After another mid winter break, and after a temporary relocation of their home fixtures to Gainsborough, Greshams were finally back to the familiar surroundings of the Tuddenham Road Ground for the clash with Holbrook Swans. With the team having a 100% win record since the New Year, and everyone from the last game available, manager Cashen was able to name an unchanged side, a rare luxury indeed in Sunday morning football. After a late arrival from Rob and Froudy, who surely deserve a Club fine for their antics the night before a big game, the team was formally announced as: Rob in goals; a back four of Froudy Greg Hamblin and Harry; in midfield Emy Sam Rob Minns and Matt; and up front Meng and Norfolk, leaving Manager Cashen able to watch on from the bench and influence the game with his tactical acumen.
Despite a couple of weeks off, Greshams were soon in to their stride, with some of the passing a pleasure to watch, although it has to be admitted that the man in possession was under very little pressure from Swans, whose performance was as anaemic as their washed out grey shirts. It was no surprise when Greshams took an early lead, although the goal had a little good fortune about it. A diagonal ball from Rob Minns was intended for Meng on the edge of the 'D'. Meng missed the ball completely, this seemed to flummox a couple of defenders who also watched the ball roll by, and eventually it found its way through to Emy, who took it on for a couple of strides before lashing it confidently across the keeper and in to the net.
Greshams continued to have easily the lion's share of possession , with Rob in their goal a literal spectator who had barely touched the ball. Greshams soon added a second when Matt knocked over a high ball which looked a bit of a hopeful punt but was turned into a great assist when Norfolk darted in, beat the keeper to the ball and knocked it in from an acute angle. A great little finish from the striker.
It was clear that the only real danger for Greshams was complacency as a couple of chances came and went but just before half time they added a third, with Norfolk once again involved. This time his header across the goal landed at the feet of the unmarked Meng, who lashed it in to the roof of the net from point blank range.
Half time Greshams 3 Swans 0
Manager Cashen decided to give himself a run out in the second half and replaced skipper Steve Hamblin, who had barely raised a sweat so comfortable had things been at the back for Greshams. However, the change seemed to unsettle Greshams as the first ten minutes of the second half were poor, not helped by the fact that they were now playing in to a deceptively strong breeze. However, while Greshams were frustratingly careless in possession, Swans were not able to capitalise, and Rob's involvement was limited to punching clear a couple of high balls hoofed in to the box.
As the half wore on, Greshams began to reassert themselves and added a fourth when once again Norfolk provided a headed assist. This time it was Matt, a player in a fine run of goalscoring form, who benefited, scoring with a fine finish from a very acute angle.
As the game wore on, last night's excesses were catching up with Froudy, who seemed to forget that Greshams were playing in Blue, and directed every pass unerringly to an opposition player.
Despite their erratic right back however, Greshams were now dominant, and Emy was really unlucky when a brilliant diving header was somehow saved by the keeper, scrambling across his goal. Greshams 5th came when Meng hit a fine shot from the edge of the area. It was heading goalwards but as it went through his legs, the arch poacher Norfolk flicked out a cheeky little heel to divert it into the back of the net. This was a well deserved goal for Norfolk who was to be twice denied a hat trick opportunity - once by the referee, who failed to play advantage when Norfolk was clean through on goal; and once by Emy, who got in his way when he had a free header at the far post.
As the final whistle went Greshams could celebrate a fifth win out of five in 2015. With 15 points on the board, and a maximum of 24 needed to win the league (in the unlikely event of Feathers winning all their remaining fixtures) Greshams realistically need two more wins as they enter squeaky bum time, the run in to the end of a season that could end their long wait for some silverware.
Man of the Match
With two goals and two assists Steve Norfolk is the deserving recipient of the Laurent Perrier this week. Norfolk's all round contribution was immense and it is a shame that he was robbed of the opportunity of the hat trick that his performance deserved. Well played mate.