Saturday 21st August - FC 05 Bilsthorpe (home) Drew 1-1
"One won't be enough today I'm telling you..."
When I was a nipper we used to play a game for four called "Frustration", which consisted of a pop-up dice in the middle and four counters per player; the object being to get all your counters around the board and into their "home" safely without those of any of your opponents landing on you. Basically, it depended on the roll (or pop) of the dice.
We recently bought a variation of the game for the Slushettes. It's now called Agitation but the formula remains the same; except '1' is the magic number, not '6' as was always the case when we were young.
I was reminded of both these games during the ninety minutes of football on show at Low Farm last Saturday. Both titles sum up the overriding feelings among the home players, management and supporters perfectly.
For they had just squandered a great chance to make it two out of two for the start of the season. And what's more, we didn't really start playing until the last fifteen minutes but should still have gone home with all 3pts.
That said, I'm not going to begrudge opponents FC 05 their share of the spoils. As Manager Mack acknowledged afterwards, they came with a game plan and they saw it to fruition.
In fact, they were the more enterprising of the two teams early on as a hefty shower swept across Low Farm.
But then from nowhere we were ahead. On seventeen Mozzer drives into the box, gets entangled with goalkeeper Milnes and goes over. Penalty says referee Derek Brumpton and to be fair there are few protests. Having said that, if the foul was clear-cut, given the position of Moz at the time it's perhaps surprising that no card was issued...a fact we would regret later on!
Up stepped Chav - he doesn't miss penalties - and didn't. 1-0.
Chav doesn't miss penalties...
Thoughts that the goal might settle us down are misplaced. Both Conroy and O'Rourke go close for the visitors. We need a second...and nearly get it when JC puts Farny clear but his chip pings against the bar with Milnes beaten. It's a narrow and perhaps fortuitous half-time lead.
The rain is in the air again at the interval but the Tea Hut still plays host to the assembled throng stood out front chatting over the events of the first 45 minutes, the past seven days and in some cases what seems like a whole lifetime! I am quite rightly accosted for my inadvertent omission of a couple of Player Sponsors from the programme. Thankfully they don't demand their money back and I assure them their names will be in for the Hutton Cranswick game on Bank Holiday Monday!
"I'd have had fower be noo if ah were playing"
I was busy flicking off the generator at the start of the second half when a groan from the crowd told me that we should have doubled our lead. "Easier to score" was perhaps a cruel observation but Chav's miss would prove vital.
He wasn't the only one to pass up an opportunity; Frosty bursting through on the left but unable to find the target or even force a save. I turned to Dooley Cousins (now thankfully without the rather fetching umbrella lent him by our Club Secretary) and say, "one one this". I didn't mean to sound clever and in fact hoped to God I was wrong but you know when you just get that feeling...
It came on 67 minutes. A foul just inside our half (which rather harshly also resulted in yellow for Blounty) and from the ensuing free-kick, the ball bounced back off the unfortunate Bezza just nicely for big centre-half Matt Peet to lash into the net. 1-1 and memories of last season's dropped points against the Notts outfit came scurrying back.
Mack rang the changes. Stumo and Gav on for the tiring Hutch and the slightly off-key Farny, followed soon after by AG for Smalls. And we at last began to force the pace.
A man for all seasons...nearly
Stumo was thwarted by Milnes as was Bezza as suddenly we looked like snatching a winner. More fluent approach play, a ball whipped into the box, bounces up, hits an outstretched arm and most of the 56 spectators plus eleven lads in green & gold plead with Mr Brumpton for a second penalty. Waved away.
Into injury time and - as Dooley points out - "we'll get one more chance". We do. A corner, not dealt with, drops to Chav about twelve yards out to the left of goal; he connects sweetly on the volley and the ball is top corner bound...only for Milnes to somehow get up and claw it away to safety. The chance has gone.
Hope the Swedish Branch of the Ezzie SC were impressed!
Ironically the end of the game is accompanied by the best of the weather and it's gloriously sunny walk back to the Granby for Elder Slushette and me, my mood tempered only by the frustration of this result and news of The Tigers' drawing a blank at home to Watford.
Thankfully awaiting me in the pub is a fine pint of Great Newsome Harvest's Gold, with post-match burger and chips helping alleviate the slightly melancholy feel. A couple of these and I'm already looking forward (or "forrad" as we say in these parts) to next week's first visit to Watnall Road, home of AFC Hucknall Town, a team that is already starting to attract much interest on the message boards - and a lot of it from before a ball had even been kicked. Check back next week to find out why...
Thanks to Burt for the camera work