Dorking vs Loxwood Vipers U12s Jeremy Garbett (photos Steve Smith)
Players: George, Max, Harry, Sebby, Cody, Cam, William, Jody and Charlie - no reserves
A bright, sunny morning. Early autumn leaves whispering across the car park as the Vipers tumble out of their cars and walk towards the Dorking stadium complex. Where are we playing?....we ask each other as we trudge towards the outside pitches…wait….a text message flashes in…stop…well, we are not playing on the grass pitches outside - we are playing in the stadium…yes, a proper professional stadium , yes the Stadium of Light! (well, very sunny at least…)
Hearts beating faster our players assemble on the astro…the Loxwood fans move into the sunny side of the pitch…coffees and baps are bought from the (professional) stadium café…Coach Paul (aka ‘Hairdryer’) takes the team into pre match training and practice shooting. Our lads are looking really confident, plenty of chat from them as they warm up...the fans too relax in our own way, each of us thinking big time as we gaze around the stadium in wonder. The astro pitch…perfectly formed, perfectly groomed…(in fact, just like Vinnie on a Sat night….) however, could the Vipers compete at this heady level, we ask ourselves?
Captain Cam leads us off. Dorkinians wearing a jazzy green and yellow outfit….Vipers in classic England white. First 5 mins bodes well. Vipers playing mostly in Dorks half - we are looking promising with a really confident and aggressive start. Dorks GK fumbles a touch on a couple of corners …mmm….is this our opportunity, is this a weak link? Yes! is the answer as a smart interchange between Charlie, Jody and then to Cody…who powers on to score with a low drive into the left hand corner…0-1. C’mon! - what a start at 6 mins in. ‘Hairdryer’ turns to fans with a big grin - he’s ‘lovin’ it’…and so are we.
More Viper pressure as our defence actually passes to our midfield…who then slips it to our forward line…who then actually pass to EACH OTHER…and yes!...another score 0-2. Charlie finding space, weaving around and then almost a speculative drive… and through their GK legs…poor chap, he is having a mare. At 8 mins in, Vipers now thoroughly believe. Wave after wave of accurate Viper passing, firm tackling back and running into space from the Vipers defence and midfield…and then our incessant forward movement causes mayhem in the Dorks defence. They cannot cope as we pile on pressure and the corners. They are actually a decent side with a big forward line….but we are too focused, too driven and too good on the day. Any occasional foray by them down our flanks is magnificently repulsed, mainly by Max on the left who is having a blinder. Great to see & hear too our defensive line talking to each other, working together and then keeping the play firmly in Dorks half. Wonderful stuff. George - mostly inactive is then called on to save a marauding and lone Dorks attack - he flings himself to his left and palms it round the post…phew!…frankly, every Viper is doing their bit. Cam, patrolling the midfield dribbles, checks and then shoots confidently from 30 metres…just over. Charlie confidently and expertly does exactly the same too. Harry, Max and Sebby - all working well together are snuffing out calmly any Dorks attack, Cody, playing powerfully, tracks back to help when required, William, seizing on any midfield loose ball surges towards the Dorks last third with mazy runs, Jody afterburners on, scaring their defence time after time as he accelerates towards their keeper….it’s fabulous stuff. Another goal too …its 0-3. Halftime beckons. What a half…but can we keep it going?
Oh yes we can!... is the answer. Vipers are focused and ready to engage. Jody is on fire as he adds another goal too in quick succession. 0-4. Our passing is slick, our mood is determined, Dorks backpedalling everywhere, more goals come along, Charlie strikes from 29.5 meters….their GK leaps like a home loving salmon on the Tweed….but in vain as the ball arcs over his despairing fingers and into the top left…its now 0-6. Viper fans are in another world. Yours truly cannot keep up the scribbling as William then scores a wonderful goal at speed angling it across the GK…0-7. Charlie, head up, strokes in a majestic shot…the GK only get fingertips again as it thuds in…0-8. But …but…what’s this? a rare Dorks surge towards our goal…a too nonchalant & mistimed tackle by our defence and they are in, a rebound off Georgewho couldn’t do anything about it and they score. Its 1-8. It’s a salutary wakeup call - ‘Hairdryer’ stalking the touchline calls it out….and is heard back at Ifold as he does so. Dorks emboldened, now begin to surge towards our goal but our midfield are now awake and respond - they stop the attacks and pass calmly to the forward line…Charlie scores and Jody again as well. Whistle then goes. Its 1-10. 1-10. Let it sink in.
A truly electric performance. In years to come as we bounce our grandchildren on our knobbly knees we will rasp…”I ‘woz there when we did the Dorks 10-1”
What a match. Take a bow everybody - thank you coaches too as that typical cold & rainy mid-week training is all paying off for sure. C’mon Vipers!
Final word to our debutant Max.....