Ian Holloway once said you might “not pull the best looking girl at the end of the night, but at least you’ve got a result” – or something to that effect anyway. Well last night was the lass you pull after 15 pints and then finger blast down an alleyway away from onlookers… obviously this is metaphorically as most of us are indeed married, but you get the gist of the introduction.
It was the late kick off, it was raining heavy and The Revs faced league leaders Athletico Parsnips, who had themselves recruited well this season, but without any substitutes on the bench. Games Vs this lot regardless are always close, tight affairs anyway, but this season Parsnips look much livelier.
And this game was no different.
The weather stopped any potential flair football being played, it was always about grit and determination and who would blink first.
Athletico had the lion’s share of possession – but again that is nothing new as The Revs grant most opposition the ball and basically say try and beat us.
For all the possession Athletico didn’t really do any damage and resorted to long range efforts that never looked like troubling Myers in goal. In fact the first real chance came midway through the first half and it went to The Revs when a nice one two between James Evans and Hartrick put Evans in but the keeper foiled the effort by blindly diving the right way.
The favour was returned just before half time with Evans now turning provider and slotting in Hartrick, but the keeper came off his line quickly and took man and ball. Hartrick face planted the floor and all the signs pointed to a potential man down, but eventually got himself off the deck.
Half time came and the signs were positive. Keep going lads, keep going!
Everyone came out willing themselves to go that extra yard. Lewis Evans and Tyman were formidable in the middle, out muscling anyone that dared face them and Dave Pinkstone hounded every pass up top, closing down the space and forcing the error from the opposition. James Evans marshalled from the back, barking orders out and Hartrick floated around at will, being a nuisance up top and at the back. All this whilst the shape of the team was maintained meaning the defensive wall stood strong.
And this went on for what seemed like forever, but eventually the hard work was rewarded.
The opener did not come from some fancy piece of play or skill, it wasn’t a swift counter attack move that left the opposition bewildered. Instead it was a mistake… Athletico Parsnips blinked in this would be stand off and Hartrick picked the pockets. The opposition keeper and defender both looked to each other to clear the ball off the line, but only Hartrick reacted and bundled the ball in, much to the dismay of the opposition. And it got better. This time a struggling Hartrick, injury taking its toll, played a hopeful ball down the middle. Tyman did brilliantly to take the defender with him as he ran across the path of the ball. The defender panicked though and stuck out a boot diverting the ball beyond his own keeper.
Yes it wasn’t pretty, yes it wasn’t big or clever, yes it was fortunate and yes it was lucky, but in this game you earn your luck also.
It almost got even better when Tyman was again the first to react to a mistake and a loose ball on the byline but only managed to hit the side netting from an acute angle.
The opposition was shook after that, feeling aggrieved at been 2 down so late in the game. They pushed forward with minutes to go and found a lucky goal. Myers committing himself to the floor, trying to make himself big and the opposition striker deftly lifting the ball over him with a neat finish.
The opposition, in that final minute, threw everything at The Revs defence, but no one was in the mood for sharing the points and so bodies were thrown in the way of balls, desperate blocks were made and big tackles put in. The nearest they got was a ballooned ball sailing over the fence.
And then something beautiful happened as the final whistle went. The rain stopped, the clouds parted and a ray of light shone on that little bit of heaven known as pitch 3 at Saltaire, lighting up each of the 6 heroes… Well OK, no it didn’t, it got darker and the rain a little heavier, but why ruin a good yarn with the truth eh?!?!
Top of the league now and that is where the lads intend to stay!