With the wintry conditions having forced the cancellation of all games up at Greshams, secretary Mike Potter worked overtime to rearrange this fixture to a pitch at Gainsborough. After a night of sleet and slow, Greshams gathered in the new changing block as the weather continued to deteriorate. Surprisingly in such bad weather however, manager Cashen had a squad of 14 to select from. Sticking largely with the team that performed well last time out, Cashen named the line up as Rob in goals; a back four of Harry, Greg, Hamblin and Cash; in midfield Froudy, Rob, Sam and Matt; up front Kit Meng and Norfolk with a strong looking bench of Ollie, Emy and Phil.
Greshams were out on the pitch well before Selkirk for their ‘warm up’ in freezing conditions. As they knocked the ball around among themselves the snow gathered in force until it was very difficult to see when looking in to the wind. When Selkirk did finally arrive, the referee fussily decided that a five minute pep talk to the linesmen was called for, but with both sides now suffering in the inclement weather, the game finally got under way.
After so much rain the pitch was very heavy and the strong wind also was making things very difficult for both sides. However, it was Greshams who were playing the better football, with some neat passing, but too often handing over possession to the opposition. However, any nerves were settled with a relatively early goal, and Froudy was the scorer. Steve Norfolk put through a lovely pass and Froudy beat the offside trap and the rather flag happy linesman, to scamper clear. With just the keeper to beat it was only a question of whether Froudy could maintain his composure, which he did, thumping the ball emphatically in to the back of the net.
Having broken Selkirk’s resistance, Greshams continued to press, and were really unfortunate not to extend their lead, with Steve Norfolk suffering some real bad luck in front of goal. Steve was working really hard and carved out several good chances through his own good work, but was frustrated by the keeper, the post, and the conditions as the ball on one occasion just stuck in the mud at his feet as he was about to pull the trigger. In the end it was Matt who extended the Greshams lead when Norfolk once again turned provider and threaded a ball through which Matt finished excellently as he was sliding to the ground.
Not long later it was three to Greshams and it was Matt again on the scoresheet. This time he was on the end of a brilliant cross from Froudy and thumped a great header against the post – what a goal it would have been had the header gone in. However justice was done as the ball rebounded straight to Matt’s feet and he was left with the easiest of tap ins.
With Rob having been a virtual spectator, Greshams had done what was necessary with a strong win at their backs and went in to half time with a comfortable 3-0 lead.
Half time Greshams 3 Selkirk 0
The weather once again turned truly horrible as the second half began with Greshams playing in to the strong wind which was now blowing driving rain in to their faces. However proceedings were enlivened by a touch of comedy from Cashen who, with a long free kick driven at him, couldn’t decide whether to head the ball or kick it and ended up simply flinching as if terrified of the ball which somehow bounced to safety off some part of his body.
Once Greshams regained their composure after this moment of farce, they began carving out some chances as Kit Meng was put through on a couple of occasions. Kit was unfortunately able to find a finish, on one occasion going for the delicate chip but getting far too much on it and sending the ball flying way over the bar.
With the players on the bench in danger of developing hypothermia, Cashen shuffled the pack with Ollie and Emy coming on for Sam and Meng. Emy was soon involved, with his pace and unpredictability causing all sorts of problems. However, it was Selkirk who struck next and to be fair, their striker really caught hold of the shot from just outside the box, giving Rob absolutely no chance as the ball screamed in to the net.
Steve Norfolk’s wretched luck continued as a perfect cross found him at the far post. He did everything right with the header only for the keeper to appear from nowhere and make a scrambling save. However, Emy soon restored Greshams advantage. Played through by an excellent ball from Rob, Emy showed great composure as he shimmied past the keeper and walked the ball in to an empty net.
Although Greshams were well on top, Selkirk were having chances, some of which were of Greshams making, on one occasion Rob gifting the ball straight to the Selkirk striker only for Greg to get back and make a brilliant saving tackle. Rob was later to make amends with two excellent saves, the best of which came when a corner seemed to have gone too far only to be met by a strong header at the back post. Rob however reacted brilliantly, throwing up a strong hand to palm the ball to safety. Soon after, Rob showed great agility again and as the striker was about to pounce on the rebound,Greg was able to just about get to his feet to head the ball away for a corner.
However Greshams were also having chances and were able to wrap the game up with a 5th goal and it was a hat trick goal for Matt Miller. Veteran left back Cashen was the provider, beating his man and then whipping in a low cross which just evaded Emy but found Matt Miller gambling at the back post to finish calmly from close range to seal a well-deserved win for the men in blue.
Final Score Greshams 5 Selkirk 1
Man of the Match
Although Greshams won 5-1 this was no easy victory and they had to be strong at the back and Harry and Steve were on good form and Greg, who for once turned up looking relatively sober, put in a great performance. However the Veuve Clicquot today goes to Matt Miller for a tremendous Hat Trick, three great finishes, and only the width of the post prevented possibly the goal of Greshams season. Well played mate.