words:Garth/Paul F pics:various
We (if you are are as old as me) remember this. The only game live on TV, a town dressed in the team colours, a Saint & Greavsie early morning start and Bob Wilson interviewing the players on a sun filled bus as it made its way through the throng of fans making their way to the twin towers.
And it was these memories in the background that we made our way in various vehicles to the hallowed turf of Horsley FC. Charlie stepped out of the car full of a pre-match special diet (an Aero supersize Peppermint chocolate bar) and with the Rocky IV theme tune ringing in his ears – perfect preparation…
“Two worlds collide
It's a primitive clash
Venting years of frustrations
Bravely we hope
Against all hope
There is so much at stake
Seems our freedom's up
Against the ropes
Does the crowd understand?”
Nervous tension as the supporting crowd gathered and nervous excitement as the boys got themselves together.
A move pitch side unveiled excited parents, sisters, brothers, and grandparents as a supporting cast. The famous Loxwood roar was on tour and it would be felt.
Conditions were windy, very windy. The rain from earlier in the day had abated but threatened. A big factor in the clouds overhead.
A well-managed warm-up, directions and encouragement was served, and Captain Cam was called to the centre for the toss of the coin. Coin toss lost and the Sea Lions elected to play the first half towards downhill and with the wind behind them on pitch 4. An interesting decision, and probably right turned around the other way – would a strong advantage in the 1st half serve them well?
The last game between these two was only 3 weeks ago. A 2-0 win to the team from Goldsworth who had defended brilliantly, kept out the Viper attack and taken their chances well!
For once I won’t detail everything… if I miss anyone I apologise….. (I also lost my 1st half notes!)
The game started with Loxwood strong. Against the wind and causing danger. William in particular was dangerous. It was only five minutes though before Goldsworth were taking advantage of that swirling wind and the conditions. Wave after wave……
Harry J his normal dependable and reliable self, Fin playing smart at left back but maybe our new signing “New” Sebby at right-back really showing his newfound talent – where has this defending Cafu/Neville/Phil Neal (you take your pick) come from since lockdown return?
There really was no pattern in midfield and both teams struggled to get their foot on the ball. When Loxwood did break Jody was dangerous with his blistering speed but in the conditions, it was tough to keep momentum.
I won’t go through the rotation of subs throughout but noted that the coach played this well. Resting who needed to be rested at the right time and trying to mix it up to create variety.
Goldsworth had a number of corners and even from the far end it was obvious that we these were troublesome. Finally, one from the bottom right was whipped in at speed in the 14th minute, it bent wickedly and brave George got his hands to it – unfortunately he pushed the ball into his own net. (sorry George). 1-0 Goldsworth which on the balance of play at this time was deserved.
“Come on Loxwood!!!”, “Heads-up lads” were the various cries. And how they responded. Straight from kick-off the adrenalin was pumping, and spirits had not died. It finally came together. Charlie held the ball in midfield and looked up. A beautifully played through ball cut the defence apart but all the work was still to be done. William ran onto it as the opposing keeper advanced, but William was around him. He was pushed wide with an open goal but kept his head to slot it home. Only 4 minutes from going down it was now 1-1.
All they had to do was get to half-time at 1-1. A first half draw and the conditions would favour the Vipers. Could they make it? Yes! They did! 1-1 at half-time and both teams happy with how they had played in that first half.
Half-time came, an encouraging team talk from Coach Paul and Enforcer Vinny but most importantly a whole bag of wine gums administered by Tess.
The 2nd was being played in a similar fashion to how the whole of the game had been played so far. Both teams working diligently but the conditions working against them. This resulted in a pattern where the game had no pattern. It also meant that any ball played forward to Jody was giving him too much to do. He played well throughout, with a few 1:1s but was denied by the wind, good goalkeeping or the linesmans offside flag (right decisions from what I witnessed at that end).
A feature of the second half was “Captain Cam”’s commandment in midfield. He asserted his physical presence on the game and was mopping up back to front. His partnership in midfield with Charlie playing in a more attacking role has worked well. He is also a commander on the pitch. At times of little communication, it isn’t left to George on his own anymore and Cam gees them up but also has an intelligent side word with players who have missed an attempt or heads are dropping. Great leadership that William Wallace would even raise his axe to!
The author found the 2nd half a blur but looking through my notes I can confirm that Harry Smith continued to cause trouble, providing chances more often than not for others. Cam had a number of multiple attempts and Sebby remained unflappable.
The ref had blown for multiple free-kicks in the game. The boys were playing smart, floating them high towards the keeper and following in to create trouble. A resulting corner created mayhem in the 6-yard box and in the 44th minute and Jody had the vital touch – the boys back the in lead at 2-1.
Although it was felt that this was the point of the game that had made the difference it wasn’t. George had previously dealt with a lot of danger in the first half quite comfortably, but it was a Goldsworth corner that bought the game changer (in my mind). A dangerous corner bobbled out of the area and was well struck by our opposition. George dived to his left outstretched and pushed it away – made to look effortless. Goldsworth pushed on, Sebby cleared off the line. Cam picked it up to bring it out. Goldsworth shot, impeded by an Oscar challenge – it went wide. It was now starting to feel like it wasn’t to be their day. Gordon Banks save vs the Pele header in 1970? Forget it! This is the save that I will remember to my grave.
A brilliant piece of video editing by Mrs.Ramsay follows (sound on required).....
As I said, a hard report to write. No poor performance, every player played their part in a team performance as they have done in the lead up to this final in what has been a difficult season. The Vipers performances post-lockdown have without doubt been something we have never witnessed before from this group.
Credit to Goldsworth who never gave up, played fairly and were gracious. Whenever we have played them it has been the best of grassroots football. The referee also played his part in being clear in his decisions and instruction. He also made it clear that “throw-in” lessons are certainly required for the Vipers.
This has been a long-time coming. 6 years. Today was a team effort, but not just any team effort – an extended team effort. Coaches Paul and Andy Leete who have nutured and developed these players. Vinny, Simon Gwilliam, Marco (I probably missed someone) taking coaching. Lines being marked out early, ground set-up by Steve Smith, linesman volunteers, even people referring when required. Everyone involved for the past 6 years should be proud. The first of many we hope!!!!
The cup is picked up......
Last word to “lad mountain Captain Cam” and his victorious team mates….. brilliant lads, just brilliant........