On another beautiful day for a game of football Greshams were back enjoying home comforts for what was, incredibly, the penultimate home game of this mini league season. After a good performance the previous week, manager Cashen was able to name a virtually unchanged side, with just the one change of Rich Minns coming in for Greg, who had tweaked a hammy. Greshams therefore lined up with Rob in goals; a back four of Cash, Hamblin, Rich Minns and Harry; in midfield Nathan, Matt, Sam and Froudy; with Rob and Steve Norfolk up front and Ash on the bench.
Judging from the sheer number of Rushmere players congregated in the car park before the game in their matching tops, together with a rather motley assembly of Wags and other hangers on, Greshams might have thought they had their work cut out. However, it soon became clear that Rushmere were all about quantity not quality, despite their manager barking instructions from the sidelines like a Sunday morning Jose Mourinho.
Cashen had announced before the match that he had a feeling in his water that this was the week that Norfolk would break his scoring duck, as indeed he did, inviting comparisons with Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney. As it turned out, the first twenty minutes of the game was the Steve Norfolk show as he rattled in a quick fire 'perfect' hat trick. his first was a close range header from a pin point cross from Froudy. For his second, finding himself in space at the angle of the box, Steve whipped in a right footed cross which seemed to bamboozle the keeper who made no attempt to stop it as it nestled in the far corner. The hat trick was complete as Norfolk sprang the offside trap to run on to a lovely through ball from Nathan, to find himself one on one with the keeper. With confidence high after the first two goals Steve nonchalantly beat the keeper with a left footed strike to cap a great twenty minutes for himself and his team.
After being thumped 14-1 the previous week it was no surprise that the Rushmere heads dropped after falling behind so quickly and Greshams were soon in the goals again, this time with Rob Minns getting in on the act, running on to a pass from Matt to finish smartly. At this point Greshams had a minor scare when Rushmere seemed to pull one back. Greshams lost the run of the forward who rounded Rob to stick the ball in the net. With everyone lining up to kick off however, the ref finally noticed the upraised flag of Ash on the line. After a brief consultation, the goal was disallowed for offside and the Greshams clean sheet was intact.
Greshams capitalised when Rob added a second following a headed assist by Norfolk, and then Nathan was able to get on the scoresheet, volleying home from close range a cross / shot from Rob Minns.
Half time Greshams 6 Diamonds 0
The half time talk was all about continuing to do the right things, but nevertheless with such a commanding scoreline it is hard to keep focus and Greshams put in a rather lacklustre second half performance where any neutral who had turned up at half time would have had difficulties guessing which team was 6-0 up.
Nevertheless Greshams had the better of the chances, Norfolk rattling the woodwork early on from an acute angle. Norfolk had an easier chance to add to his tally later when through on goal, but rather than lash the ball in to the net, for some reason he decided to juggle the bouncing ball until it bounced harmlessly into the keeper's arms, much to skipper Hamblin's frustration.
Ash came on for Froudy for the last half hour but Greshams frustration was growing with their Skipper receiving a lecture after a bit of handbags with the fractious Rushmere striker. However for all their having more possession, Rushmere were unable to hurt Greshams and finally Greshams got a goal to ensure they won the second half. From a rare Rushmere incursion, Rob grabbed the ball from the air and rolled it straight to Cashen. Cashen made ground and knocked the ball into midfield and then a great ball from Matt found Nathan running on goal. With a defender in attendance Nathan had work to do and at one point looked to have overrun the ball, but reached out and struck a sweet left footed shot across the keeper giving him no chance.
Full time Greshams 7 Rushmere 0
After a dominant second half and a lacklustre second, one player was consistent and that was Sam, who was tenacious and energetic in midfield and nearly scored a screamer when he caught the ball a treat from the edge of the box only to see it fly narrowly wide. However, the platform for the comfortable win was set in the first twenty minutes and it was Steve Norfolk who grabbed that early hat trick that put the game beyond Rushmere. Steve's first was a difficult header to ute, the second a great strike, the third a composed finish, well deserving of the Moët. Well played mate.