It was another glorious summer’s day for the Mansfield Sunday League equivalent of the LDV Vans trophy. Manq, chasing an elusive “Treble” was determined to take the competition seriously, and when asked before the game on his plans, he was quoted as saying “I’m determined to take the competition seriously”
I was undecided as to go the game or not (cricket was on you see), but after asking the audience I was tempted into it, and by jolly I made the correct choice, as I joined the other loyal fans for one of the longest journeys in the football Calendar. Lurcher may have thrashed the Bridge 7-2 on the opening day of the season, but it wasn’t putting the loyal fans of from traveling.
Basked in ret hot sunshine, me and Bread arrived at the ground well after the others had, but seeing as though we had the kit, who cares? Manq was just about to take half a dozen others into the showers to decide on the formation. God knows what happened in there, but a move back to the good old days of 4-4-2 was decided with some hugely controversial selection decisions. Ashley was moved to right back, Kirk dropped into the centre of defence, whilst Adam was preferred on the right wing, Gav was welcomed back on the Left Wing, with Bread, Scott and Garlic making up the subs bench.
Team: Lormor, Ashley, Quiche, Kirk, Mellors, Jay, Gav, Adam, Danny, Manq, Gallagher, subs: Bread, Scott, Garlick.
Once the team was announced, it was time to unpack the players kit, luckily the dry cleaners had managed to get all the shirts in the bag, as well as Lormor’s underpants and other items of clothing he sneaked in from last week, once that was completed, it was time for all supporters to pinch a chair from the club house and head onto the side of the pitch, much the same as we’d done for the league encounter, a bit of DejaVu if you like (now where have I heard that name before?)
There was a minutes silence held for the Remembrance Sunday which was superbly observed by all fans and supporters, prior to the game getting underway. The first action of the game saw Ashley launch a clearance straight into the Robin Hood Pub car park, which wouldn’t have been so bad, but to get there, the ball must have crossed 2 side streets and a main carriageway, before coming to rest.
The home side started the brighter of the 2 sides, although it was the Bridge that created the first chance of the game on 9 minutes. A long kick from Lormor was flicked on by Jay which in turn found Manq in acres of space and bearing down on goal, unfortunately his shot also found its way over the bar as the keeper advanced.
Quiche contributed to the home teams first venture into the Bridge area, as he hammered a back pass to Lormor, luckily the only outcome was a throw in.
The same Bridge defender then fouled a rampaging striker, and just to ensure he stayed fouled, Quiche tried to stand on him, much to the visiting supporters delight.
Gav made his mark on the game shortly after with some lovely silky skills, before passing to Jay and then receiving the return pass, only for the keeper to tip his stinging drive over the bar. From the resulting corner, Jay took the kick which very nearly ended up going straight in, and as the Bridge pressed, Manq found himself in on goal again after confusing a defender, only to go round the keeper, round the post twice and nip round the back of the changing rooms, before being tackled by the last defender.
It was good pressure from the Bridge at this point, so it was something of a disappointment when the home side went in front against the run of play. The first corner for Lurcher was swung in and Lormor went to punch the ball out, but missed and connected with the back of the strikers head, unfortunately the front of the strikers head connected with the ball and it was 1-0 to the home side.
This seemed to lift the home side and they pressed for a second goal, one of the home strikers tried a Brazilian overhead kick which Lormor stood up and saved, whilst Kirk who was organizing the defence well, came to the rescue with a fine saving tackle to preserve just the one goal decefit. Following another corner, Lormor saved well, however the offside flag had gone up so it wasn’t worth a mention.
Sisson showed class a while after as he made a chance out of nothing, however his pass to the striker resulted in Lormor saving the resulting effort. Ashley also made a great challenge to keep the strikers at bay, whilst relief for the defenders came firstly in the form of Manq who shot wide from the edge of the area, following another long goal kick, and shortly after Jay got fouled on the edge of the home area.
This was my first chance today to use the movie recording feature on the camera, and in my haste to record the free kick, I missed who took it, and also ended up filming the water bottles as I nearly fell off my chair trying to write the information down (I’m not getting paid for these reports, so what do you want, accuracy??), as it was, the kick was well saved anyway.
Danny brought Sisson down on the edge of the Bridge area, to which Kirk came to the rescue again by heading of the line. The home side however were not to be denied and went further ahead on the stroke of half time, when another free kick was pumped into the area and promptly neatly headed in by the number 8 into the onion bag, why the home side can’t use netting I’ll never know. A 2-0 half time scoreline was very harsh on the Bridge who had created the better chances.
The half time teamtalk was constructive if nothing else, Kirk informed the side that the Bridge only needed to score two goals to get the score back to 2-2 (no shit… shirlock)
Manq received a phone call just after the 2nd half got underway, informing him of a gas leak and using Kirk’s thesis it must have been somewhere in a gas pipe, resulting in the player manager having to nip off to put a cork in the leak, little did he know his team would go on to do him proud and put up their best 2nd half display for a long time. Gallagher set the tone with an effort that went just wide, just before Scott came on for Manq, although there was confusion as the referee firstly thought Manq was just waving at him, and then Scott didn’t know if he was to play up front or not. In the confusion, there were plenty of tactical changes, but I lost track of them and thought better of writing them down. The Bridge were pressing and creating chances galore, Adam played in Jay, but the advancing keeper snuffed out that threat. More pressure saw Ashley way too far forward, and with his back to goal and the crowd baying for a goal, he squared to Jay, but again the home keeper saved.
Ashley then made way for Bread, whilst shortly afterwards,
Adam made way for Garlick. Gav put a lovely ball into Jay who crossed in for Danny to fall over a defenders thigh, and the shouts of penalty were waved away, Jay tested the keeper again and it started to look like the Bridge would never score.
However, the home side were to have a great chance to kill the game completely, when Quiche produced a lovely rugby tackle to stop the striker scoring, and was promptly booked and informed he was playing football not rugger. Lormer though, produced an outstanding penalty save (Video Here), and the follow up was also cleared away. Quiche by now was borrowing a calculator to see how much overtime he had to do, to pay his fines. The Bridge were back on top though, and following a great through ball by Mellors, Danny put the ball over the bar when he should have at least tested the keeper. At last though, the pressure was telling, and once Gallagher had danced his way through the defence, and rounded the keeper, only to be felled by the keepers hand, Gav stood up to take the penalty and scored (Video Here), this brought the crowd to life, and the Bridge smelt blood, and Danny brought them level a few minutes later, latching on to Jay’s lovely through ball. Now it was game on, unfortunately the Bridge probably pushed up a little too far, and were punished just three minutes after pulling level, a long kick from the keeper was smashed home by a forward running on to it.
The Bridge had to fight back again, Scott played in Gav whose left foot shot sailed over in what was to prove the last chance for the visitors. Mellors went down injured shortly after, no one rushed to his aid, so he got up again, which is where the final whistle went.
The Bridge certainly didn’t deserve to lose the game, and after having nowt to do for 5 minutes, I counted up just how many chances they missed in the game, there were 18 attempts on goal from the Bridge, of which 8 were on target and 10 off target, a measure of the chances they created. Great game though, and there were certainly more positives to be taken out of the game than negatives. Well done all players.
Jay won the supporters player of the match.