On a bitterly cold day the Greshams squad gathered in the Gainsborough changing rooms, was showing a marked reluctance to get changed. Ten players were there in reasonable time, and just as they were getting nervous about the arrival of their remaining team mates, Snelly arrived, accompanied unbelievably, by Ryan “Invisible Man” Bugg. Shortly after, the arrival of Steve Adams swelled the squad to 13 and left manager Cashen rueing the the fact that he had forgotten the Sub Suits. However, although the squad was ok in numbers, one glance at Froudy was enough to suggest that he was very much present in body rather than spirit, and Steve H produced photographic evidence that Froudy was still in bed at 9.15, prior to falling down the stairs at 9.20.
Cashen, entering his dotage, was also struggling to select a starting line up, but after consulting with some of the senior figures in the dressing room, the side was named a: Josh in goals; a back four of Steve, Steve Ham, Cookie and Cash; in midfield, Froudy, JP, Newts and Matt; and up front, Tom and Rob; subs were Ryan and Snelly.
The game finally got under way after the referee, cunningly disguised as Mr Magoo, struggled to locate the pitch. With Celtic propping up the table, Greshams might have expected an easy ride, but it was a surprisingly even opening. Coming forward, Celtic had some threat, while Greshams soon learned to expect some tight offside decisions to go against them, as the linesman put in a man of the match performance for the home side.
However, despite the cold weather and the bobbly pitch, Greshams were soon putting their passing game together. Having been denied by the offside flag on several occasions already, a through ball from Matt found Tom onside and he strode on to finish confidently across the keeper from right to left. Not long after it was two nil as the Matt / Tom combination once again put Tom through on goal. This time he was to the left of the goal but once again went across the keeper and the ball this time nestled in the other corner.
In an unbelievable opening period of the game for Tom, the diminutive playmaker completed his hat trick within the first half hour. This time, it was a defence splitting pass from his own half by Cashen senior that put Tom in on goal. On this occasion he elected to go round the keeper, which was quite a long diversion, before putting the ball into the net. Greshams were well on top now and while Froudy was not at his absolute razor sharpest in open play, his set pieces were still fantastic and were causing all sorts of problems for the defenders. One perfect cross to the head of Rob was headed off the line by the defender on the post but shortly later, another perfect delivery was glanced perfectly by Rob Rob into the corner of the net.
Half Time Northam Celtic 0 Greshams 4
Greshams had been well on top but the twin dangers in the second half were complacency, and a fairly strong wind which would now favour the home side. However the back four stayed solid and restricted Celtic to few chances, while in midfield, JP and Newts continued to dominate. Greshams extended their lead with a lovely goal. There seemed little danger as JP, Tom and Cash senior exchanged passes down the left but Tom then feinted, and went on a mazy dribble across the pitch as far as the edge of the area, where he found the perfect ball to play in Rob who finished with aplomb.
Unfortunately, the clean sheet which the back four, and in particular Josh, deserved, was taken away when a free kick, mid way inside the Greshams half, was nicely struck and took one or two slight touches which distracted Josh and the ball nestled in the corner. This was tough on Josh, who had been confident and alert throughout the game, handling and kicking really well.
However, the setback of conceding did not disrupt Greshams who simply went in search of more goals. Snelly came on up front to replace Tom who had been suffering from 6th formers flu all week. Greshams then found a goal from the most unlikely of sources, as Steve Hamblin finally ended the goal scoring drought that stretched back to when he joined the Club seven years ago. It was another corner from Froudy that caused the problem and Steve, attacking the near post, bundled the ball home off a combination of his thigh and his bollocks. The important thing was that it ended up in the back of the net, and Steve, obviously at a loss as to how to celebrate, settled for a Cheshire cat grin.
Ryan then came on for Froudy and the players on the pitch were then treated to the sight of Froudy lying down and falling asleep on the touchline. For those still awake however, the game continued, and Ryan and Snelly were contributing well after their introduction. After Matt scuffed an easy chance, Rob showed him how to do it by getting on the end of a cross, and finishing calmly. At the other end, Cashen senior made a tackle that belied his advancing years, while Tom Cashen, now cast in the role of comedy linesman, flagged for a corner when it was blatantly a goal kick – Tom later admitted that he was not watching at the time.
Greshams saw the remainder of the game out in comfort despite Celtic seeming to go to a front four formation late on. While acknowledging that this was not the strongest opposition to be faced this season, everyone did well for Greshams as they made it two successive high scoring wins.
Man of the Match
Several candidates. Josh is growing in confidence and did really well in goal. There was a very welcome return for Tony Newton who was solid in the tackle and in the air and a major plus in the defending of set pieces. Matt followed up last week’s two great goals with a strong performance and some lovely passing. However with two hat trick scorers the bubbly has to go to one of the strikers and the vote for the Bollinger this week goes to Tom Cashen, who unfortunately is too young to drink it and will therefore have to give it to his Dad!