Home league match played on 25 March 2018.
Kicked off at 10:30 AM

The Greshams coach arrived at the Tuddenham Road Ground with a Police escort ahead of the much anticipated local derby against old foes Taveners. Chris Williams was in line for a much anticipated debut for the Blues after his deadline day transfer. The capture of Chris’ signature represented something of a coup for Director of Football Steve Hamblin who had shadowed Chris’ career since his school days. Steve swooped in under the radar to secure the striker’s signature despite interest from a host of bigger Clubs. Chris stated in his exclusive first interview with greshams.tv that the opportunity of playing alongside a decrepit 53 year old left back was the main inducement for his signing.

With Groggy also returning to the squad after a few weeks’ fish-bothering, for which he had won a bit of silverware, something Greshams are sadly unfamiliar with, it was a decent looking squad for the derby. After a long weather related break in fixtures, Manager Cashen named the team as Rob in goals; a back four of Froudy, Groggy, Hamblin and Cash; in Midfield, Rob Minns, Rich Minns, Heady and Nathan, with Chris and Steve Norfolk up front and Tom and Emy ‘Matress Man’ David on the bench.

The game started well for Greshams. Both teams were looking to play football but it was Greshams who were having the more success with their passing game clicking right from the off. Chris had an early sight of goal after some good football but fired narrowly wide. The veteran Cashen produced some ‘Ole’s’ from the packed derby day crowd with a bit of skill that bamboozled two Taveners defenders. Nathan was showing some great pace and skill and found himself in a good position in the Taveners box only to decide to pass rather than shoot and the chance went begging. However, with good performances all over the pitch surely it was only a matter of time before Greshams took the lead They did so when a great bit of interplay on the edge of the Taveners box culminated in Rich Minns dinking a great little ball through for Chris, who finished emphatically across the keeper for a well-deserved first goal in Greshams colours.

At this stage the only source of frustration for Greshams were the laughable antics of the Taveners linesman who, apparently oblivious of the need to be objective, needed only for a defender to shout ‘offside’ for him to start frantically waving his flag.

However as the half wore on Taveners gradually started to get into the game, although Rob remained relatively untroubled. The reacquainted central defensive pair of Groggy and Hamblin looked like they had never been away and Greshams were looking comfortable. However Taveners managed to equalise with what was probably their first attempt on target. The ball was played through a slightly square Greshams rearguard, the forward was not tracked and finished low into the corner giving Rob no chance.

Greshams needed to respond as they had just dropped their level slightly, and respond they did, through a fine individual goal from Chris. There seemed little danger as Chris had the ball played in to him by Rich Minns, just in the Taveners half and with a defender in close attendance. However he produced some great skill to turn and beat the defender, got his head down and showing great pace and strength ran all the way through, beating a couple of challenges, before slamming the ball firmly into the net. Great goal!

Half Time Greshams 2 Taveners 1

All the half time talk was positive for Greshams as apart from conceding the goal, they had played really good football in the first half. It was important that they kept it going in the second half and indeed, they started the half as they had finished the first, on the front foot and playing good football. However a close scoreline is always dangerous and it was Taveners who struck first after the break. It was the usually ultra reliable Groggy who presented them with the opportunity. As the ball broke to him on the left corner of the box he appeared to have plenty of time to clear it but for some reason decided that a couple of Cruyff turns would be a better option. Unsurprisingly he confused himself completely, lost the ball, and it was fed through to the striker who finished low into the corner and for the second time in the match Rob found himself fishing the ball out of the net when he had been a virtual spectator up to that point.

Despite being well on top of the game once again Greshams found themselves having to respond. They were having all the territory and possession but one or two chances came and went. Steve Norfolk had a free header from a corner but put it just over. Then a pass from Chris found Norfolk free in the six yard box but the ball was fractionally behind him and Steve just couldn’t get the power in the shot and the keeper got across to make a scrambling save with his feet.

However, Greshams finally did make the breakthrough and it was another good goal. Greshams won the ball in a tussle on the right and while the effeminate Taveners full back was dabbing his lip and squealing for a foul, Greshams broke at pace. The ball was played down the right and Rob Minns found himself bearing down on goal. He got off a good shot which the keeper was just able to parry. However, if fell, almost inevitably, into the path of the man of the moment Chris Williams, who made a slightly awkward finish look easy as he forced the ball home from point blank range.

With the lead finally re-established it was important that Greshams did not allow Taveners back in to the game this time. Indeed they continued to press and extended their lead when Steve Norfolk finally got the goal his efforts deserved, meeting an excellent Froud corner with an unstoppable header. They rounded off the scoring when Chris was clearly fouled in the box, the referee having the easiest penalty decision he will ever have to make. Froudy took on the duties and lashed the spot kick into the top corner.

With the game now more or less safe, Tom Cashen came on in place of Nathan. There was still time for some late Greshams chances. Some more brilliant play down the Greshams right saw an excellent cross come in to be met by an absolute bullet header from the onrushing Heady. Somehow the keeper god down to his left and with a strong hand made an unbelievable save. Then Tom curled in a cross cum shot which in honesty, didn’t have a lot of power but the keeper, distracted by someone standing in front of him, was very late to react but again made a fine save down to his left. This was virtually the last action as Greshams ran out ultimately comfortable winners.

Man of the Match

This was a really good performance from Greshams with some really good football being played. All the partnerships worked – central midfield was strong, the reunited pairing of Groggy and Hamblin were sound, and the full backs and wide midfielders worked well together. Meanwhile the new pairing up front managed 4 goals between them. Only Rob misses out on the plaudits by virtue of having so little to do, but he was involved in a lot of the Greshams moves in playing the ball out from the back, more like Jordan Pickford than Big Neville Southall! However the well-earned bubbly goes this week to debutant Chris Williams. With a hat trick on debut and an assist as well, Chris was a constant threat and put in a really brilliant display of all round forward play. Very well played indeed mate.

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