Saturday 28th January 2006
So another week and another chance to put some more points on the board. Our premiership-sized squad grew again with the introduction of a returning Terry Dunford, however, Fourth team regular Steve Blanchard was absent through family duties.
With everyone arriving early Des, Rob and myself went into the tearoom to barter over tactics and starting places. Rob managed to barter a herd of camels to get himself a starting place in the old boys club which is our back four and to his delight it was next to me at centre back. Other changes from last week saw Gene making his first start at left midfield and Terry starting in place of Jon in the centre of midfield.
So the team was as follows; in goal Derek Vickers, defence of Rod Stoyle, Rob Weekly, Jason Blay and Ryan McGibbon. Midfield of Gene Green, Terry Dunford, Djan ‘Jackson’ Akwasi, Dan Head and George Hillman leaving Liam Hillman in the lonely role of solo striker.
With everyone here early and clear of their job today we went up to the pitch to stand around and have a chat and relax before the game only for it to be cold so we decided to run around and try to warm up before the game.
Having won the toss as I generally do I chose to kick out of the sun and from very early we looked in control and threatening with Liam looking very dangerous up front on his own and regularly getting in behind their back four missing narrowly on a couple of occasions.
We didn’t have to wait long for the breakthrough this week, Ryan McGibbon breaking forward with the ball as he does so comfortably and feeding a lovely ball to George who put a deflected cross in causing their defence all sorts of problems and after the ball was in the air for what seemed to be 5 minutes Dan Head strolled in and headed probably the slowest headed goal he’ll ever score looping the ball in at the near post. A well-taken goal from Dan and something he’s been doing all season timing his late runs into the box.
So a goal up could we hold on? Following Dan’s finish Erith 147 seemed to wake up and looked a lot more threatening, their midfield really coming into the game in front of us playing neat passing moves and putting their strikers in which Rob and myself were dealing with comfortably. Rob did especially well this week coming in after weeks out, with his mobility problems not hindering him so much in the centre as they previously had on the wings.
So after bigging Rob up we come to their goal. A lofted ball played over the top and a rapidly back peddling Rob jumped like a salmon from a lake and majestically nodded the ball away to safety. Well if only eh Rob. Let''s rewind a bit to the part where Rob jumped like a salmon and majestically headed the ball over me putting me and one of their strikers into a 50-50 chase for the ball towards our penalty box. Level pegging the whole way the call came from Del for keeper''s ball and so following my incident with Mark in my debut (everyone knows the results of that, except maybe Mark anyway) I decided not to slide and clear only to watch the striker slot the ball past Del with a nicely taken finish. 1-1.
After the Greenwich match everyone was determined not to throw the game away and it really showed as we broke forward and Liam and George looked especially dangerous with Liam having several shots blocked and shaving the post on a couple of occasions. I think both the Hillmans deserve special praise following performances in recent weeks both looking really commanding keep it up lads.
With the half time whistle coming there seemed little was left to happen in this half. However, football''s a funny old game and the classic dog on the pitch came close to causing a riot. With a rotweiller in the opposing team''s goal the keeper decided to hang on to ball and wait for it to vacate the pitch. However, the ref doing as he had done all game decided to get involved awarding us a free kick for the 6 second infringement. With our team showing the usual sportsmanship Terry, Dan and Gene swiftly began placing the ball for an attempted shot at goal much to the annoyance of every player not in a yellow shirt on the pitch and me and Rob. So I ventured further forward than I ever had before and made it into the opposition''s penalty box and common sense prevailed with the ball being returned to their keeper. Who I must add didn’t wait for me to get back and launched the ball over my head sparking another attack (won’t be doing that again).
So we arrive at our second goal and a near post corner found its way onto Dan’s foot for a well taken second goal and once again we led - surely we couldn’t throw it away again?
The half time team talk was positive and after plenty of encouragement from Des watching on from his deck chair we went out to take on the 2nd half. The half began with lots of pressure from Erith, their midfield really getting to grips with the game and putting us at the back under real pressure. At this stage for me the performances of Rod Stoyle and Rob Weekly really stood out both breaking up attacks and looking very solid with me sweeping up behind when needed. With the midfield being a bit over run Djan ‘Shamone’ Akwasi decided drastic action needed to be taken and he swiftly burst into some classic Jackson riffs with plenty of oooo’s and ahhhhhhhhh’s great stuff we all loved it. I don’t think Erith understood he loved Jackson and thought he was merely trying to get people booked, idiots.
So after holding out for 75 minutes and having more chances up front the seemingly inevitable happened, Erith made 3 subs and they began getting about us and causing us problems. A break down the left saw me dragged out of the middle having halted the lad''s progress I thought the danger had passed and then had to watch as a deep ball was delivered by their full back to the back post and headed in slow motion through the hands of Derek who made a spectacular dive and maybe could''ve saved it - unlucky mate. 2-2.
Erith were really breaking on us now and with us trying to chase the win which we needed Erith repeatedly hit us on the break. Two efforts from Erith almost resulted in me and Rob getting on the score sheet, Rob''s hitting the post mine Beckhamesquely curling from my hip round the top of the near post.
And so inevitably the Erith 147 winner came. Rod Stoyle had gone off with multiple knocks to legs and body and on had come Mark Friend and Gene had also gone off being replaced by Jon Blay on the left. With an all new flank Erith seemed to be overloading and the ball was pushed down that flank and into the box where a deep cross saw Rob and Ryan beaten by an Erith player in the air who headed another late goal against us and saw us beaten when maybe we deserved a win or a draw. All that was left now was the whistle condemning us to what must be a record defeat in the league.
I think everyone felt the same as me this week and I think playing really well and getting beaten isn’t good enough any more. We need to win for both ourselves and Des. Next week could be Des’ last game this season due to his leg. If it is I want to make sure we win and win well and I think we can.
Pats on the back this week for Rob who returned putting in a solid determined performance and to Dan for his brace. Also keep going Liam more of the same next week and you’ll have a hat-trick. See you all next week.