We traveled away to local rivals Houghton and Wyton on Sunday but despite the short distance, only 10 players made it across the meadow to start, after a few last minute drop outs due to injury and illness. Fortunately, our opponents kindly lent us a spare sub called Roger who went left wing and competed admirably.
We had a strong 10 + 1 and started the game very brightly. Midge and Howard were looking good up top and after a great bit of play down the right, Sedge spun in the box and lashed a left footer into the net for a deserved 1-0 lead.
The pitch was slippery and uneven and balls into the box were causing difficulties for both teams. We had a few crosses that went a bit too close to their keeper but before long they were on level terms. As Kev Hurst tried to clear a tricky cross, he inadvertently lashed it directly into the middle of the goal with his left foot. 1-1 Goaded by the home fans and players (and even some of our team) - it is fair to say Kev was not amused!
Still pressing on regardless, Howard broke free and lashed in a great shot that looked destined to score-but sadly the ball cannoned back off the post. This gave Houghton a lift and before long they had taken the lead. 2-1 to Houghton. Shortly after we lost Stuart Smith to a muscle strain on home terrain! So we continued with 10 men for a period whilst Walshy got himself together to enter the fray.
We had dropped off our pace a little after the first 20 minutes, and with Sedge and Midge carrying slight knocks it was a bit worrying. However, we were confident that we could turn the tide. It was a competitive match with a few bits of "needle" surfacing from time to time. As the second half got under way, another break down the right freed Kev Anderson who crossed a great ball to Howard. Kempy adjusted his body brilliantly to caress the ball into the top corner with his left foot. 2-2. Just as we thought we would go on to victory, a useful ball picked out Bozo who tricked his way past our two right sided defenders and drilled home. 3-2. This rattled us but we still kept going. Houghton also suffered a couple of injuries - losing two players to twisted ankles in the long grass (Jeffsy and Big J).
After winning a corner we threw up the big boys and a pinpoint cross from Walshy found Kev Hurst, and he looped a tremendous header into the top corner- followed by a great celebration. Midge continued to cause problems and before long another cross fell to Howard who slotted in at the far post for his 2nd. 4-3 to us. This was great to see and we were all delighted to take the lead again. With the clock running down our opponents looked very tired and though we were down to the bare bones we kept pressing. With about 5 minutes remaining, Nigel Parker ghosted down the right (having started the match at left back) and sent a deadly ball in that evaded their keeper and dropped into the net to make it 5-3 to us. Did he mean it- only Nigel really knows but it was great to see it go in after another positive and enthusiastic display from Mr Parker...
It was a well-contested game with no quarter asked or given. We all believed we should have won but we had to make it happen. Despite conceding 3 goals the defence and Kieren had played well and Kev H narrowly beat Gavin (his centre back partner for the day) to Man of the match. It was well-deserved for the effort and commitment he demonstrated. Equally, Houghton had also given a good account of themselves on the day and we all went back to their pub for a sportsmanlike drink, sandwich and a chat.