It was a glorious autumn morning for a game of football as Greshams congregated at the Club. However, their pre match preparations were thrown into confusion when Manager Cashen realised he had forgotten his pants. Bravely deciding to carry on and play regardless in his Sunday Best boxers, Cashen named the team which was Rob in goals; a familiar back four of Froudy, Groggy, Hamblin and Cash; in midfield Gareth, Sam, Matt and Nathan; with Emy and Norfolk up front and Tom and Ollie on the bench.
Hardy FC were a completely unknown quantity, never having played Greshams before. However Greshams paid them scant respect as they started the game extremely well. With Froudy and Gareth looking particularly dangerous down the right Greshams were causing all sorts of problems and it was all they deserved when they took an early lead. Another move down the right saw Gareth feed the ball to Matt on the edge of the box. Rather than go for power, Matt just stroked the ball into the bottom corner giving the keeper no chance - a great finish. Soon after Greshams added a second. In what would become a familiar pattern of play, Emy burst into action down the right as quick as a Romanian chasing a benefits cheque. He got to the bye line and cut a perfect ball across to Norfolk, who forced the ball into the net via the legs of the stumbling Hardy keeper.
With an early two goal cushion, Greshams for the only time in the match took their foot off the gas a little and allowed Hardy to have a bit more of the ball. However, Rob had no serious saves to make and other than having to defend a couple of corners, Greshams rarely looked under real threat. They should have added a third when Nathan, undone by his own pace, arrived before the ball for what should have been a tap in but ended with him stumbling in comic fashion over the ball. However they did add a third before half time with another Emy - Norfolk combination. This time there seemed nothing on as Emy controlled a bouncing ball with his back to the goal. However he hit an overhead cross which landed perfectly for Norfolk to control, pivot, and lash into the net.
Half Time Greshams 3 Hardy FC 0
Greshams were forced into an early change in the second half when Sam, going in slightly high on the man mountain that was the Hardy striker, unsurprisingly came off second best and was unable to carry on. This led to a welcome return for Ollie at right back with Froud going to partner Matt in the middle of the park.
Before long Greshams were adding further goals. For their fourth, Steve Norfolk played in Emy who beat the offside and dinked a perfect little lob over the advancing keeper for a well deserved goal. Next it was a delighted Steve Norfolk who completed his hat trick, and it was no surprise that the goal followed the familiar pattern of a close range finish following a cross from the right from Emy. Emy was the provider for the next goal as well, this time the scorer being Nathan. In truth Nathan looked as if he may have spurned the chance but twisted and turned in the area to find space for the shop and thumped the ball home.
At this point Norfolk left the field to a deserved ovation from the stands to allow Tom Cashen to enter the fray, Tom's first involvement being a goalmouth scramble where he was just unable to force the ball home. However with the Hardy heads now having dropped into their boots, Greshams continued to press for more goals and Emy added a quick fire double, first assisted by Gareth and then by Nathan. The Romanian Exocet had completed his first hat trick for Greshams and Cashen made use of the rolling subs situation to allow Emy to enjoy the adulation of the crowd as he left the pitch to be replaced by Norfolk.
Steve Norfolk had been disappointed not to score a header to make a perfect hat trick but virtually his first involvement on coming back on was to thump a header from a Steve Froud corner into the back of the net, leading to a rapturous celebration from Froudy as at last one of his set piece deliveries was converted into a goal!
With the game still in the balance in the 90th minute, Manager Cashen wanted to avoid penalties and decided to play himself a little further forward. Tom fed a defence splitting ball through to Matt who found himself one on one with the keeper and with Cashen in acres of space to his left. Very unselfishly Matt, hearing the slightly desperate and plaintive note in Cashen's call for the ball, chose to play the pass rather than shoot. With visions of all sorts of embarrassing calamities going through his head Cashen calmed himself, took a touch, and passed the ball into the empty net. The delighted veteran's first goal in several years put the the cherry on the icing on a very sweet tasting Greshams cake, the only disappointment being that Nana Potter was not present to witness a famous victory and join the pantless Cashen in his goal celebrations.
Final Score Greshams 10 Hardy 0
Man of the match
This was a great team performance and it was pleasing to see Greshams playing football the right way and continuing to press for more goals even when the result wasn't in doubt. There are several contenders for Man of the Match. Cashen, for the decisive tenth goal as the match hung in the balance. Norfolk for four well taken goals. However the bubbly this week has to go to Emy. The Romanian Exocet gave an all action display, never let the Hardy defence settle, and showed great pace and no little skill. He was involved in seven of the goals with three goals and four assists and is a thoroughly deserved winner of the award this week. Well played indeed 'mate'!!!!!!