Sunday 26th November 2006
By Roger French
Turned up at the clubhouse on Sunday morning for our away game at sunny Dartford expecting to see a fair number of players ready for the off. However, this was not the case. Instead we had a handful of players and both Vic and Toby were studying a long list of players telephone numbers with mobiles in hand trying to scrape together a bare 11. Just as we had resigned ourselves to the fact that we would have to play with 10 players, in walks Paul Garrett who hadn''t got the news that the Sunday team''s fixture had been rained off and was immediately persuaded that playing for the Vets would a good way to spend a Sunday morning. Luckily he believed us and we made sure he was second in line in the convoy just in case he had a change of heart!
We managed to locate the remainder of the team at the old Wellcome Foundation site in Dartford and with the resources available lined up with Toby Harlow in goal, a back four of Lee Southby, Paul Garrett, Stewart Savage and me (Roger French), midfield consisted of Chris Bourlet, Pat Mongelard, Chris Ponulak and Colin Ebdon with Paul Smith and new man Steve Faulkner up front. The walk to the pitch took its toll...it''s miles from the changing rooms....perhaps oxygen tanks might be a good addition to the first aid kit (paramountzone.com have them for sale).
With just 11 players compared to Tiger who seemed to have half a team in subs on the sidelines it was always going to be difficult for us. Unfortunately for me everything seemed to come down the left on the day when nothing went right from the start - in the first 25 minutes or so none of my passes went where they were supposed to (except one through ball to Paul Smith), I couldn''t get any tackles in with the exception of one on the halfway line and I couldn''t catch a cold let alone any of the attackers. Luckily both Paul Garrett and Stewart Savage were working very well as a central partnership and Lee Southby was doing a solid job on the other flank. Tiger went ahead when a shot from outside the box could only be parried by Toby and the defence failed to chase back leaving the attacker to run through into the box unchallenged and slot the ball away.
The scored stayed 1-0 up to half time and then it was time to take stock of our depleted squad. Toby was struggling with a hamstring injury but with no subs was forced to carry on. Tiger extended their lead 15 minutes in with a nicely struck shot from outside the box which evaded Toby''s grasp. We had more of the game in the second half pressing forward but without actually troubling the Tiger keeper. Toby Harlow limped off after about 20 minutes with Tiger having extended their lead to 3 to be replaced by Colin Ebdon who pulled off one blinding save to ensure he kept a clean sheet for his part of the deal. We managed to persuade one of the Tiger subs to make up the numbers and finished the game on the attack and I almost had a chance to make up for my sluggish start when from the final corner of the game the ball was won in the air by Stewart Savage and fell nicely for me to volley the ball goalbound only to see it cannon off the back of Stewart who was desperately trying to get out of the way. The whistle went shortly after this and another good opportunity to get a win under our belt had slipped away.
December is going to be a bit short in terms of games with only 2 to play against Ditton and Toby both at home and both games we could win with a full squad available - onwards and upwards.