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Sun 18th November 2012 - Shield
Brewood Juniors 2 V 2 U17
Pitch :
Match Report


"And so it came pass that 16 Four Oaks lads,

Traveled up the A5 highway along with Moms and Dads,

To a boy they knew the score, they had to win the game,

If they were not to quake with fear beneath the tree of  shame!"



 Today the Nags Head regulars enjoyed a jolly boys outing to watch Del boy, Rodney and the groovy gang take on Brewood in a Rombouts Shield match set in a faraway, picturesque village overlooked by an imposing church steeple in true Midsomer Murders tradition. The weather was dry and bright with just a hint of wintry crispness to remind us that Christmas is on its merry way and there was a fantastic away following  amongst the crowd of 29. It was good to note that fame has not turned Briggsy's head after his storming performance with the Strangers last week although we were warned by his entourage not to make eye contact.....


 With Carl busy keeping the wheels of industry turning it was left to Pete to train the team in midweek and it was interesting to see the results as the lads tried out a pre match war dance designed to intimidate our opponents and to give us that vital psychological advantage. Sadly although we tried hard our performance of the Hokey Cokey failed to achieve the desired effect with our back four failing to step up as one, the midfield getting their lefts and rights muddled and our strikers forgetting to shake it all about. Maybe next week we should try Morris dancing if Steve can remember the steps….


For once we had a full squad of players which gave the Lone Ranger and Tonto a selection headache but they eventually settled on a team which included the return of jet-heeled Rob on the right wing. This meant they had to erect temporary speed cameras on the sidelines to make sure he didn't break any local by-laws. As usual our opponents were bigger than us and it was clear that we would have to be at our best to stay in this competition. No way were we going to lose the lead again or let their star player run the show....or would we?


 The coaches had obviously weaved their magic and within 3 minutes Pavan had given us the lead with a brilliant long range shot which gave their keeper no chance. We went on to dominate the opening exchanges much as we did against Lea Hall in the previous game. Ping Pong champion Olly, Pavan and Rob in particular were causing problems down the right hand side and it was encouraging to see Harry approaching his leg-biting best in the heart of midfield. We produced some exhilarating  passing moves and looked dangerous without creating  many clear cut chances apart from Sam who headed just wide from a corner. However, for the second game running we lost concentration and allowed our opponents a soft equaliser which prompted Carl to ask us what we'd fed our boys on. At this point I was beginning to wonder if my Nick's all day breakfast, cream cake and pint of Abbot en-route had been a wise move.  In spite of this set back we continued to press with Pavan and James both coming close to scoring. Sadly our defence was looking fragile and Mat the Cat had to stay alert at all times. Happily with half time approaching Pavan produced another moment of magic when he received a pass just outside the area and thundered in another unstoppable shot to give us a 2-1 lead which we kept until half-time.


It was difficult to gauge whether Dr Evil and Mini Me were happy with the first half performance given that they share just the one expression between them on match days but the fans had been  entertained and that's the main thing! The initial second half signs were good and James shot just over before we dozed off again at the back to almost lose an equaliser. We immediately retaliated and the energetic Alex put over a fantastic deep cross which found Nick at the far post. With your reporter's heart in his mouth the left winger brought the ball under control but could only blast the ball over and wide from a tight angle. This was as close as we were to come as Brewood stepped up their work-rate and started to put us under pressure. Once again they had an influential player in midfield who we were not coping with and they soon made it 2-2 with a thumping volley well out of Mat's reach.


 With both teams chasing a vital match winning goal the game became very open and although we had plenty of the ball we repeatedly failed to pull the trigger when we had the chance. Brewood on the other hand were more direct and as the final whistle approached we were grateful to Mat who made two fantastic blocks to keep us in the game. By the end of the match we were clinging on for the draw which we just about deserved on the balance of play over the whole 70 minutes.


As the boys sat under the tree of shame it was clear that they had displeased their masters and I approached Carl with some trepidation for his post match comments, “We took our feet off the peddle again” he growled with the merest hint of frustration in his voice. “Try to see it my way; do I have to keep on talking till I can’t go on? Think about what I’m saying, we can work it out and get it straight or say goodnight, we can work it, we can work it out” As I was trying to take his words in Pete passed by and commented that “life is very short and there’s no time for fussing and fighting my friend, I have always thought that it’s a crime” So many words of wisdom those two, almost lyrical at times…..


In summary this game was a repeat of last weeks match. In both games we started well, passed the ball confidently and took the lead. In both games we kept falling asleep at the back and conceded silly goals out of the blue and in both games we allowed our opponents best player the freedom of the park. I am sure Carl will agree that there were some good elements in our performance once he comes out of counselling but it is clear that our defence needs to be tightened up. Had Mat the cat not been on top form in the second half we would surely have lost. On the plus side we again played some excellent football, scored two delightful goals and I had a nice Sunday dinner when I got home. Speaking of dinners, Mat the Cat will have enjoyed his Sunday meal of Whiskers and milk as he celebrated his second man of the match award of the season. He would be the first to thank his defence for giving him plenty of opportunity to shine!


In closing I am sure nobody needs reminding that The Strangers are performing for us this coming Friday in THE social event of the year. This promises to be a very special occasion as we thunder relentlessly on towards our fund raising target for the German cultural exchange. I know you will all dig deep to purchase bucket loads of raffle tickets as there are dozens of prizes to be won. These include a two hour lecture on my recent Egyptian holidays complete with a slide-show of over 300 photographs, a copy of my wife's new book “Living with my perfect man”, a nice manly scarf donated by Rob Briggs, two tickets to see “I’m better than that because I’ve got energy” which is an operatic version of Carl’s life story and a self-portrait of Pete painted with watercolours. I am also hoping to donate my own book all about Nick losing his table tennis trophy; it’s called “No son of mine”. It’s a thousand pages give or take a few, I’ll be writing more in a week or two, if you really like it you can have the rights. It could make a million for you overnight!


 Immediately after the raffle draw Steve and myself are going to re-create Pete and Carl’s half time team talks through the medium of mime and  Pete in particular is looking forward to the creation of a Mosh Pit for the second half of the show. We were in fact going to make it a nineties fancy dress party but I don’t see why I should update my wardrobe just for one night……


PS  After the game Uncle Rai collared me for a man to man talk. “ Rob” he said, his eyes soft with sorrow, “ I'm desperate to be a linesman but Ali keeps beating me to it no matter how hard I try, what shall I do?”  I could see he was upset and being a caring sort of person I replied “leave it to me big man, I'll have a word with Tarzan and Jane and make sure you get your opportunity next week” His little face immediately broke into a huge smile which seemed to light up the entire skyline, “Thanks, you're a real pal” he said as he bounded off to speed out of the car park with no hesitation . It gave me a warm glow to know I had helped Rai out in his hour of need and I'm sure we are all looking forward to seeing him perform with the flag next week........


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