So off we set to face Wanderers at Kennington Park. It was a wet start, but spurred on by Captain Email’s inspirational email (which I only briefly glanced over) we were on for a glorious win today. So myself and Jack wandered across to the field of play to find quite surprisingly that despite it being just 20 minutes from push back, and despite speaking with Maj only 10 minutes earlier (who had already arrived with Andy Adams) , it would appear that no one else was there. Indeed the pitch was not even set up, and no hockey goals were in place. It then dawned on me, that perhaps I should have read the email, as the game was not as per my historic and stored satnav directions, but was in Battersea Park 4.5 miles away! OK so our warm up was sprinting back across Kennington Park to the car, a mad dash across London and to ensure we arrived in Battersea before the game started. But at least no one noticed………….
Arrived at the correct location (post code on the said email sort of helped), and we lined up with a slightly new look team as Rob Pringle had been relegated to the 3’s, was replaced by a welcome return by Dave Etheringon, and Jamie G was off having some sort of extension/operation I am led to believe. Started well and some good attacking play by a strong and confident Epsom team, and we created 3-4 real scoring chances but just could not make that final shot count. Finally got awarded a short corner, which I managed to get a shot away with, but which was deflected and saved by their keeper – so still no joys there then.
Turning to my book of strategy, and quite frankly realising I could not hit a cows arse with a banjo today, for the next short corner, I decided to step aside and bring Matt Smith up from defence to have a go – why not I thought ? – he is Mr reliable after all. Hard hit towards the near post, and Simon who had injected the ball, managed to sweep the ball behind the keeper and into the back of the net for a well deserved opening goal. What – we had actually scored from a short corner??!!!!! [please note in terms of goal tally this is defenders 0 goals and 1 assist, midfielders 1 goal and attackers 0]. Another short corner soon followed, so we cunningly (think that’s a word) did the same again. Only this time, Matt smashed the ball into the back board for his own goal. Where has he been hiding all season? Anyway 2-0 up at half time (defenders 1 assist, 1 goal; midfield 1 goal; attackers 0).
Normal sort of half time talk – “we are playing well / must keep it up / lets not let them in / next goal is critical” etc etc , so we came out fighting. Some very interesting tackles by the Wanderers and whilst on other days they would have been seeing some of their players taking a chill-pill on the side line, to be fair they did provide both umpires, so no complaints then. A hard battle in the second half, with saves from Tom who dashed across his goal, like a pimped up Fiat Punto doing a wheel spin (any donations of grass seed gratefully accepted), some sterling defending and control of the game by Matt Smith and Dave; a good battle in midfield but which left Simon injured (hope for a speedy recovery mate), some great running by Jamie P and Jack R who tore their defence apart, definitely caused them loads of trouble albeit did not score today, and Matt Breese who won a new vote today for me as most improved player – some great jab tackles and really dominated his position.
Ah, forgot to mention that despite this great dominant play, Wanderers managed to get a goal back and our lead was cut back (temporarily) to 2-1. Doh…… But we battled on, and one of our attacks finally paid dividends when some old git (aka me) managed to battle the ball past 2 defenders into their goal for a well deserved 3-1 win. [ goal tally now : defenders 1 assist and 1 goal; midfield 2 goals; attackers no goals but applied major pressure to Wanderers for the whole game].
Victory was ours as expected, and a good team effort all round. Man of the Match just has to go to Matt Smith – great defending as always and broke the deadlock with 2 well taken short corners. TFC was unfairly awarded to myself (again), and before the game even started, and I do feel hard done by, that I can win TFC from 4.5 miles away. Tough game vs. Purley next week, and for me, trying hard not to get a hat-trick of TFC’s!!!!