LCWM45 vs Prouille 31/05/2008

Prouille 1, Lane Cove West 4

31 May 2008, Commenara

Man Utd 4, Benfica 1. 29 May 1968, Wembley

 

Forty years and two days ago, another 4-1 victory. Man Utd and Matt Busby finally won the Holy Grail, the quest for which had consumed a team at Munich ten years earlier. And guess what? Man Utd had a captain called Bobby, who scored two goals, and so did we today!

 

Today brought our last four wins to 16-1 in aggregate (and the 1 was unfortunate: see below). A draw and a win punctuated those wins, but when we win, we win big.

 

The pattern of play is becoming consistent, too. When we win, it’s usually because we score early, settle down, play good football, create lots of chances, blow too many of them, but nonetheless gradually accumulate goals.

 

And so it was today, but with a twist: a goal from our opponents canceling our early strike. But this time (unlike our drawn Kissing Point game) we kept to the script and came thorough comfortably in the end.

 

Early on, Prouille showed a bit of useful speed and skill up front. But we settled ourselves down with another perfect corner from James. With a variation. I was on the near post. James called my name. The ball curled right to me, and was deflected into the net: 1-0. But how the ball got to the net is a bit of a mystery. I ducked: not as a cunning wheeze, I fear - just self-protection. Then I think it hit a defender behind me. But what mattered was that it was in, and we were on a way.

 

Then the misfortune. I regret that it began with me: lost the ball into touch unnecessarily, around the half-way line. A slick move took the ball to our area. Tony had the shot covered, but then it squirmed behind him, before he grabbed it back. What we really didn’t need at this point was a diligent linesman, but there he was, on the goal-line and flagging with such enthusiasm you’d think he scored it himself: 1-1.

 

But not for long. No doubt lacking confidence in my ability to keep ducking at the right moment, James reverted to the corner that hangs over the penalty spot for someone – this time Bob – to power in and head home: 2-1.

 

Prouille now lost belief and confidence, and we found it. More chances came and went before half-time: Matt and James chasing everything, Dave getting in some good headers, pin-point corners floating over. A good time was had by all.

 

At half-time we were joined by Alan, making his debut for us, and his fresh legs in the defence were very welcome, as the day was hot, and Prouille still weren’t lying down. 

 

But the story of the second half was mostly us almost scoring, but doing so only twice.

 

Firstly, a low cross from the right (by Dave?) was very smartly met by Bob and rifled in.

 

Then an historic moment: a goal from Ernie! Shimmies into the area, seems to be blocked, is taking too long. No, he’s created space again and there it is: beaten the keeper, and it’s 4-1.

 

Archivists are still working on when it was that Ernie last scored. Certainly it was in that larger portion of the previous millennium before records were computerized. Parchment or stone tablet might be where the answer is found.

 

In the meantime, we hit the woodwork twice, and Jon B got himself on the end of a free-kick but not onto the scoresheet, when the execution of his far-post header failed to do justice to set-up.

 

So a satisfactory result, but could still do better, as my school reports used to say. Will need to do better, indeed, against better teams. But then we always seem to. The trick is to play well even when our opponents aren’t.

 

Jon was third in the man-of-the-match voting, for solid defence, as well as forays upfield. Matt was second for the usual non-stop enthusiastic chasing. And Bob was the winner: as a double goal scorer should be (and as his namesake Bobby Charlton probably was 40 years ago when their equivalent of Ernie – Nobby Stiles comes to mind – tallied up the team’s voting slips in the dressing room at Wembley).

 

Thanks again to Phil for organizing the subs.

 

MARK BRYANT