M.O.M. Nigel Parker
For the first fixture of the New Year we played host to CUP in a long awaited fixture which was borderline right up to kick off due to some heavy overnight frost. With the return from injury of our stalwart ref Blakey, a pitch inspection took place around 9:30 and we finally decided the game would go ahead when a strengthening sun burnt through the mist about 10:15 allowing the thawing process to start.
With Kingy scheduled to be on the golf course he gave me (Roy) one direction on team selection but on the day with 2 keepers I went for an alternative line up. The new keeper Kieran Harris lined up at right back with Ian Reynolds taking up position between the posts the rest of the back 4 made up of Nige Parker, Kev Hirst and Gavin. The midfield 4 were Chris, Simon, 2-Touch and Midge with Conner and Howard up front. Leaving me, my cockney bruvver, Clarky and Dippy warming the bench.
The game got underway in bright sunshine but it was evident for most of the first half that the bobbly pitch along with players Christmas excesses did not make for the flowing football expected of either side although both keepers did have saves to make. Late in the half Howard picked up a knock which saw the introduction of Dippy and a formation change between 2-Touch and Conner but failed to bring any breakthrough before the 45 minutes were up.
In the second half the quality improved from both sides but again keepers appeared to be winning the contest. With a no score draw looming I made my entrance replacing Chris and moving Gav into midfield before CUP broke forcing Ian Reynolds to parry a strong shot but unfortunately the back four had switched off and the rebound was banged into an empty net. This pushed us on and from a corner we felt the ball had crossed the line from Conner before being cleared but with no goal line technology the ref could not be certain and there Lino declined to assist. While still reeling from the disappointment CUP went on the offensive. Late on a clearance was deflected off a CUP arm and fell kindly for a second and winning goal.