The day didn't start well for Greshams when the absence of the appointed referee left them scrambling around for an official, finally locating one among the Taverners players. When the day ended with Cashen dropping the changing room key through a tiny gap in the decking on the Club patio, it was clearly one of those days when nothing was going to go right for Greshams.
With a couple of absentees from recent weeks, the Greshams pack had to be shuffled and so they lined up with Josh in goal; Hamblin right back and, at centre half, the veteran Justin made a welcome return to partner Tony, with Rob at left back; a midfield of Cash, Tom, JP and Tommo; up front Burton and Froudy.
Coming into the game on the back of three good wins, one might have expected a confident display from Greshams, but instead this was a lacklustre effort, with all the players below par. Under the circumstances the first goal was critical and unfortunately it went to Stars when with suspicions of offside on two separate occasions during the move, the striker got free one on one to finish past Josh.
Below par as they were, Greshams were playing some good football and were also defending well, particularly from corners which have been their Achilles heel this season. They deserved an equaliser, and it came when Froudy was released by a long ball. He missed the initial chance but courtesy of a few bobbles and ricochets, found himself round the keeper and confronted with an empty net, only to be rugby tackled by the defender as he was on the point of knocking the ball in. Froudy dusted himself down to confidently stroke home the resultant penalty.
Unfortunately Stars then added a second when their right winger got free, his cross just eluded Cashen's attempted block, and the striker finished sharply from close range.
Half time: Greshams 1 Whitton Stars 2
Greshams continued to struggle for form and fluency after the break but kept plugging away and clawed their way back into the match once more. Great work by Burton down the right ended up with a perfect cross. The keeper flapped at it, Tom collected it at the far post, eluded the defender, played a one two with the woodwork, and finally prodded home from six inches.
Steve Adams came on for Steve Hamblin and soon found himself involved as Greshams continued to find some opportunities down the flanks.
Once again however Greshams were unable to consolidate as the pacy number 10 for Stars got free and finished confidently past Josh. Then disaster struck with a fourth for Stars and a calamity for the Greshams keeper. Josh seemed to have beaten the on rushing attacker to the ball only to make a complete hash of the clearance. As the ball bobbled around, Josh seemed to have several further opportunities to either hack it clear or fall on the ball, but did neither and instead the striker was able to get away and slide it across for a team mate to finish into an empty net.
Greshams went to three up front for the last few minutes as Snelly replaced Cash, and they grabbed a consolation with 5 minutes to go when another long punt found Tommo. After a few bobbles and a tussle with the keeper and defender, Tommo finally managed to get round the keeper and finish into an empty net.
Full time: Greshams 3 Stars 4
Man of the match
This was a strangely subdued performance from Greshams. The team struggled for rhythm and in hindsight, perhaps we should have played a more direct game throughout.
Man of the match goes to JP who was consistent, economical and effective in his use of the ball, and once again demonstrated his new found heading prowess. Well played.