A strong squad assembled on Sunday at the pavilion in bright sunshine. Kingy made it down to see everyone as he was eagerly anticipating his arrival at the ripe old age of 60 on Monday the 30th but he looked surprising fresh after the party the night before. After singing him a happy birthday, Sedge picked a good team and we also had 4 strong subs to bring on.
We started brightly and were doing a lot of probing down the flanks with Howard and Midge working hard. Our forwards were well-marshalled though by a confident Caldecote defence. In midfield it was turning into a hotly contested encounter as they had 3 players to our 2. Our opponents only had 11 players, so Sedge and Rudders took on the lines-person duties. We had every confidence that we were the better team despite our opponents looking fit and relatively well-organised. However, with only around 10 minutes on the clock ,a little bit of overplay in defence saw their forward slide in to smash the ball home 0-1. It was a bit of a surprise and we were all somewhat annoyed. However, soon after it got worse. Another bit of generous defending gave another of their players a sight at goal and he duly took it! We were two nil down having looked relatively untroubled.
The team kept working and forced a few corners which were well taken by Simon. Unfortunately for us the final touch was evading us and when we did connect their keeper was on top form. Nigel was encouraging everyone as usual but we just seemed to be lacking the killer instinct and a slight bit of tempo to our play.
It soon became clear that Caldecotes' confidence had grown and the 0-2 lead had really given them something to hang on to. In truth they nearly made it 3 with some last ditch defending keeping them out.
At half time we made a plan and Sedge bought himself, Rudders, Kev Anderson and Gavin on albeit no-one had really done too much wrong in the first half.
We started the second half brightly though and soon started to exert some control. Rudders broke down the left and curled a Beckham style cross into the middle.
Sedge crept in front of the centre back after ghosting in from the left and caressed a volley over the keepers head and into the net 1-2.
Soon after it was 2-2. Some good play in midfield allowed Sedge to feed Midge down the line. Midge cut back and squared the ball to Sedge who had burst towards the box. Though his first strike was blocked by the inform keeper he was left powerless with the rebound as Sedge followed it in and suddenly it was honours even.
A few minutes later another excellent corner saw Two Touch out muscle all comers to head in a 3rd from close range.
Our opponent were looking a little more ragged now and their confidence seemed to ebb away as we moved the ball quickly at an excellent tempo with accuracy and imagination. They were visibly deflating by the minute. Kev and Gav were pushing on at full back and we were overloading them all over the pitch.
Gav broke into the middle and forced Sedge out wide to the byeline down the left.
Continuing the run Sedge whipped a left footed cross behind the defence and Gav stooped to glance a perfect header into the bottom corner for a 4th.
Not bad from a marauding left back!
Soon after, a great 1-2 between Midge and Two Touch saw the later control a ball into the box at full speed and slot into the bottom corner for a 5th.
But we were not finished. Another great corner picked out Two Touch at the far post. But rather than going for goal he unselfishly headed back into the path of Kev Hurst who gratefully side footed it home from close range. 6-2. Another season and another goal for Kev who had looked solid at the back throughout.
Sadly for Midge and Howard they failed to get on the scoresheet this time but their work-rate for the team was excellent.
Everyone has heard the old saying of a game of two halves- well this was certainly one.
In truth the two nil deficit was probably a really good thing for the Game and Caldecote played some impressive football themselves at times.
However, there was undoubtedly a shift in momentum in the second half and our closing down seemed to intensify my a small but sufficient margin.
Add to this some tiring opponents and some fresh legs and we ran out comfortable winners. Everyone played their part and everyone played at least half a game too.
There was not a bad tackle in the match though and there was mutual respect on both sides in addition to some great man-sized sandwiches courtesy of Youngy and his family that everyone really enjoyed.
Happy 60th to Kingy though and thanks again from all of us for everything that you have done for Hemingford Veterans.