Brilliant result at Red Bull. Thank you to all players
We were travelling to our old foes Redbull with this the deciding fixture after a win for each team earlier in the season. On arrival at the ground Rudders told us the disappointing news that our stand in keeper had pulled out with illness, which was a shame but we did not panic and without any argument or complaint Roy kindly donned the gloves.
That meant we only had 12 which left us a bit light against arguably the best team around.
Sedge picked a strong team though and it looked like they too had a couple of influential stalwarts unavailable.
The pitch at Pembroke was as good as ever and the early exchanges were fast and furious.
Roy was organising well alongside Nigel and Kevin at centre back and we were competing well all over the pitch. Redbull had a new midfielder who was very tidy on the ball and a sprightly young forward who could cause problems with his pace if left unattended.
We had a few forays forward and Midge was unlucky with an acrobatic volley after a good exchange with Gavin- the ball narrowly flying wide.
They broke clear once but Roy was sharply out and blocked an effort well with his feet.
We were playing some good football but our opponents have a reputation for being clinical when mistakes are made so we all had to be on our toes.
After about 30 minutes we started on a quick break forward but as Midge slipped in Chris Keeble he pulled up quickly with a strained hamstring and had to be replaced by Headers who switched with Simon at right back - as Simon replaced Chris in midfield.
Within a minute we had taken the lead though. Some hesitancy at the back and pressure from Rudders enabled Midge to get free. He charged into the box and unleashed a powerful drive into the bottom corner of the net across the keeper. It was a great feeling to take the lead and our tails were up.
Redbull were unperturbed and had a quick break down the left. Daz made a great tackle at full stretch but sadly he failed to get up- another hamstring victim! Though he managed to drag himself to his feet and limp on for a bit her knew his morning was over and we were left with 10 men.
Their ex manager Trevor Munsy Muns had retired from vets management and playing at Christmas but when we went down to 10 he kindly got stripped and came on for us at half time. Trevor is a tidy player with good technique and he immediately started talking, cajoling and organising well for the rest of the game which was really appreciated by everyone.
We had led Redbull at the break before and ended on the losing side so we wanted to hit the ground running in the second half. We started quickly and had a few good interchanges but before long a straightforward ball forward skimmed off someone's head and slipped past our defence. Their big forward Hench pushed the ball past Roy and wide of the goal, the ball was almost out of play but from the acutest of angles he drove the ball in and there was nothing that the despairing dive of Nigel could do to keep it out. 1-1.
We were down but not out.
There was still plenty of time to go and they knew they were in a game.
Midge and Rudders were trying their best and getting some tough treatment from the opposition defence but it was a great competitive match with everyone giving 110percent.
Sedge brought a great save from the Keeper from a free kick on the edge of the box and Gavin came close too at the far post. Some great play on the edge of the box saw Rudders with some space but his powerful drive low to the keepers right was saved acrobatically by Dave in the opposition goal.
The Game ebbed and flowed but we had the best chances as Dave clawed out a powerful Rudders drive high to his left from close range in the next interchange.
It was encouraging to hear their defenders calling for the final whistle and it duly came from the referee who had had an excellent game on the day.
Everyone in attendance on both sides had played a part and it was an excellent committed team display. Stand out performances were limited as everyone played so well but Kev Hurst was strong as ever, Roy did really well in goal, Simon was excellent in Midfield and Dave headers at right back had his best game for the team. That said their keeper would have been a worthy winner if we were voting for them but Midge deserved the man of the Match award for terrific strong and brave hold up play throughout and a clinical finish.
It may be the last game we get to play at Pembroke but if so it was a great one to finish on and it was a credit to the Game and thoroughly enjoyable, as everyone hit the social club for a baguette a pint and some gherkins having had a serious work out with pride in tact and honours even...