Scorers: Glassar(2), Jenkins
The scene was never really set for flowing football. Old ‘Kick ‘em Off the’ Parkonians were the opposition, a ‘physical’ outfit with whom the 8s had enjoyed an ill-tempered draw back in October. Depending on how you looked at it, the Racecourse hill resembled either a medieval battle ground or a mud-wrestling arena. Man of the Match Tom Kaverne emerged from the field like a warrior from the latest Hobbit movie – a muddied bald head smeared in a manner resembling Wilson from Castaway. It wasn’t a day for the faint-hearted.
AP were prepared to work and, given the way the game flowed, the final result certainly felt like a point gained. AP were again without a keeper (an ongoing saga), and it was John Spinks who donned the green spandex this week. At the back, Cemal and Robbo enjoyed the fight, with the Aussie making a particularly memorable first-half crunching tackle in which he used the mud as a slippy slide. The ‘man on fire’ Wilson at left back put in his usual effective shift offensively and defensively, with a change of boots at half time meaning he also fell over a little bit less in the second period. Uli at right-back grew into the game and did well to get forward and support in the second half.
Despite unforgiveable tights, Laurie had a great game alongside the warrior Kaverne, picking passes and doing his very best in the conditions to get the team playing. Crawford used his pace to good effect down the right, with Boyake and Harrison causing real problems down the left. Louis held the ball up superbly, harassing defenders and working well with the ever-dependable Jenkins up top.
But AP had to come from behind. Playing uphill in the first half into a blinding sun, the 8s were finding it a little difficult to get going. A long ball over the top bounced/squelched its way through to a barrelchested striker who muscled his way past the defence and around Spinks for 1-0. The equaliser was bizarre – Boyake floated in a free-kick from the left which Uncle Fester in the Old Parks goal inexplicably tried to control with his feet. It slipped underneath for a gleeful Glassar to smash home – a howler, but a goal nonetheless – 1-1 at half-time.
With the slope and sun in their favour, the 8s were feeling confident. But it was the away side who turned up the heat early in the second half. A nippy winger wormed his way into the box and hit the deck under a challenge from Boyake – the decision was protested in vein, and the penalty smashed into the left-hand corner. 1-2. And very quickly AP had even more work to do – a slip in the mud saw a square-ball tapped in by a striker mysteriously named ‘Sausage’ (insert ‘banger’ pun here). The scoreline didn’t quite match the way the game, but it was 1-3 and the 8s had it all to do.
It wasn’t long before the 8s had a penalty of their own, Dillon tore past the right-back and was scissored down in the box. Louis belted the penalty low into the right-hand corner and it was game on. Old Parks were doing their best to wind up the 8s, and managed in particular to get under Dillon’s skin, who was replaced by Kendall as the equaliser was sought. With 10 minutes to go, the pacy Harrison was chopped down for yet another penalty – he dusted himself down to take it himself. Disaster! – Uncle Fester pulled off an unlikely save to his right, and it looked like it wasn’t going to be our day.
Wayne came on for Uli and a string of final corners saw everyone forward, goalkeeper Spinks and all, with scrambles galore. Just when all seemed lost deep in stoppage time, Harrison jinked into the box and was felled. Penalty! Jenkins, who had missed a penalty 2 weeks prior, had the chance to vanquish his demons…. GOAL! 3-3. A point rescued. Circumstances called for a Stuart Pearce Euro 96 screaming session denied in favour of the class of Jenks’ usual arm-aloft celebration. Richard called time on the battle shortly afterwards. 3-3.
MOTM was Tom Kaverne, who relished every challenge and won every header… he even relished taking the dressing room pile of brown/orange to enjoy “a proper kitwash” … Let’s hope his washing machine survives. Onto the cup and a tricky tie against a Winchmore Hill side from the division above.
Up the 8s!