Home cup match played on 22 September 2013.
Kicked off at 10:30 AM


After two defeats in the League, Greshams were into action in the Cup on Sunday with a determination to turn around the recent run of poor form. Those entrusted with the task were Josh in goals: back four of Sam, Steve H, Richard Minns and Cash; In midfield Froudy, Rob, Cookie and Matt; and up front Richard Hunn (looking significantly fresher than he had the previous week) and Steve Norfolk with JP and Snelly on the bench.

With a large and vocal contingent of visiting supporters, and the Greshams fan Club of Mike Potter and his mother not expected till half time, Greshams were up against it and the tone of the game was set early on when Rob Minns was crudely upended. With both teams largely trying to play a passing game rather than a hoofing game, the match was evenly balanced in the opening exchanges. Greshams however were looking a little stretched and ragged at the back, due partly to some clever front running from the Punch striker. However, it was Greshams who took the lead in slightly fortuitous circumstances. A typically excellent corner from Froudy was nodded on by Norfolk and, as the keeper appeared to be juggling the ball, Richard Hunn seized the chance to lash it into the net from point blank range. Rich later admitted to have kicked it out of the keepers hands, although most observers seemed to think the keeper had dropped it, but the important thing was the goal stood and Greshams were 1-0 up.

Unfortunately within ten minutes the game turned on its head. Steve Norfolk had a great chance to make it 2-1 but couldn’t quite manage to lift the ball over the keeper. Straight away Punch broke upfield and were able to win a succession of corners and from the third of these, the striker won the header at the near post and the ball flew in to the net. Worse was to come for Greshams, though credit has to be given to the sheer quality of the strike from the Punch midfielder. Picking up the ball he strode forwards and while Greshams might have closed him down a bit quicker, the quality of the strike from fully thirty yards was excellent, the ball rocketing past Josh’s despairing dive and in to the very corner of the net off the post.

To Greshams credit, heads did not drop and although Froudy and Rob in particular were the victims of some pretty crude challenges, the football was of decent quality from both sides. Froudy was the victim of quite a nasty foul on the right touchline but dusted himself off to take the free kick which was cleared straight back to him. Froudy controlled the ball and then produced an absolute peach of a cross that landed right on the head of Richard Hunn, ghosting in unmarked at the back post, who headed  the ball across the keeper and in to the net.

Again Greshams were unable to enjoy the scoreline for long. A combination of long balls and decent movement was making Greshams a little ragged in defence and they were caught out once more when a long punt might have been collected by Josh but was seized on by the attacker. In truth Greshams had chances to deal with the danger but failed to do so and the move ended with the ball being headed in by the onrushing Punch forward at the far post.

This was to be the last action for the veteran Cashen who limped of holding his hamstring to be replaced by JP.

Half Time Greshams 2 Punch 3

Despite the scoreline there was a positive feeling about Greshams at half time and they went about their business purposefully from the start of the second half. As an attacking force they looked as strong as at any time this season with Rob getting on the ball a lot more and Richard Hunn really stretching the Punch defence.

After about 15 minutes of the half Greshams got the equaliser that they thoroughly deserved as Rob made a run through the midfield area and played a great ball for Richard Hunn to run on to. Richard put in a great low cross which eluded the keeper and it appeared a straight race between Norfolk and the defender. They both seemed to arrive at the same time, the defender trying to scoop the ball clear, but Norfolk was just able to get the decisive touch and he, the defender and the ball all ended up in the back of the net and it was 3-3.

At this stage on the balance of play there was only going to be one winner. Greshams, to everyone’s surprise, appeared to have the superior fitness, and Punch were badly running out of steam. This was allowing Richard Minns to maraud regularly upfield. From one such foray Rich found himself on the edge of the ‘D’ where he was teed up perfectly by Matt Miller. Instead of trying to lash the ball home Rich calmly passed it into the corner of the net to give Greshams the lead with 15 minutes remaining.

While a nervous time might have been anticipated, Greshams held out comfortably. The back four was solid, Steve Hamblin recovering from a nasty challenge and sore ankle to have a really good second half and both full backs looking solid. In midfield Cookie marshalled the team well and the only scare for Greshams came unsurprisingly from a set play. A great header from a Punch corner was met with a brilliant headed goal line clearance from Froudy.

With Snelly coming on for the last 10 minutes and doing a good job of chasing down the Punch back four, Greshams held on the celebrate an overdue win, and a passage in to the next round of the cup, where they will be hoping for a lucrative away draw!

Man of the Match

With two goals and an assist, Richard Hunn can count himself unlucky to miss out on the bubbly this week but the vote goes, just, to Richard Minns for an all action display at centre half. Strong defensively and  carrying a threat going forward, in the second half in particular, and capped by the winning goal. Well played mate.


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