Home league match played on 26 October 2014.
Kicked off at 10:30 AM

Despite manager Cashen’s request for an early arrival, Greshams straggled to the Club in their usual desultory fashion. However a move to changing room 3 shook things up a bit and there were some new faces in the squad as Cashen named the team which was Rob in Goals; along the back, Phil, Greg, Potter and Cash; in midfield, Ollie, Sam, Rob and Matt; and up front Meng, making his competitive debut, and Steve Norfolk, with Harry and Emy on the bench. The photogenic squad of 13 took their turns to be photographed on their way out to the pitch by Secretary Potter to satisfy the ridiculous requirements of the Suffolk FA.

After a decent warm up and a long pep talk from the referee, the game finally got under way. The early exchanges went Wellington’s way, due to their simple but effective tactic of hoofing the ball forward for their extremely rapid number 11 to chase. In one early attack the Wellington striker clearly handled the ball, unseen by the referee, causing Neil Potter to get characteristically frustrated and concede a free kick for dissent!!!! This was to be Potter’s final contribution as, perhaps because of the fast start, he pulled his hamstring and had to limp off, being replaced by Harry. This meant that Greshams have now had more centre half pairings this season than Man Utd, but Manager ‘Van Gaal’ Cashen was comfortable with the straight swap of bringing Harry in at centre half rather than shuffling the team around.

Having survived the opening period thanks to some decent saves by Rob, Greshams began to grow in to the game. They were passing the ball well among themselves with some of the football being a pleasure to watch, and they really should have taken the lead when a great move ended with the ball being played to Matt, free in the box. However Matt was unable to quite get the power or placement required and the keeper was able to make a comfortable save. Greshams might also have had a penalty when Meng was challenged in the box but perhaps he collapsed rather too theatrically leading the ref to believe there was no foul.

It was rather against the run of play that Greshams went behind. The veteran left back Cashen, chasing back towards his own goal, should have simply hoofed the ball in to touch. However he chose instead to swivel and try to clear the ball which went straight to the Wellington winger. His first time ball found the striker in the box who produced a great turn to beat Phil and lashed the ball into the net giving Rob no chance.

Undeterred however, Greshams were continuing to play their football with Rob linking play excellently between midfield and attack. Greshams got their deserved equaliser and it started from a familiar source, a short ball rolled from Rob to Cash. Cash’s ball down the line was excellently controlled by Steve Norfolk and played infield and from this, a sweeping passing move culminated in Rob receiving the ball from Meng in the box, and placing it brilliantly into the roof of the net from 12 yards out, a great team goal.

Half time Greshams 1 AFC Little Wellington 1

Greshams had more then held their own against the league leaders and it was a very positive half time team talk. In the second half Greshams continued to deal with everything Wellington could produce – which was still restricted to long punts in the main – while playing some great stuff of their own. After about 15 minutes of the half, Greshams went ahead and it was another great goal. Meng was fouled just outside the box, in a perfect position for a left footed strike, which led to Cashen sizing up the opportunity, to the derision of his team mates. However it was Rob Minns who took control of the situation and struck the ball sweet as you like, left footed in to the top corner!

With the lead secured, Greshams began to play deeper and deeper as Wellington tried to apply some pressure. However, Wellington remained quite one dimensional and Harry, and especially Greg, were doing a brilliant job of containing the pacey striker. Emy replaced Phil with Ollie dropping to right back and immediately Emy’s pace and energy caused problems, with his closing down of the defender very nearly getting him a free run on goal on one occasion. Greshams were looking good from Matt’s excellent corners as well with Sam being unlucky on one occasion not to be able to get his header on target. One move down the left saw a great link between Norfolk and Cashen leading to a great cross, but unfortunately Norfolk, having played the ball to Cash, was not in the box to get on the end of it!!

As the minutes ticked away Wellington should have equalised when their winger, on as a sub, found himself absolutely free a yard out with the goal at his mercy. However perhaps he was distracted by the significant yellow and black shape of Rob hurtling over to make the block, and could only direct the ball over the bar.

Sadly however Greshams were just unable to see the game out. Wellington had created very little from open play and Rob had had very little to do in the second half. So it was no surprise when it was a set play that gave them a way back in to the game. A rather soft free kick was awarded 30 yards out and the Wellington midfielder floated in a lovely ball which was begging to be stuck in to the net which, unfortunately it was, as Greshams stood and watched rather than attacking the ball. Conceding the goal seemed to take a weight off Greshams however and they went back to their passing game, though without being able to fashion a clear chance as the game ran out a draw.

Full time: Greshams 2 Little Wellington 2

Man of the Match

It’s always difficult to select an individual after such a good team performance. Greshams proved right throughout the team that they can be a match for the league leaders. Indeed on the balance of play Greshams would more than have deserved all three points. From the hard work and great play of the strikers, through an industrious and creative midfield, to a back five who really defended as a unit, this was a performance which Greshams will hope now to build on. However, a Man of the Match has to be chosen and the bubbly this week goes to Rob Minns for a great performance capped by two fantastic goals. Well played indeed mate.

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