Home league match played on 08 October 2017.
Kicked off at 10:30 AM

On a beautiful day for football, it was a full strength Greshams who gathered at the Tuddenham Road ground for the home fixture against Pauls. With an unprecedented squad of no fewer than 15 players, Manager Cashen's first concern was whether there was sufficient kit for everyone. Fortunately this proved to be the case and Cashen named the team which was Rob in goals; a back four of Froudy, Groggy, Hamblin and deadline day signing Gareth; in midfield, another new signing Danny Bond on the right with Sam, Rich Minns and Matt; and up front the familiar pairing of Rob and Steve Norfolk with Cashen, Nathan, Emy and Dan Mayhew on the bench.

In the initial skirmishes, it was the Paul's linesman who was the busiest person involved. Flagrantly ignoring manager Cashen's wise words to watch the line, Steve Norfolk strayed offside from Gresham's first ball forward, and this became a theme, with Rob in particular being frustrated by the linesman's decisions.

When the ball was actually in play however, Greshams were giving a good account of themselves, with Sam in particular working hard to stop Paul's developing any kind of rhythm. When Pauls did threaten Steve Hamblin showed himself to be acquainted with the dark arts, committing a cynical but well disguised foul to disrupt the Pauls attack.

Manager Cashen decided his technical area stretched to the other side of the pitch and wandered round to make sure the Paul's linesman was keeping honest. Just as he arrived, Greshams had their best chance of the half. The two Pauls defenders got themselves in muddle under pressure from Norfolk, who was able to nick the ball and put a lovely pass through to Rob whose pace made him favourite to get to the ball first. However, the Pauls keeper was rapidly off his line to make a good block and clear the ball.

As the half went on Pauls began early to impose themselves with the silly bearded self styled hipster number 10, running dangerously at the Greshams back four. The Greshams rearguard was now being pulled out of shape a little and on a couple of occasions Rob was called on to make good blocks from close range efforts. However Greshams too were having their moments, looking dangerous down both flanks with new signings Gareth and Danny showing some good touches. They were unable to create any decent chances however and an entertaining half ended goalless.

Half time Greshams 0 - 0 Pauls

With four subs available, Cashen changed things at half time with Nathan coming on for Danny and Cash replacing Sam with Matt going into central midfield, Cashen to left back and Gareth to left midfield. The half continued as the first left off, a good battle with chances at a premium. Pauls had an early opportunity when their narky number nine got clear but blazed embarrassingly over the bar. Instead it was Greshams who took the lead in spectacular fashion. There seemed no danger when Norfolk collected a short pass form Froudy. However Norfolk, on the edge of the box and to the right of the goal, swivelled and struck a left footed curler which flew into the top corner, leaving the keeper clutching at fresh air and his team mates delighted.

The vocal and numerous Paul's contingent on the sidelines became frustrated at the setback and before long were venting their fury on the ref, their own players, and anyone else who would listen. Emy replaced Gareth for Greshams and was quickly involved in typically unpredictable Exocet fashion as Greshams looked more likely to get the next goal. The Paul's rearguard were tiring and Greshams were stretching them with the pace of Emy and Nathan down the flanks. Steve Norfolk, having scored a beauty, looked to have a couple of easier chances as crossed came in for the right. The Keeper was able to make a decent block from one, and another where the ball just got caught under his feet a little. Rob and Nathan also had decent chances and as it stayed 1 - 0, Greshams were beginning to wonder whether missed chances would cost them.

However for all Pauls possession they were not creating much, although Rob made one great stop down to his right from a long range effort. On another occasion both Hamblin and Froud threw themselves at the ball to make great blocks, showing great commitment to the cause.

With the game going in to its closing stages Greshams doubled their advantage. Emy picked up the ball in typically scrappy fashion in midfield. Wisely ignoring captain Hamblin's exasperated advice to 'think about it' and to 'use your brain', Emy poked the ball in he general direction of Matt, only for it to turn into a nice through ball to Rich Minns. Rich galloped forward and, showing great composure, planted a great finish beyond the keeper's reach and in ot the far corner. It was a pity Nana Potter was not present as she could have had a chorus of 'you're not singing any more' in the direction of the previously noisy Paul's contingent, who were well and truly silenced by this further setback. With Dan coming on for Rob in the closing stages and showing some decent touches and coming back to help defend, Greshams saw the game out relatively comfortably and sealed a really satisfying victory.

Man of the Match

This was a great team performance rather than any individual standing out. Everyone including the subs, really contributed to a well deserved victory. However, clean sheets are pretty rare of a Sunday and in a tight game where the first goal was always going to be crucial, Rob made some great saves when Greshams were under a bit of pressure and this laid the foundation of the victory and so Rob wins the bubbly this week. Well played mate.

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