Away league match played on 07 April 2013.
Kicked off at 10:15 AM

On arrival at Whitton, Greshams were astonished to find the opposition already out on the pitch and warming up with some 45 minutes to go before the match. Such antics are anathema to Greshams whose pre match routine consists of a bit of banter in the changing room.

The lack of the squads two main strikers left manager Cashen with a selection headache, but with Neil Potter answering the call and travelling from London for the game, and a surprise reappearance from Owen Barker, the 12 available looked strong enough to do the job. The team lined up with Josh in goals; a back four of Tommo, Cookie, Rob and Cash; in midfield Steve, Teeder, Potter and Matt; and an unfamiliar front two of Froudy and Tom.

After the weather of recent weeks, it was a surprise to find the pitch resembled a dust bowl. With the familiar Whitton gradient also affecting matters, conditions were far from ideal as the ball bobbled about all over the place, impossible to control or pass. It was also clear from the off, that this would be a fractious game, with constant niggling and fouls being committed. This made things difficult for the referee, who however probably did himself no favours by tolerating this until it was too late.

With passing football virtually impossible, and constant fouls and free kicks interrupting the game, neither team was finding any rhythm. Stars were seeing more of the ball, with the fractious number 8 also showing signs of some ability. However they failed to test Josh in any meaningful way, on one occasion a break being stopped by a fine tackle by Cookie, and on another, a dangerous cross being cut out by a sliced clearance by Cashen that nearly went into the roof of his own net but fortunately flew narrowly over.

With 10 minutes to the break, Greshams changed shape with Froudy going to right midfield and Steve up front. This immediately gave the side better balance and five minutes before the break Greshams snatched the lead. Some great football led to a good position in the Stars penalty area where the ball ricocheted round a bit with a number of shots being blocked. The ball finally broke to Tom who rather than shoot, calmly passed the ball across to Matt who swept the ball home with a really composed finish.

All the talk from Greshams was about keeping the lead until half time but unfortunately the equaliser came almost immediately as a fairly tame strike from distance deflected off Cookie to leave a wrong footed Josh with no chance.

Half time Stars 1 Greshams 1

The second half very much carried on where the first left off - a tough, competitive game with plenty of verbals and niggle but little in the way of football. Greshams made a change as Owen replaced Steve up front and almost immediately it was Greshams' turn to have a stroke of luck as they regained the lead through an own goal. Some good play led to the ball being cleared for a corner. Froudy whipped in one of his customary excellent deliveries and the ball flew into the net off the head of the hapless Stars number 8.

The remainder of the game showed battling qualities in abundance from Greshams as Stars once again had the majority of possession but the Greshams back four, well protected by Potter, held firm and restricted Stars to few chances, the only real scare being when a skied cross / shot had Josh back pedalling and rather flapping the ball out for a corner. Even Froudy was putting in a defensive shift and he and Tommo dealt impressively with the pacy number 11. Indeed, Greshams had opportunities to stretch their lead but the stand in Stars keeper made some impressive stops and on occasion Greshams were guilty of poor finishing. There were also a number of offside decisions which looked tight but were, according to the Greshams contingent on the sidelines, mostly called correctly.

Unfortunately however a late equaliser was conceded when Cashen should have intercepted a pass but missed the ball on the bobbling pitch. The winger just lumped the ball forward and the hoof fell kindly for the number 10 who produced a decent finish over Josh's head.

Then with a couple of minutes the game, which had been the simmer for the previous 88 minutes, completely boiled over. Most eyes were on the ball as it looped into the air and Teeder was clattered from behind. In the meantime however a clash between Tommo and the Stars left back had sparked mayhem. The left back lost the plot completely and was almost foaming at the mouth as he had to be restrained by his manager while Tommo sensibly pretended to be hurt and stayed on the ground. Everywhere else, handbags were produced and a lot of pushing and shoving ensued. A particular highlight of the melee was the contribution of the Stars' WAGS, who burst on to the pitch to defend their men, accompanied by a high pitched volley of abusive language. With only a couple of minutes to go the ref took the probably wise decision to abandon the game with the score to stand at 2 - 2.

Man of the Match

In such difficult conditions it was difficult for Greshams to play the football they are capable of, but for a lovely assist from a corner and some good wing play and not only that but some good defensive work, Man of the Match this week goes to Froudy. well played mate.

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