Coming off the back of an excellent 3-0 win against Radford from a step above, we travelled up the road to Clay Cross to play the local team who were runners up in their league last year.
CLAY CROSS TOWN 5 MICKLEOVER FC RESERVES 4
On a drizzly bleak austere evening, we saw a terrific game of football including a goal so good it was reminiscent of the great Carlos Alberto in Mexico 1972.
Clay Cross started well with attacks down both wings with their pacey wide men and we did well to keep them at bay, but went 1-0 down after a short pass didn’t reach Clinton Morrison and despite a couple of good tackles the ball broke to a Clay Cross player who did a grubber into the corner of the net.
Rather than go through all the incidents including great goals from Surfafel Tefera, Larrel and new boy Archie, I’ll concentrate on two game-changing incidents.
As the half-hour approached and we were getting into the ascendancy through structure and passing, a Clay Cross player was seen to be lying prostrate in their box just on the penalty box. The ball was near the touchline on our attacking right. The game stopped and there was a wee bit of altercation with the usual intrusive pushes and finger-pointing.
During this time the Clay Cross player remained decumbent – it looked serious! The referee obviously didn’t see what happened and began his investigations by interviewing the first witness the far side linesman. “Didn’t see nufink guv” was the response so the next port of call was to the far far far away linesman. The interrogation took place fairly close to where we were on the touchline, and there was a lot of nodding and head shaking so it looked like the probing was going to provide a result. I had a feeling that it wasn’t going to be good as whilst the first interrogation was going on, one of their subs – who was sitting in the dugout with his 2 well built managers in front of him was expounding on what had happened. “A Mickleover player punched our player off the ball with a right hook.”
This is verbatum what the linesman repeated to me as we went off at half time. If the linesman had seen what had happened he would have been waving his flag like one of the demented at the Nuremberg Rally! The result was that our complement was reduced to 10.
What followed was a superb display of positional awareness and commitment. The shape of the team was scintillating with Clinton being the glue that held us all together.
The second incident was as good a goal that you would have seen for many a season. Playing the lone man up top Surf broke away from the halfway line past a defender and drove on in a central position to the goal, as he pushed on he attracted 3 defenders to him both full backs and the guy who had been comatose 10 minutes earlier.
What this did was to leave a space on their left flank for us to exploit and boy oh f’n boy did Clarence Clark exploit it. He sprinted circa 53 yards and when he was spotted by Surf, the ball was rolled (a la Pele) into the path of the marauding central defender from Phoenix Arizona who took a deft touch before dispatching the ball to its place of rest with a thunderous drive!
Although we lost on the scoreline we won on the gameplay as they scored their last 2 goals from corners, after we had to take off Gus Williamson as the drizzle was messing with his dreads.
Also of note is that Kiran Sanghera our keeper got caught by a tackle fairly early on and was in pain for most of the game.
An interesting aside was the linesman’s vision and perception when Josh Satchwell was bearing down on goal and was stronger than the defender, who then fell, with the linesman giving a foul against Josh, indicating that he had used and elbow. If Josh had done so, the linesman couldn’t have seen it because the defender was in his way!!!!!!
DUNKIRK FC 1 V MICKLEOVER RESERVES 1
Dunkirk came out of the blocks well and forced a couple of early corners. However the well organised defending set up repelled them and although Tom Smith in our goal made a couple of stops they were nothing to really bother a keeper of his stature.
After that flurry we started to get into the game, with Dunkirks favourite way to retain possession was to fall down – the number 6 was particularly adept at this tactic.
We should have scored the opener but their keeper made a good save from Jude Ayetine in a one on one situation – if only the keeper had known about Jude’s wicked right hook we would have scored because he would have shat himself.
Dunkirk opened the scoring after we gave the ball away with a Hollywood pass that turned into a nightmare on Elm Street. The problem with these passes that don’t come off is that invariably four of your teammates get caught the wrong side of the ball.
Not long after we had to make a couple of changes. Kyle thought his back was sore and Jude hadn’t punched anyone for 30 minutes.
Down 1-0 at half time we had to be resolute, stand strong and defend like dervishes.
The defence at this time was immense restricting Dunkirk to some long shots and Tom only had one save second half.
We got an equaliser after some sustained pressure with Surf finishing with aplomb.
We made some more changes and the defence stood tall and resolute and on the attack, we could have had a couple with young Finn Barker skinning the centre half like a haddock before making a great connection, hitting a shot millimetres wide of the corner flag. Great skills form the young man.
We now move forward to the league opener at Linby Miners. Glad we play them first because they will get older the longer the season goes,
I have to thank Aaron Hayer for a fabulous job setting up all of these games and his great work at training.
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