Sunday morning saw Greshams make a trek to the delightful surroundings of Eastwards Ho in Felixstowe, complete with communal changing rooms. Fortunately the weather was kind, with just bracing cold and a moderate gale to contend with, rather than the usual arctic chill and full force hurricane.
With more or less a full squad to choose from, there was some surprise in the changing room as manager Cashen started with the following line up: Josh between the sticks, back four of Rob, Newts, Hamblin and Tommo; midfield of Matt, JP, Neil Potter and Froudy; Rob up front with Tom Cashen in the Messi 'false 9' position. This left the veteran player manager as sub, together with Cookie, whose reaction to being left on the bench was exemplary. 'you drag me all the way to this crap heap' he complained,'only to leave me on the bench!'.
The game got under way after a brief delay and it was clear from the outset that this would be a scrappy affair with the elements playing a part. Luckily it was Greshams who made the early breakthrough. Tommo fed Froudy down the right and a bit of wizardry saw Froudy get to the bye line. He then sent in a cross cum shot that fortunately sailed, wind assisted, over the keeper and into the net.
Not much later it was two as Rob played the ball to Tom on the edge of the box. Tom turned, jinked to beat the defender, and lashed it home with his left foot.
At this point the lead flattered Greshams somewhat as they had not been anywhere near the top of their game. They had to be thankful for some wasteful finishing from Feathers, together with some benign refereeing when Newts seemed to clearly foul the Feathers striker in the box.
However, as the half meandered on, Greshams struck once more. This time it was all down to great work from JP in the centre circle as he juggled the ball round the opposition midfield before finding the perfect pass to release Rob. For once the flag stayed down and Rob ran on to go round the keeper and finish left footed.
Although Greshams hadn't played well, on the balance of chances, the score didn't flatter them. Indeed, they could have scored 6 or 7, with Matt and Tom Cashen both culpable of some misses. They would definitely have scored from Neil Potter's effort, had Tommo not inexplicably decided to help the goal bound effort into the net with a blatant handball. Tommo was booked for his trouble, but did the team a favour by saving them from having to listen to Potter talk interminably about the brilliance of his goal scoring prowess.
The half time team talk was all about maintaining and improving standards. With Tony feeling his back and Matt returning from a hamstring injury they were replaced by Cashen and - with a point to prove to the management team - Cookie.
Whether the substitutions unsettled Greshams, or whether they were caught out by Feathers' change to a loose 4-2-4 formation, Greshams started the half in gruesome style. Within ten minutes they found conceded two. First the attacker just somehow broke free to finish with some aplomb. The second was entirely self inflicted. Rob had dropped deep to pick up the ball but instead of clear it or pass it, he elected to beat one man, two, three, dither, shimmy, and finally lose the ball altogether. The attacker won the ball and raced towards the area where he was brought down by Rob - but outside the box, surely ref??? No - penalty is the decision and the kick just snuck under the body of the unlucky Josh.
Fortunately for Greshams this provided the wake up call they needed and they finally began to play with more conviction. They got their reward when Froudy pulled the ball back to Rob who finished confidently to give Greshams a more comfortable 2 goal advantage.
The game then ran to its conclusion and the best that could be said for it is that Greshams picked up the three points. The conditions made the game very difficult, there was some rustiness from not playing for a few weeks, the opposition were awkward, so all in all, a satisfactory result if not performance.
Man of the Match
A difficult one. Tommo is a contender for ensuring that Neil Potter didn't score. Rob's two goals would normally force him into contention, but his calamitous contribution to the Feathers' second goal loses him critical marks.
Having had a week to contemplate it, the bubbly is awarded to Froudy for a goal and yet another assist and a performance slightly above the level of his team mates!!!