Mens 4 : 4-1 win vs Addiscombe

AndrewM Men's 4th xi

Bright and early 10.30 start today against Addiscombe. Now normally it is slow going through Croydon (which as per previous years reports, we have already established  has been built and designed by a 3 year old using Lego bricks) and is rammed packed with traffic, but today  was strangely quiet – perhaps it was too early, and all the drug dealers were still in bed. Anyway, we finally found the school, and then it was up to Harry to ask some young lad where the pitch was – at least I think that’s what he was doing.

Ultimately a must win game, and we started well, but somehow it just did not seem to gel together and the first 15 minutes was scrappy and became anyone’s game to win. Addiscombe probably had the better 10 minutes and this was looking hard work. But we finally pulled it together and moved the game into the attacking half and started to press forward.

Matt Smith (always reliable) smashed one into the D and it pinged off about 17 sticks (OK maybe just 15 then) before it belted towards me who was standing at least 6 inches off the goal line, and deflected the ball into the goal for 1-0 up. The crowd cheered – or would have if the supporters had turned up on time (Andy Adams arriving at half time following his DIY SOS episode), and we were winning again – a strange feeling as we have not been winning for many weeks now. Epsom dominance continued, and we could have scored many more and were unlucky not to be running away with the game. Finally the ball got knocked across to Alex Scott who managed the finest of deflections (some would call it a stroke) between his legs and into the goal for 2-0 up. Hooray.

But it wasn’t all one way traffic, and Addiscombe fought back with a goal in response. Finally Mazza decided he should get involved and ran past loads of their players, turned and blasted the ball in for a shot on goal – the keeper dived, saved it, but the ball bounced up up and hovered in the air, and I was left with the keeper on the floor to step across, perhaps onto him and deflect the ball into the goal for 3-1 up. Think this move is known as the dying swan (see Kama Sutra page 14 for details).  So 3-1 up at half time and looking good.

As usual, our half time talk was panic, panic and panic – we must not let this one go, must start strong and put any ideas of Addiscombe coming back, quickly out of sight. So I was substituted after scoring 2, and thought we would let some of my chums have a go. Not at all like us, we created a great chance in the first minute of the second half and the ball came across to I think Matt Breese who missed, and then Mazza pinged one off the post, and from the sideline (along with Andy Adams as our injured supporter now joining the party) it looked like it crossed the line, but clearly this was deceptive and Addiscombe managed to defend the ball away.

Not that he whined much about it (yeah right…) but JJ was substituted. Whilst complaining he had been subbed, he switched his astro’s for extra whizzy roller-skates – a strange choice, but he is 14. So we decided to bring him back on in place for Captain Email who had not yet visited the sideline.  Interestingly roller-skates are not the best footwear for astro pitches and JJ managed to fall over every time he got near the ball.  (If the lovely Mrs JJ is reading this, please can she put a request into Father Christmas for some new astro’s). Indeed with Bambi on Ice playing left back we had some interesting moments, but nobody really noticed or criticised JJ for this (although he is now the proud custodian of the Epsom TFC shirt).

Definitely a closer second half, but we genuinely had the better play and chances. Finally Jack (who after getting home at 4.50am in the morning, and me having to get him up for Hockey less than 4 hours later was still bright and ready for the game – don’t you just hate the energy these kids have) rounded a few players and picked Alex out with a pass drilled into the D, for Alex to again put on the finest of touches to see it on its way into the goal for 4-1 up.  Some definite jug avoidances then followed, or rather I turned and completely missed the target (Matt Breese usefully pointing out to me afterwards what the goal looks like –  and fair criticism), and Alex could not find a hat-trick either so it finished a strong and fair 4-1 result. We are now up to our usual 7th position (and surely the league by now, know this is our slot), with Trinity 3’s lying in 10th to beat next week, before Trinity 2’s take their revenge in the final game of the season the following weekend.

Instructions for getting to the club house were a bit patchy, and we ended up driving across a rugby pitch (sorry) before being given correct directions by a nice man who did not want us parking between his posts, down to the cricket club about ½ mile away. 8 of us came back for teas (and was a splendid sausage and mash or spaghetti) and not to spread rumours but when I visited the showers only Maj and Mazza were already in the showers. Now I entered last, but came our first. Indeed not saying they were in there a long time, but I managed to shower, get changed, buy a round of drinks, drink most of my pint and eat my sausage and mash before Mazza and Maj came into the clubhouse looking rather sheepish……

The Man of the Match award was decided by the 8 who came back, and was a fair and reasonable 3-way award between the 2 goal scorers of Alex and myself (2 goals each), and Matt Smith who was instrumental in creating many of the chances. So after about 2 years without winning MoM I get a 1/3 share. TFC was given to JJ, doing an impression of Bambi on Ice. Harsh but fair.  Til next week Steve.