Saturday 17th March 2007
By Colin Brazier
So, the game was goalless, it was obvious that the first goal would be vital and concentration had to be 100%. Up to now I’d had a pretty good game, though I say it myself. Then this latest raid. With the forwards bearing down on me, my brain went on full alert. I kept my focus on the ball as the move developed but I was only partially aware of a peripheral figure who could eventually become involved and finish off the move, and as luck would have it, the ball went to him and he slotted it into the net with ease. A schoolboy error, following the ball and losing your man! Disaster! So I therefore apologise to Liam Williams for not capturing his moment of glory in the Firsts’ semi final. This photography business ain’t as easy as it looks.
Disillusioned, I marched past the 60+ spectators muttering how I’d missed an open goal – yeah, yeah, not for the first time etc. etc. - and prepared for my own game for the Thirds. Still, congratulations to the Firsts for getting to another final!
We knew it would be tough against Crofton (who with this win regained their league leaders’ spot). They had beaten us 4-1 a few weeks back, but now spring was in the air, the clocks were soon to go forward (a week or two too late for Djan!!!) and the week had arrived in the season when I realised I’d made a mistake leaving my moulded boots at home. Surely we’d beat them on the sacred turf of the FOBG top pitch??
Owing to the club’s increasing goalkeeping problems, Rod Stoyle was asked to help us out again and take the gloves. In front of him we had myself at left back, Mark Doyle at right back with Jay Blay and Todd Arnold in the middle of defence. The midfield consisted of Steve Viner and Antony Dine flanked by Ben Tomkins and Lee Cross. Ben was free to play, having successfully completed his mission to buy a Mother’s Day card before kick off. Richard Tapsfield and Simon Davies made up our strikeforce. Our sub was the intrepid Djan Akwasi who was making his weekly epic trip from Norf Lahndon. Rumour has it this journey will be the subject of Michael Palin’s next series.
So another unfamiliar line-up but no-one was unduly fazed, with the exception of Todd, who, having the armband in the continued absence of Paul Parsons (whatever happened to him?), mistook it for a couple of stripes and for 45 minutes gave a very passable impression of Corporal Jones. Hmm...the Dad’s Army references had better stop there, methinks.
Anyway, Reliable Ron Newby blew for half time with the score at 0-0 and we managed to calm our leader down even without Katie’s infallible “I’m scared” method of doing same.
The game restarted and it was evident that Crofton had had “words” at half time and upped their game accordingly. This resulted in a higher work rate and more possession for them but we contained their attacks reasonably comfortably. When we did break, we always looked dangerous with Ben going close on a couple of occasions.
Then, with about 20 minutes to go, the game was goalless, it was obvious that the first goal would be vital and concentration had to be 100%.....oh you’ve heard that bit….well it only remains for me to apologise to my team mates and the manager who did well to wait until nearly 7pm to say “I told you to watch him”. Any earlier and I may not have been responsible for my actions.
Luckily, the game was scheduled while the semi final was going on so there were hardly any spectators to witness my momentary lack of concentration – even my brother was on holiday.
About 5 minutes later the game was settled when the ball seemed to be jemmied out of Rod''s hands and was tapped in to the empty net for 2-0; a frustratingly frequent result for us this season. No one is really giving us a ''gubbing'' but we’re having trouble creating chances and can’t put our finger on the reason(s).
MoM went to Ben for playing well and having the front to wear gleaming new white boots.