Scorer: Adrian Smith
So the day finally came, time for the AP Old boys to don the famous shirt once more. For most it had been over a year since they’d last kicked a football. It was great to see everyone turn up on time eager to play, the changing room banter started as soon as the rather small kit was distributed, many thought we had been given a youth team kit, but sadly it was a reflection of how age had taken its toll on even the finest of athletes such as Dewy and O’Shea.
On to the game, starting line up, Addison, Allen (ed.), Foley (2mins), Hussey, Rice, Pitcher, A.Smith, M.Smith, Sanger, Fletcher and Lepowski.
First incident of the match, the 10’s very effective #5, goes flying down our left. Hussey makes a crunching challenge, their #5 lands 5 yards outside of the pitch, obvious free kick. Mysteriously, at the same time, on the other side of the pitch, our right back Foley goes down with no one near him, possibly struck by age, he retired injured but recovered enough to enjoy the bar later on. The resulting free kick was whipped in and dealt with calmly be the Vets defence. This was not the last we would see of the 10’s #5, he was a menace all day. Minutes later he popped up through the middle, Addison rushed out of his box in an attempt to clear the ball, unfortunately he missed that completely and caught the man, the oppo wanted a pen but their claims fell on deaf ears. Another free kick from a dangerous position, the free kick was struck well but Addison was equal to it, punching the ball away, this became the theme for much of the first half. Now with the first 10 minutes out of the way the Vets could relax slightly and play some football, which we did, although the 10’s did look very quick on the break especially, down their left hand side.
The deadlock was broken after about 35 mins, some good interplay from the 10’s was broken up in the Vets penalty area, quick ball was released wide to Macca, (I think), who moved it forward to Adrian Smith just inside the 10’s half, Smith ran at pace towards the 10’s penalty area beating one and being harried by another all the way, then at the angle of the 6 yard box he hit a right foot rocket shot, the ‘keeper managed to get something on it but it ended up in the back of the net, 1-0 to the Vets, much to the disbelief on the oppo. The supporters went wild.
The 10’s didn’t have to wait long to get back in the game, more good interplay from them created a half chance on the edge of the area, the shot came in, Addison punched, only for our illustrious Chairman Macca to stab it home, og, 1-1. For the Vets, strategic rolling subs and the tireless running of Adrian Smith, Mark Smith, Chris Fletcher and Doug Rice in particular meant things were all square at the half.
The half time chat was brief, mainly as we were too tired to talk too much. We knew that the oppo would be fitter than us, so we would need to keep the ball better and get them running. There were many changes at half time, in particular it was great to see Brian “the cat” King come on up front, he had some nice touches on the bobbly surface to bring other players in to play. O’Shea and Fletcher continued to work hard up front, but as the game wore on the game was being played more and more in the Vets half. Strong tackles from Findlater, A. Smith, Rice and Hussey kept the oppo outside the penalty area for most of the half, reducing them to long shots. As the oppo were getting more and more frustrated with everyone including their own players and stopped team play, players tried to break through individually but to no avail. We thought with one attack we might score and hold on to win but it wasn’t to be.
The game finished as it had started with Hussey making a strong challenge on their #5 in our penalty box. Hussey made the tackle in the 90th minute but by the time the #5 landed from some great height in the 92nd minute the ref had blown for full time, ala Clive Thomas.
A very enjoyed match, the 1-1 result probably flattered the Vets, but we were giving away on average 20 years per player so we were happy with it and happy with our overall performance. The ref, Mark Carter, had a good game and gauged the occasion perfectly.
Our 10’s possess some quality players who can certainly play higher next season. They are pacey going forward and look classy at the back. They have a vital promotion match on the horizon, and I will be amazed if they don’t win and gain promotion in their first season of competitive football playing against other Clubs 4th ,5th and 6th Teams from the SAL Southern Section, which shows great commitment.
Squad: Addison, Allen, Foley, Hussey, Rice, Pitcher, A. Smith, M. Smith, Sanger, Fletcher, Lepowski, O’Shea, King, Dewey, Etherington, Findlater, Macca, B. Edwards, C. Edwards
We need to all work on our fitness and be ready for next season’s AFA Vets Cup campaign.
Thanks to Macca for supplying and washing the many kits required, hopefully they are not stretch out of shape now, also thanks to Sergio and his team, the food provided was excellent and enjoyed by players and supporters alike.
It was great to see everyone there, wives, girlfriends, family, friends, sons and daughters. It was great to watch the current players after our game and to see the Club so busy. The AP family is growing from strength to strength, hopefully with more teams gaining promotions in the closing couple of weeks of the season.
by Chris Allen
MoM: Mark Addison