Sunday 18th February 2018
By Mark Harrington
This game was our first outing since the 14th January and off the back of two defeats, one would have thought a lack of confidence not to mention rigor mortis would have set in; however. we started the game well and were close to taking the lead on a couple of occasions but like our early general play we were a bit erratic and tried to rush too many shots and hurrying our passes. This was in fairness to be expected after being out for so long against opponents who have only missed one game since the turn of the year. They must have been playing on 3G with the recent weather!
Anyway we did not have to wait long to take the lead as in the 25th minute Alan Fines produced a cracking overhead kick that Rivalino or is that Ravioli would have been proud of. Unfortunately, we also did not have to wait long to see the hosts equalise from a corner that their midfielder buried on the volley. In equally quick fashion we were piling forward in too many numbers only to lose the ball and their winger crossed for the forward to head in unmarked at the far post. We were unlucky not to equalise just before the break when Jason Miller sent over a super cross that fellow sub Jamie Titford just could not keep down and convert. Apparently this is something that runs in the family eh Dean?! Anyway, Jamie showed later that it’s not a permanent disorder.
So going into the break 2-1 down was not ideal but there was great enthusiasm and optimism that we could turn the scoreline deficit around. Jason Miller was spot on that if we kept the passing short we would prosper and this proved to be spot on. Jason fed Jamie who broke down the right to send over a pinpoint cross that Damien Preston, using his standing right leg, sent a half volley past the keeper to draw us level in the 52nd minute. Something about rugby clubs and right foot finishes for our very own silver fox in the box.
Just before the goal of the game we could have found ourselves behind again when a stray defensive pass went straight to the oppo forward who was just about to celebrate putting the ball past Gary when Jon Gasson, who was a colossus all game, got back to just hack the ball clear off the line. Shortly after came the goal of the game in the 64th minute from Jamie Titford. Joe Champ fed Alan who held the ball up and flicked onto Paul Tanton out wide on the left who beat his man to send over a superb cross that Jamie stretched to head in to give us the advantage. That was Jamie’s last bit of action as his lungs caught up with him but a great debut performance and goal for the Guild. We were not finished with the scoring as in the 68th minute, Alan Fines beat Tant to the ball to smash a Jon Redman cross past the keeper and into the bottom right of the net.
This was a marvellous return to winning ways against a team we twice drew with last year. Every man put in an unbelievable shift which, bearing in mind the lack of recent game time, was impressive. The back four, marshalled by the excellent Jon Gasson and assisted by Robin, were not only resolute in defending but both full backs; Joe Champ, Chris Rawley and latterly Jason Miller played super football and were a danger to our opposition as most of our attacks started with neat triangles played in our own third of the pitch. Dean and Jez were constant nuisances to the oppo midfield and both deserved goals, Dean being clearly pulled back which should have resulted in a pen and Jez created his own when robbing the centre half only to see the keeper smother his shot. Barry Grainger pulled the strings as usual and on a number of occasions picked balls out of the air from whatever height they came from to hold up play and allow our shape to reform. Barry could and should have bagged one for himself but the keeper covered his sort of shot. It was great to see Jon Redman back in action after missing most of the season with injury and also not finding his way out of a wardrobe. Feel free to ask him or Kirsty about that one! Anyway, it looked like he had never been away and moment of the match was when the little fella outjumped their 6ft 7in winger to head the ball clear.
Our thanks to Jamie and Chris for coming in last minute and performing like they had played for us for years. Special mention goes to the spine of the team being Jon Gasson, Jez Mooney and Alan Fines. All three had exceptional games and were rightly voted (with four votes each) joint Man of the Match but in truth it could have been any of the 14 players on duty. Jon took every knock going, Jez must be a foot shorter today after all that running and Alan, normally mentioned for goals, played his best game for the club, holding up play and being the spearhead for attacks, one defence splitting pass particularly impressive but we just about failed to convert. Well done to all three for a super game.
Happy 50th to Jason Miller who turned the half century recently and his performance yesterday underlined there is many more games left in the old dog!
We play John Roan Vets next week. We are supposed to be at home but this will no doubt have to be changed due to rearranged fixtures. Tant will do his best and will let you know as soon as possible.
A good week all.
Man of the match: Jon Gasson, Jez Mooney and Alan Fin