After an illness scare from Froudy left Greshams apparently scraping around for a bare 11, there was a surprisingly crowded dressing room as Greshams prepared to face the Queens. Froudy had risen, Lazarus like, from his death bed, finding the lure of 11 Queens in the opposition changing room impossible to resist. Having failed to agree personal terms for his big money transfer to Cherrytree, Harry was also in the squad, but would his head have been turned by Cherrytree's offer? Meanwhile there was a surprising but extremely welcome guest appearance from none other than Kevin Cook!!!
Cashen had remembered his pants on this occasion so had time to gather his thoughts before naming the team which was: Rob in goals; a back four of Froudy, Cookie, Rich Minns and Cash; in midfield the Exocet, Matt, Sam and Nathan with Tom playing just behind the Hunn up front and Harry and Groggy starting on the bench.
With the pitch rock hard despite overnight rain, and quite a strong wind blowing, conditions were not ideal, and Greshams were having trouble putting together their passing game. Queens also were not playing a lot of football and most of the entertainment in the opening spell came from the tussle between Rich Minns and the fractious opposition number 9 who, while a decent player, was constantly looking for a fight. Greshams came close to opening the scoring when the opposition keeper spilled a simple cross into the path of Nathan. However the keeper redeemed himself by throwing up a hand to brilliantly keep out Nathan's shot.
However with Greshams beating at the door it was only a matter of time before the Queens rearguard began to leak. Greshams took the lead they just about deserved when some great play down the right led to a cross from Emy being helped on by Froudy into the path of the predatory Hunn, who took a touch and made no mistake from close range. While the balance of play was quite equal, Greshams were having the better chances with set plays causing Queens all sorts of problems. It was against the run of play when Queens equalised. Their winger got to the byline, turned inside Cash and laid a nice ball off to the edge of the area where their oncoming midfielder hit a great strike giving Rob no chance.
With the game now finely poised Greshams got a stroke of luck when the opposition number 9, who despite his niggly nature was one of the better Queens, pulled a hamstring when bringing down a high ball. Not only did his departure weaken Queens but he was apparently even unable to hobble the line, leaving Queens without a lino. With Captain Birdseye refereeing and rarely up with play Greshams had a chance to play very much on the Queens back line.
Half Time Greshams 1 Queens 1
Groggy replaced Cookie at half time, just in time for Mr Cook senior to arrive in the hope of watching his son play some football for the first time in 10 years!! However the several generations of Cooks were to be treated to a second half goal fest. Just like the previous week, Greshams were quick out of the blocks and scored 4 quick goals that took the game away from Queens. Soon after the restart, the ball was fired at Matt and his instinctive hoof forward looked like turning into a brilliant assist as it found the Hunn running in on goal. However the usually ultra reliable Hunn allowed the keeper to make the save and the ball trickled agonisingly wide. However from the resulting Froudy corner the Hunn redeemed himself as the ball landed at his feet in the six yard box and he was able to knock it into the net.
Shortly later Nathan got in on the act as more great play down the Greshams right saw the ball played by Emy to Nathan. The keeper advanced and tried to grab the ball, clearly fouling Nathan in the process but Nathan was able to keep his feet, swivel, and knock the ball into the unguarded net.
Next it was the Hunns turn to complete his hat trick. Nathan played the ball to him in the area and the Hunn, in plenty of space, had time to assess the situation before simply belting the ball across the keeper into the net with the keeper clutching at fresh air. This was probably the goal of the game and with Queens heads now down, Greshams soon added a fifth. Yet another cross from Froudy was nodded on by Sam and landed at the feet of Tom who, audaciously (or luckily!!!) hit the ball into the ground, deceiving everyone and sending it looping comically over the keeper and in to the net.
With 25 minutes to go, Harry was brought on for a valedictory appearance. The unlucky Emy was replaced, with Froudy moving to right midfield and Harry slotting in at right back. However, this change seemed to unsettle Greshams somewhat and soon later, Queens added a second goal to their tally. It was almost a carbon copy of the first goal except that this time the shot from the edge of the area had much less power and was about to be comfortably gathered by Rob when it took a wicked deflection off Rich Minns and bobbled apologetically into the opposite corner with Rob stranded.
The goal gave Queens a bit of a lift and for a short while they were on top of the game, even complaining about Greshams' time wasting tactics. Rob in the Greshams goal was a particular target for their ire as he ambled listlessly to collect the ball when it had gone far behind the goal for a goal kick. Rob's retort being quite reasonably that the Queens should shoot on target if they didn't want him to spend time fetching the ball!!!
However the mini revival from Queens was short lived as Greshams added a sixth. Unsurprisingly the source was a Froud corner - Froudy spent all game putting lovely balls into the Queens box. This time the ball was met perfectly by Sam with a thumping header that gave the keeper absolutely no chance. Greshams then managed to see out the remainder of the game in relative comfort and the final score in the end reflected their dominance of a game that, the niggly Queens number 9 apart, was played in an excellent spirit.
Man of the Match
Another difficult choice this week after a performance which while not hitting the heights of the previous week in terms of attractive football, was nevertheless impressive against a decent opposition. Froudy in particular was a constant menace to the Queens rearguard. Meanwhile Hunn was simply too hot for Queens to handle. In the midfield Sam was dominant while Matt pulled the strings. Greshams needed to be sound at the back, and Rob got in the way of everything Queens could fire at him.
However a choice has to be made and popping the cork out of the bubbly this week is Richard Hunn after yet another hat trick sealed the points for Greshams. Well played mate.