Goals: McDermott (2), D. Howarth
Settling into the dressing room we noticed the immaculately pressed kit returned from McGlogan, shirts folded, socks in one bag and shorts in another, the skipper asked him if we wanted the job for the season but he politely declined.
If the kit was a good start Horner’s snood was definitely a low, bearing his name and that of his preferred shirt (14 in case you were wondering) the threat was that if he scored he’d raise over his head in celebration. If he was to repeat his last minute sliced attempt from the week before^ they’d be no danger of witnessing the debacle.
The team welcomed back Marshall in goal and Kralik into the defence. The skipper came into central midfield and Battams moved out to the right – McGoohan began up top with Tabram. The pitch at Edmonton was fairly decent for the time of year and our 3rd place opponents were a typical Norseman side, experienced and competitive.
Both teams played some good football early doors without creating too many clear cut chances. Our best efforts came from McDermott who had a few sighters testing both keeper and the blustery conditions. For all that it was disappointing to concede from a corner. An unmarked Norseman player rising highest to head in between keeper and the defender on the near post.
The man with the 50% penalty record* McGoohan summed the mood up when he told us to stop sulking and carry on the way we had been playing. We did and dominated the rest of the half but could not find the final ball. McGoohan had been swapped with McDermott and it took another Mc to show the midfield how to play a final ball. Having collected the ball at the back Pat McGlogan sauntered into midfield and chipped a ball over the last defender, McDermott latched onto before the beanpole keeper could and finished with a well judged lob.
That came just before half time and it was clear that we were feeling confident and happy with the way we were playing. More of the same was needed and that exactly what we did. We were organised at the back, dominant in midfield and a threat up front – Tabram particularly doing well when holding the ball up or turning his aging opponents.
Still for all the domination we couldn’t break the deadlock. The skipper, having been told by the opposition that he was “winning everything”® decided it was time for changes and D. Howarth came on for Tabram and Shaw came on for Battams with 25 to go. D. Howarth made an immediate impact when he connected with a McDermott corner and headed into the far corner. The goal had been coming and it felt like we’d go on and see the game out.
Unfortunately we had a momentary lapse and first Kralik brought down a Norseman attacker but the ref waved play on which saw another Norseman attacker round Donnelly, the defender pulling down the striker on the edge of our box. Penalty. Marshall was sent the wrong way and we were all square.
Having come from behind to take the lead against a highly placed team and then to find ourselves all square it bodes well for the rest of the season that we continued to play football. The best of which saw D. Howarth release Shaw down the wing who clipped the ball in for McDermott to fire in from close range. Better was to come soon after when after a passing team move found Horner who crossed for McDermott to head home for a hat trick, only to be denied by the referee who decided that he was offside.
Our first away win of the season confirmed we retired to the clubhouse with a celebratory jug to eat cold pies and watch Phil Thompson blow a gasket whilst covering the Arsenal game. Good times.
^thanks for reminding me to include that.
*insisted on clarification after being called the penalty misser last week.
®a conclusion that I’d disagree with vehemently.
TEAM: Marshall, Kralik, Taylor, Donnelly, McGlogan, Battams (Shaw), K. Howarth (C), McDermott, Horner, McGoohan, Tabram (D. Howarth).