Saturday 24th March 2007
By Colin Brazier
A bit short of report ideas this week, although there’s a few good bits from the other reporters’ contributions that I could nick, as it seems all teams played well over the weekend and compliments paid there would fit in just as well here. Tempting, but I’m going for the radical approach and will just tell the story of the game.
Our closest away game of the season, over at our old friends Wickham Park. Makes a pleasant change not to have to go near Fiveways on an away trip! (Just remembered, it’s Meridian next week!). Astonishingly, even for such a short distance, everyone managed to get there in plenty of time, and Ed could give a detailed team talk and introduce the 3 latest winners of the Lottery of Life, prize being a place in FOBG 3rds.
Ed’s forecast of a fun-filled, action-packed afternoon was to prove a lot more accurate than his recent racing tips.
After a minute’s silence to pay respects to a Wickham Park member, and several more minutes trying to get one of the goals up, we started with a line-up of new keeper Matt Reilly; the regular recent back four of Lipton, Arnold, Blay and Brazier; a midfield of Cross, Stoyle, Viner and debutant Piers Moss, and a strike force of Davies and Tomkins. Mark Doyle and third new boy Lee Brackell were on the bench.
Now I’m sure we’ve all played in games – especially at FOBG! - where at some stage, we’ve wondered how on earth we could be 3-0 down; we’re not playing that badly? Well happily on this occasion it was the turn of the opposition to say that, as despite threatening us with pace and aerial threat, they couldn’t cope with a combination of Piers’ biting tackles and Steve Viner’s hitherto well-hidden vision and passing (cough cough!!).
Simon Davies got our first goal after taking advantage of a mix-up between goalkeeper and defender, and the ball accidentally hitting his arm. We soon added a second when another good move found Lee Cross latching on to a ball inside the full back to slot his shot beyond the keeper. Before I could recover from running 60 yards to participate in the celebration, another pass from Viner was converted ‘Thierry Henry’ style by Ben Tomkins. 3-0!!! It could easily have been four when Ben was put through in identical fashion five minutes later and this time elected to blast rather than place his shot, and the chance was gone. One of several lessons learnt by Ben during the game!
So, 3-0 up approaching half time, and with the opposition visibly shaken, why did we continue to rush to take throw-ins and give away needless free kicks on the edge of our area? No names, no pack drill! It was from one of these free kicks that Wickham Park got back into the game on the stroke of half time.
We tried not to sit back on our lead and invite the opposition on to us, but Park were scenting blood and threw everything at us. Eventually a cross came in from our right and found their forward meeting it sweetly with a right foot volley from 5 yards out. 3-2. But no!!! Somehow Matt had managed to get an arm on the shot to deflect it over the bar. A brilliant save. We continued to threaten on the break, but Park scored from a well-delivered corner to cut the lead to a single goal, and shortly after were awarded a dubious penalty. The spot kick was hit hard right down the middle, but Matt reacted well to stop his dive and smother the ball.
Wickham Park never gave up but we fought hard and there were few further scares other than when Ben was lucky not to be sent off after ‘kicking the ball away’ on two separate occasions.
Lee Brackell came on for the injured Piers, and all three debutants did well and contributed a great deal towards a good win. Many thanks to Mark Doyle for running the line for the full 90.
Man of the match was spread through the side, I’m not sure who got it in the end, but I know that neither Steve nor I were in the running. Sometimes I wonder which game people are playing in!
That’ll be a pint, please Steve...