the plus side (or so it seemed at the time!) we had Todd Arnold returning. We also had Anthony Dine back and, making his FOBG debut, Paul Burford. We lined up with Ivor in goal, behind Joe Lipton, Todd, Andy Scott (another full debutant), and Jack Harding. The midfield consisted of Steve Viner and Richard Coyne flanked by Anthony and myself, with Paul and Ben Tomkins up front. Ian Coles helped us out and had the subs’ bench, and flag, all to himself.
So, all fired up, we kicked off, gave the ball to the opposition, who played it through the middle and under the foot of an unnamed centre back (not Andy), their forward said thanks and we were kicking off for the second time in 20 seconds. D’OH!
Somehow we managed to avoid giving a second goal away from the kickoff (we really must work on that particular set piece!) and tried to take the game to the opposition. Then when Andy took man and ball together, the ref decided it was man first and gave the first of FOUR penalties. Ivor got down well and saved the spot kick to raise our spirits.
Up the other end then, and Paul was brought down in the area, having his hand trodden on and perhaps broken in the process. Anthony confidently stepped up, and hit the post. In his defence, the spot was 14 yards from goal rather than the requisite 12… All this in the first 15 minutes!
We then went 2-0 down, against the run of play, when their forward rose to head home from a well flighted corner.
So at the interval we were down, but not out. A rousing team talk from Pauls Ed and Parsons confirmed our belief that we could get something from the game. We had tangible evidence when Paul Burford converted Ben’s flick from close range to halve the deficit, but then we conceded another penalty when our young left back made a rash challenge with the forward going nowhere. The pen. was the only one of the four to be converted, well placed just out of Ivor’s reach. 1-3.
Straight up the other end and Richard was upended for yet another spot-kick. Paul stepped up for this one, connected well, but leaned back juuust a little…never mind mate, we’ve all done it!
We kept plugging away and were creating chances, but just when it seemed that it wasn’t going to be our day Ant. Dine crossed from the right, the ball eluded Ben and Paul and by the time I had tucked it in at the far post my team mates were screaming for a penalty for a push on Ben. Shut up you fools!!! Luckily the ref waved away the appeals and I had got off the mark for the season. 2-3.
Tudor were wavering now and Paul’s quick throw and my cutback saw Richard Coyne attacking the ball like Ivor does his three post-match bacon rolls with the same result – put away in a flash. 3-3, but in this match the fact that there were only five minutes left meant nothing. Both sides had late chances to win it, Tudor hitting the bar, but we all agreed that a draw was a fair result when the ref called a halt to the proceedings without playing much injury time…
Well, if victory is sweet, drawing from being two goals down is also a great feeling. So Tudor are behind us in the table for another week and we turn our attention to the next game, at home to Heath. Onward and upward!!
Oh, yeah, in a hugely enjoyable and competitive game, man of the match was very evenly contested, everyone playing their part. Steve edged it for his “combative display in the midfield battleground” – did I get it right Steve?
Thanks to Colesy for helping us out, and to the small but conspicuously well-behaved band of supporters and walking wounded who came to cheer us on.
And finally…if an opposing player showed up who was obviously of a pro standard we would all be asking questions, so why should we expect the same quality of our ref every week? Leave the ref alone and concentrate on your own game!