It was another glorious day for a game of football as Greshams met up at the Tuddenham Road Ground. A few regulars were missing, which meant the Academy were selected in the match day squad for the first time this season. However they were delayed en route due to Snelly having to refuel with a quick McBreakfast, leaving Cashen to announce a starting 11 of Rob in goals; Harry, Steve, a surprise selection of the Hunn joining Steve at centre half, and Cash at left back; in midfield Ash, Froudy, Sam and Nathan; with up front last week's hat trick hero Norfolk and the returning Meng, with the recovering Emy on the bench.
In a foreshadowing of the lunchtime Merseyside derby, it was the blues of Greshams against the red of Capel. Capel had a full complement of 5 subs and were keen and clearly a decent side. They came out of the blocks quickly, but before long, Greshams began to take a measure of control and took the sting out of Capel. With the Hunn dominant at centre half, Capel were unable to create any clear opportunities, their pacy striker springing the offside on just one occasion only to be foiled by the onrushing Rob. Other than this Capel's only effort of note was a tamely struck free kick which Rob gathered with ease.
At the other end, however, Greshams were creating chances and could and should have taken the lead. There were decent performances all over the park with the combinations of Harry and Ash, and Cashen and Nathan, linking up well to create opportunities while Froudy was proving a creative spark in the centre. Sam was at his hard working best and laying a platform for Greshams attacking play. Up front both Meng and Norfolk were showing great touch and confidence on the ball. Unfortunately the final ball was going astray too often due to poor ution or poor decision making. However Greshams were having some sights of goal and Meng crafter a great opportunity for himself with some lovely skill before blazing wildly off target. But possibly the best opportunity fell to Froudy. Showing great skill in midfield he wisely ignored some team mates who were offside and burst through himself to find himself one on one with the keeper. However going for placement with a side footed effort Froudy leaned back and sent the ball well over the bar.
Half time Greshams 0 Capel 0
Although the half time team talk was positive, shortly after the restart, Greshams found themselves two down. First, Hunn conceded a free kick right on the edge of the box. The ball was squared and a rather soft shot came in. Rob however was unsighted and could not get across in time as he ball trickled apologetically in to the net. Minutes later the tall and pacy Capel striker managed to get away from Hunn for the only time in the match. He rounded Rob and stuck the ball in the net despite the efforts of Cashen to get back and cover.
Cashen's response was to immediately summon Emy from the bench and within minutes the Romanian missile found Greshams a way back in to the match. Emy seemed to have lost control of the ball as he charged into the area but as he did so he was flattened from behind in the clumsiest of manners giving the ref no option but to award the pen. The Hunn, in confident mood, sprinted forward from centre half to claim the spot kick and delivered it hard into the top left corner despite the keeper, in a valiant effort, getting a glove on it.
This goal proved the momentum changer in the game and while strangely Greshams football was not as good as in the first half they suddenly found themselves in the ascendancy with Emy a constant threat. They drew level through Norfolk. The Hunn had been playing some great passes from deep and thumped one over the top for Norfolk to run on to. However rather than close in on goal Norfolk instead took the ball first time hitting a fabulous dipping half volley that looped perfectly over the keeper before swooping under the bar for a superb goal.
Greshams then went in search of a winner and found it in a possibly even better goal than Norfolk's strike. Greshams won a free kick in the centre circle which Cashen played short to Hunn who advanced down the left before hitting in a cross. It wasn't the best cross but was retrieved by Meng who returned it in to the box towards Nathan. Nathan didn't think twice, he just hammered the ball on the half volley and it flew into the top corner giving the keeper absolutely no chance, another fabulous finish.
As the clock ticked down, Ash replaced the tiring Harry. Both teams then had chances to score. The Capel striker just got away from the Hunn who was snapping at his heels and perhaps lucky not to commit a foul. The ball went across to the other Capel striker who had defenders in attendance but all the same should have done better than send it over the bar from close range in scenes reminiscent of Rob Minns' miss a few weeks ago. Then for Greshams, a great cross found Norfolk who headed it back across the goal for the onrushing Emy, who somehow from point blank range headed the ball wide when it looked easier to score.
Although Greshams showed a rather frustrating unwillingness to run down the clock, the closing minutes passed with no real threat from Capel and Greshams ran out winners of a great contest.
Man of the Match
Rather a cliche but the whole team are candidates this week, with the possible exception of Rob who didn't have too much to do - strangely for an open contest neither keeper was really tested. Greshams functioned really well as units, the back four was solid, the wide midfielders a constant threat while the industry and defensive work of Sam complemented the creativity of Froudy in the middle of the park. The two strikers were a constant threat with some very unselfish running in the channels. However a MoM has to be chosen and went to a vote of the match day squad. In second place was the Hunn for an assured display out of position at centre half, but the vote for the Moet goes to Froudy, for a brilliant display in centre midfield, both being creative and disrupting the opposition's attacks. Very well played indeed mate.