LCWM45 vs Clarke Rd 10/05/2008

Lane Cove West 2 Clarke Road 5

10 May 2008, Primrose

Today the bubble burst, we came down to earth with a bang, had cold water poured all over us etc.


We started the day top of the table, and are now 6th – just two places above St Ives who this morning were bottom, with no points at all. But Clarke Road are good – will beat most teams, and we’re still level with them on points, and only one from the top.


This was probably our first ever game against Clarke Road. And what preceded it was certainly our first appearance on the BBC! Their radio story about obesity in sport will be fascinating to hear – especially as each interview was done tantalizingly just out of earshot of the rest of the squad. And we can expect Howard to be whisked away to the manager’s job at the Reebok shortly after his pre-game motivational speech makes it to air.


Despite the warnings (& the pre-game motivation) we started a lot slower than Clarke Road, and on the small pitch were often in trouble early on. It was no surprise when a flowing move brought them a goal, and at 0-1 early on, it all looked distinctly pear-shaped (as obesity can).


But fortitude was the order of the day. We held on, gradually getting back into the game, and our revival was capped by another spectacular goal from Peter. James’s telling corner to the far post picked Peter out perfectly, and his header was skillfully placed to evade all the defenders on its way back to the top corner: 1-1.


But Clarke Road soon hit back with a goal that was almost the mirror image, except that the header bounced on its way to the top corner, rather than taking the direct route: 1-2.


In retrospect, it was the next period that cost us the game. Firstly our defence was caught in possession, and Clarke Road’s forwards very sharply pounced: 1-3.


Then a cross (or was it a corner?) made it to the far post where Tim could only head into the net. The word from those nearer than your correspondent, who was skulking on the touchline at the time, was that the ball was already over the line. Whatever: it was 1-4.


Did half-time find us despondent? It did not. The BBC recorded more stirring words, and into battle we marched again. With a curious fighting formation, it is true, including 3 forwards, two of whom were Eric & Howard, usually seen in more southerly positions.


This brought no goals, and we soon reverted to a more conventional line-up. But something was working, as Clarke Road now looked a much less potent force.


But time was going by, and the game drifting away, before a measure of excitement was added by a goal from us. James, again, had the vital assist. This time he was doing his now well-known terrier impersonation, snapping at the throat of a defender who was struggling to head the ball away near the right touchline. The ball came sideways, the ‘keeper obligingly came off his line and I lobbed it over him; one bounce and in: 2 -4, and still quite a while to go.


Another goal for us would have made things really interesting, and we plugged away. A good far-post cross from Bob on the right (we’re due for one of those to produce a goal again) had several forwards queuing up. But the defenders had poor queuing etiquette, and pushed in ahead.


We never really created another clear-cut chance, and meantime Clarke Rd were getting second wind. A late-ish goal from them brought the final score to 2-5: perhaps flattering them a bit, but there was no doubting that we were second best today.


I was third in the man-of-the-match voting, which just goes to show that a goal near the end, and not much else, beats excellent game-long performance. After the result was announced, we all said we’d voted for James, and would have suspected that Ernie had been studying the Mugabe election manual had his own name featured in the final frame. But no, Matt and Bob tied for first place, and deservedly so for energetic and skillful play. But there were many other good performances, and as we all know (at least when we lose) it matters not whether you win or lose but how you play the game. And today’s was a good game, played in a good spirit by both sides (with a sensible ref), at a cracking pace. Obesity? Fat chance!