Sunday 4th December 2016
By Roger French
Blinded By The Light But Far From Revved Up as Senior Vets Crash To Heavy Defeat
It felt good to be back after a number of weeks travelling with Orpington Rovers Pumas but truth is I haven’t been that far away what with spending the best part of each week recording copious stats, enlisting various players to ensure we have a squad and ensuring all is OK with opposition management.
As it was this week we had 13 players and a cunning plan to face Orpington Vets at Club Langley Sports Club in bright sunlight but cold and frosty underfoot. In a rather subdued changing room, once everybody had located it, we realised we were one player short as there was no sign of Bernard Buffet, the virtuoso of the lunch wagon. As we filed out towards the pitch there was Nick Waller trying to extricate his car from one of the metal posts used to fence off the parking. Apparently he was blinded by the sun and didn’t see it as he was trying to park – an omen for things to come.
Having gathered the majority of the squad the talk was of the 4-2-3-1 formation that was going to be our saviour to nullify the known threat posed by Kevin. This was great stuff in theory so we kicked off up the hill into the blazing sunlight as follows:
Phil Anthony, Ian Coles, John Norton, Sinisa Gracanin;
Obi Ugwumba, George Kleanthous;
Simon Thomas,Andy Faulks, Kypros Michael;
Subs: Nick Waller, Roger French.
Linesman: Obi Ugwumba Jnr.
Supporter: Jodie Gracanin.
We started well taking the game to Orpington and pushing them back into their half. When they did get the ball the warning signs were there though as they launched a number of balls over the top for Kevin to run onto. In fact their first goal was pure route one with the sun and frosty ground playing a big part as the keeper launched the ball forward for it to bounce high over Colesy as last man and guess who was there to pick it up and lob Dave to make it 1-0 after 6 minutes….yes… Kevin. Bet he was good at Subbuteo because he flicked to kick and I didn’t know.
Despite this set back we continued to press forward and the passing at that stage was good but after 20 minutes with the score the same John went up with an attacker for a ball in the air but landed on the ground and in the process hit his head on the frosty surface. The resulting dizziness did not clear and so Nick Waller came on at left back with Sini moving to centre back.
For the remaining 25 minutes we went to pieces as Orpington ran riot and almost scored at will with corners being a rich vein of opportunity. They rattled in five goals as we completely lost shape and desire. The only glimmer came from a headed own goal in our favour from a cross whipped in by Pete Harvey to leave us 6-1 down at half time and a veritable mountain to climb.
For the second half we did have the slope and the sun was behind us which was a distinct advantage as we looked a completely different team with most of the possession and chances in our favour. However, the second half was only minutes old when Michael went down with a knee injury and was unable to continue so was replaced by the Lyrical Gangster aka Statler.
We continued to press for goals and had a number of chances to reduce the deficit but couldn’t find a way through. Pete used the sun to great advantage as he thundered a shot straight down the keeper’s throat who was unable to stop it hitting the back of the net. He did manage to make three world class saves to prevent us closing the gap and unfortunately in one of their rare second half forays Orpington managed to get a seventh goal to put the game well beyond our reach. Dave in goal saved us further embarrassment with a very smart save diving to his left to push a goal bound shot round the far post late on in the game.
The game was played in an excellent spirit throughout with only a couple moments of discord when some refereeing decisions were questioned…not by me I hasten to add.
Only five of us made it to the bar after the game and much to Bernard’s chagrin there was no food to be seen and so an assortment of crisps, nuts and bacon fries comprised the buffet.
Man of the match today was Pete Harvey.
Man of the match: Pete Harvey