Saturday 10th February 2007
By Colin Brazier
Some people were expecting me to announce my retirement when I volunteered to assume report-writing duties from man-flu-ridden Paul this week. Even my boots seemed to be giving me a message when I washed them and discovered I didn’t have to turn them upside down to get the water out. Well, tough – I’m sticking around. My boots may have given up the ghost but I haven’t, and as soon as the newsletter arrives with my name in one of the teams I’ll be running down to my local JD Sports.
Well why give up? It’s not as if we play Crofton Flaming Albion every week…it just seems like it:
* 21 Oct: FOBG 4ths 0, CFA ‘A’ 4
* 18 Nov: FOBG 2nds 2, CFA 3
* 20 Jan: CFA ‘A’ 5, FOBG 4ths 0
* 21 Jan: CFA Vets 4, FOBG Vets 1
* 3 Feb: CFA 4, FOBG 2nds 0
* 4 Feb: FOBG Vets 0, CFA Vets 4
* 10 Feb: CFA Res. 4, FOBG 3rds 1
Total: P7 W0 D0 L7 F4 A28 Pts 0
No, it’s not better than Spurs’ last 7 Prem games! Or even West Ham’s come to that.
And just the return of this fixture to come. Thank goodness they don’t have an under 15 team!
So, to the matter in hand. We had a squad of 12 fit (in a manner of speaking) players, while Crofton were able to make good use of their squad system. Louis Hussey and Chris Viner both returned to our side after lengthy absences, and Ben Tomkins after a shorter one (for the time being). The aforementioned Paul Parsons got off his sickbed to run the line; Djan was really unlucky to be sitting on the bench; and manager Paul Ed was happy not to be sitting anywhere.
Captain Courageous Todd Arnold won the toss and everything in his garden was rosy. Crofton had two or three free kicks in dangerous areas which we dealt with – usually by giving away a free kick in a less dangerous area – but we soon settled and Matt and Chris began to trouble their defence. Chris latched on to a bad Crofton pass and with the ref rightly ignoring the linesman’s flag, crossed from the left. The headed clearance found Antony Dine on the corner of the penalty area and he crashed an unstoppable volley into the far corner. Reports from the scene spoke of a deflection but from where I was it was a brilliant piece of skill with no luck involved at all. I hear that Spitfire will be on at the club at the weekend…
Crofton were stung and we held on to our lead with a last ditch tackle from our left back – you know, the club’s IT officer and sometimes report-writer - and a fantastic one-on-one save by Mark Edwards who crashed into the winger only to blot his copybook by claiming/admitting he touched the ball thus costing us a corner. Anyway, the main thing was that his knee survived the collision with the forward’s shoulder. The latter was also unscathed as he proceeded to deliver two crosses from the right – the IT officer’s patch, it has to be said – which were converted with shots of varying degrees of “aplomb” as all the best commentators say.
Half time, 2-1 down, and with everything to play for. But we just couldn’t get going again. Despite the prompting of Ant Dine and Jay Blay in midfield, and attempting to play the ball to Louis and Ben in wide areas and give our forwards some much needed service, Crofton had much of the play. They only threatened once, when Mark capped his MoM display with a flying tip-over (where’s the photographer when you want one??) before two individual errors at the back cost us any chance of recovery.
All in all the back four didn’t cover themselves in glory this week, with the exception of Joe Lipton who had his usual steady match.
A full 25% of our travelling army of fans drifted away with 10 minutes to go. I’ll have a word with my brother later. Of the other 75%, Couch had to stay because he was running the line (thanks!) after Paul was thrown into the heat of battle, and the Edwards children had to wait for their dad.
Our third successive away defeat leaves us with a mountain to climb but there is no outstanding side in this division and let’s see where a run of say, 3 wins and a draw could get us over the next month or so. Having forced changes every week makes it very hard to get a pattern of play going and the weather keeps breaking up the fixtures but we have to keep working hard and believing! Hopefully we''ll be able to play our first home league match for 3 months on Saturday but the forecast ain''t looking too good...