Following last weeks disappointing result Greshams were back on the road with a trip to Chantry Park, which is always something to look forward to. The opposition were Ipswich Bulls who have been regular opponents over the last few years and the games have generally been very tight.
It was the same starting eleven for Greshams, however in a first for this season they actually had three substitutes. With Steve B and Steve N, both available for the first time this season, and Beardo on the sidelines it meant Greshams would have plenty of attacking options should they need them. As it was Remembrance Sunday there was a minute's silence before the game which was well observed.
Greshams started the game well, whilst the sticky pitch didn't make passing easy, they soon got used to the conditions and had several promising moves. As usual the threat out wide from Dave and Julian were causing the opposition problems, and it was from one of these breaks that Greshams opened the scoring.
Julian made a run down the left hand side, he raced past one sliding defender and entered the penalty area. Another defender rashly slid in and just as Julian was hurdling his challenge he remembered he was our penalty taker, which resulted in him tumbling to the ground. Despite efforts from the Bulls players to distract him Julian dispatched the ball to the goalkeepers right, giving him no chance.
Greshams continued to play some good football and were remaining solid at the back. As it was a small pitch Kevin and Justin had to deal with plenty of high balls which they did effectively. Whilst not required to make too many saves Ashley was decisive in collecting crosses and overall there were not too many alarms for the Greshams back line.
Half-time saw the introduction of Steve Burton for Jon who had suffered a double dirty knees and shorts injury and therefore couldn't carry on. With Luke moving back into midfield Steve partnered Barry up front, and immediately impressed with some strong running and an assured touch on the tricky surface.
Shortly into the second half Dave made another break down the right hand side. In anticipation of what was coming the Greshams strikers didn't bother getting into the box as Dave floated his cross over the goalkeepers head and into the far corner of the net. This was identical to his goal against Hatfield Maintenance and the worry is that if Dave ever learns how to cross the ball correctly his goal tally will fall dramatically.
Only a couple of minutes later Greshams further extended their lead. A ball over the top saw both Ali and Barry racing clear of the static Bulls defence. With the ball bouncing Barry calmly lobbed it over the advancing goalkeeper. From the sidelines this looked a surprisingly assured finish, however in his post match interview Barry confessed that as he and Ali were both going for the ball Ali had booted the back of his foot which then inadvertently made contact with the ball and sent it looping over the stranded keeper.
Whilst possession was equally shared Greshams never looked in any real trouble at the back and indeed looked the more likely to score. With twenty minutes remaining a double substitution saw Beardo and Steve Norfolk enter the fray with Barry and Phil departing. Greshams now had a double Steve attack which it is hoped may cause confusion for opposition defences.
Greshams continued to look dangerous going forward and Beardo was almost on the scoresheet. A good move from Greshams saw a cross being played in from the left hand side, Beardo was steaming in from his right wing position but somehow couldn't make contact with his head.
With only a few minutes remaining and the game coming to a comfortable end, Ali decided to liven things up a bit by giving Bulls a penalty. In a move worthy of Neil at his finest, he first swiped the legs of a Bulls player who was sent to the floor. Then, when the referee awarded the penalty Ali loudly demanded an explanation for this inexplicable decision.
The Bulls player converted the penalty however Greshams easily saw out the remainder of the match to get back to winning ways. It was a good three points for Greshams as the conditions and the opposition didn't make things easy, yet they still played some good football and were generally in control of the match.