Scorers: OG (though Pagdin claiming it), Tullet (pen)
With Mr Brough injuring his back from trying to pick up his wallet without assistance, the Sevens turned to their slightly more portly but infinitely better looking vice captain to guide them through a potentially spiky fixture against our local rivals. The omens were good from the start, as 13 players (rather than the usual 9) turned up on time with the added bonus of a new 9 foot tall German Goalkeeper who makes Oliver Khan look puny.
Fate struck us an early blow as we lost the toss and were forced to go downhill first, but this gave us the opportunity to exploit Tullet’s pace and Fletcher’s aggression and experience to boss the game from the front. Despite Fletcher being caught offside some 915 times in the first 10 minutes, we were well on top with chance after chance falling our way. With better finishing we could have had the game won in the first 20 but our first goal came from a generous gift from the opposition. Pagdin flighted what can only be described as a wonder ball into the box from a free kick. The totally unplayable nature of the cross left the oppo centre back no choice but to head past his own keeper.
New 7s man Richard Bowhill was dominating the midfield and both wingers were getting balls into the box (for the first time this season). After once such cross and a melee in the box, a Vamps defender clearly handled the ball and we were awarded the pen. Fletch glowered at me as I asked Tullet to take the pen but my decision was vindicated when he put the pen away with disdainful ease. We continued to attack and both strikers had a number of chances but we failed to put them away.
The second half was a different story as the Vamps pushed our defence hard with the slope against them. Laurant and Ryan were magnificent at the back, repelling long ball after long ball and with Manu dominating his area and scaring the hell out of both sides with his commanding presence and booming voice, we did not look like conceding. However, life in the 7s in not that easy – what seemed like a great tackle from new man Josh Hyde in the box was deemed dangerous by the ref and the Vamps got a lifeline from a rather harsh penalty. Manu got a hand to the spot kick but much to his wrath, the ball crept into the net. The last ten mins were difficult as we started to lose players through cramp and injury but we battled for everything and managed to hang on for the win.
So a first win of the season and a great performance. Fitness and confidence seem to be returning and every single player gave absolutely everything. Let’s keep this up and get our season going in the right direction.