Wetherden 1 – Greshams 4
Greshams had their largest squad of the season for the long trip out to Wetherden, but things did not bode well as the squad gathered at the Greshams Club, to find striker Steve Norfolk clearly still with last night’s alcohol coursing through his veins. Worse, Norfolk reported having bumped in to fellow striker Burton in town and reported that, even in his less than sober state, he had been able confidently to ascertain that Burton was ‘bladdered’.
Matters hardly improved when the journey along the A14 was accompanied by an absolutely torrential downpour.
However all finally arrived at the palatial Wetherden changing pavilion and the team was announced: Cookie between the sticks; Brett, Rudders, Millsy, Phil; Midfield Dave, Jon, Danno, Simon; and up front the clear headed duo of Burton and Norfolk with Subs of Cashen, Steve and James.
The game started with a brilliant move from Greshams directly from the kick off. Stringing together an unaccustomed number of passes, the ball was worked forward to provide a chance which was very nearly converted. However, Greshams failed to build on the good start and instead allowed Wetherden to build up some attacking momentum. Greshams had to withstand a series of dangerous corners and long throws and it was no surprise when Wetherden took the lead. Greshams had several chances to clear the ball but failed to do so and the striker, unmarked on the angle of the six yard box, had time to pick his spot and lash the ball beyond Cookie.
The goal rocked Greshams but they gradually got in to the game with Rudders delivering some dangerous free kicks. The equaliser was simple, but quality, a brilliant through ball from Danno being tucked away with typical confidence by Steve Burton.
After looking a bit ragged at the back, Greshams rang the changes at half time and veteran Cashen together with youthful new signing James Head entered the fray. The back line now Mills, Rudders, James, and Cashen.
The reshaping seemed to give Greshams a more solid look and they pressed forward looking for a goal. Under pressure from Cashen, the Wetherden winger tried a cross field pass that was read and intercepted by Norfolk and knocked into the path of Burton, who once again showed great composure in front of goal, this time passing the ball in to the net on the other side of the keeper.
Greshams continued to press and shortly got a third, which was all about individual brilliance from Norfolk. A hopeful punt upfield from Cookie bounced to Norfolk. Showing the skill, pace and agility of a younger (and slimmer) man, Norfolk controlled it, turned, knocked it over the head of one defender, pirouetted, knocked it over another defender, and then nonchalantly lobbed the keeper for one of the goals of the season – very reminiscent of Gazza against Scotland in Euro 1996 (and Gazza had been on the lash the night before too) – only better. It was a goal deserving a finer setting than Wetherden on a drizzly Sunday morning with a crowd of roughly ten people. Nice one Steve. And that’s a fiver you owe me for bigging it up!!!!!
By this time, the Greshams away support had turned up in the shape of Mike Potter and his octogenarian mother. Buoyed by the vocal encouragement (typical comment: Cashen – you’re crap!!!) Greshams went in search of a fourth. It duly arrived when Wetherden failed to clear and the ball fell to the man of the moment Norfolk, who casually stroked the ball home with great awareness.
Greshams saw the game out in relative comfort. With Cookie dealing with everything that was thrown at him with some confidence, and an assured debut at centre half from James, the performance was satisfying though the game was never a classic in the conditions, with the Greshams midfield four largely spending the time getting a stiff neck watching the ball fly over their head from end to end. Still, with the two Steves doing so well up front, the team, for the first time in many years, has goals in it, and the form needs to be maintained to see Greshams climb the table.
The game was well refereed and played in a sporting fashion by both teams.