Greshams 7 – 4 Suffolk County Council
Fresh from their hard fought win over Claydon, Greshams assembled at the Club with a strong squad in confident mood. Nobody could have forecast the 11 goal thriller to come, with Greshams at some stages of the game looking like a half decent side, at others like a team of strangers whose bootlaces had been tied together before the game.
The team for the game was a returning Beardo in goal; back four Steve H, Potter, James, and Beeston; Midfield Jonny, Rudders, Danno and Cash; up front the prolific pairing of Norfolk and Burton.
Greshams started the game really brightly, passing the ball around well, with the central midfield pair of Danno and Ruddsy dominating the middle of the park. It was no surprise when an early goal came, some really good passing culminating in a lay off from Jonny into the path of Steve Burton who simply blasted an unstoppable shot into the net from around the edge of the area. Shortly afterwards it was two, as again some good passing resulted in Steve B being teed up by his strike partner Norfolk, this time hitting a composed side foot finish low to the keepers left.
At this point Greshams, perhaps thinking they were going to cruise to an easy victory, stopped playing. Suddenly the ball was being given away all over the pitch and it was no surprise when SCC pulled one back, the ball being lashed in from close range giving Beardo no chance. Greshams managed to restore their two goal lead just before the break however when from a typically excellent corner by Ruddsy Norfolk was once again on hand to prove that he is lethal from a yard out. There was a suspicion that the ball grazed Jonny’s knee on the way in, but the Dubious Goals Committee, having reviewed several replays from various angles, have attributed the goal to Norfolk.
Half time Greshams 3-1 SCC
Greshams took the field for the second half with the hairdryer treatment meted out by manager cum sub cum linesman Cookie still ringing in their ears. However, the half did not start promisingly when from the kick off the ball was knocked back to Ruddsy who aimed a huge punt at it that turned into a comedy air shot gifting the ball to the opposition. Greshams were also extremely lucky the score did not go the three two when a goal bound effort was cleared from under the crossbar by an onrushing attacker when it appeared it would have been infinitely easier to score.
The shock seemed to wake Greshams up a bit and Steve Burton suddenly found himself through with only the keeper to beat. However perhaps with too much time to think about it, Steve hesitated a little, tried to round the keeper, but allowed the keeper to make the save and the chance was gone. No matter because the ensuing corner was nodded down by Burton and finished clinically from close range by Norfolk. Shortly later and it was five, Cashen knocking a ball down the line to Burton who still had plenty to do, but managed to get round the covering defenders and this time finish with confidence.
There then followed a period of play in which Greshams play could only be described as pitiful. By now the pitch was cutting up badly, the centre of the field being almost unplayable, and the heavy surface sapping the energy. However this is no excuse for a period of play when every pass went lazily astray, tackles were missed, runners went untracked, and generally the whole team failed to play. A second goal was gifted to SCC and, with their tails up, and sensing that Greshams were struggling, SCC soon found a third, and then a fourth, none of the goals giving Beardo in the Greshams goal any chance.
With the scoreline threatening to become an embarrassment, and three precious points seemingly on the point of slipping through their fingers, Greshams finally awoke from their torpor. The ball was fed into Norfolk in the box and with great vision, back heeled into the path of the onrushing Cashen. The finish looked assured, but in fact your correspondent can exclusively reveal that it was a fluke, aimed for the bottom corner and instead flying off the outside of his boot and just about sneaking under the crossbar.
The goal seemed to deflate SCC and it was fitting that Norfolk managed to complete his hat trick, with a perfect lob over the keeper following a pass into him by Steve Burton.
On such a heavy pitch it was good to hear the final whistle. At the end of the day Greshams had the three points in the bag despite the inconsistency of the performance, and so they thoroughly enjoyed the post match banter, enhanced by the luxury of the four showers all working.
The game was well refereed and played on good spirit by both sides, the only booking coming, unsurprisingly in an incident involving Neil Potter – the surprise being that for once Potter was the aggrieved party rather than the offender. Several contenders for Man of the Match with both full backs doing well and Steve H having probably his best game for the club at right back. However the award has to go jointly to the strike force of Burton and Norfolk who are proving prolific finishers for the Club as well as making first class contributions to the all round play. Well played boys.