Not often these days we play teams with longer histories than ourselves but Charlemont’s 1957 beats our 1991 hands down. More interestingly, given we had never played each other before today, is the fact that we once shared a player (when they were Sunday League) whom both Andy and I described as a ‘legend’ and who was there today to watch a terrific game of football. Alun Inett played for best part of twenty years for Rowley as firstly an immaculate centre back and latterly (after an injury) as our keeper while he was banging in plenty of goals every Sunday for Charlemont. As Kovacs’ Kolumn sensibly suggested these two sides had struggled to score goals so a 0-0 was a distinct possibility but football being what it is what we got instead was a 4-4 draw!
We had a full bench for pretty much the first time this season and used all three subs but this was a frustrating game for us. Charlemont are a skilful young side who play the right way in the right spirit and a draw was definitely the right result but we gave them a couple of goals at least today and thus were chasing it for much of the game. Ironically our unsettled morning started in the best possible way as Christie (who started up top in Hunter’s absence) took advantage (Henry-like) of defensive hesitation to score pretty much straight from the kick off. Looking back this was perhaps not the advantage it should have been as we seemed a little shocked ourselves and Charlemont were quickly at us.
Before we knew it, it was 1-2 and to cap it all we had been forced to replace Nathan Hylton, the driving force it our midfield: luckily Leon was available from the bench which offered more movement up front, while Christie dropped into his midfield schemer role. Charlemont’s first goal was helped by deflection early in the move but well worked and taken but their penalty was precipitated by a rash challenge by Lance. Luckily Lance, who had another good game today immediately redeemed himself , playing in Leon for a fine finish. There followed our best period of the game (up to half time) but they defended well.
Second half down the slope should have been an extension of this pressure. Mark said all the right things at half time and out we came with vigour. Sadly in their first attack our tentative defending presented Charlemont with the ball and a sweeping move and sweet finish made it 2-3. Much of the rest of the half was enterprising but not quite conclusive: lots of attacking play, not many saves. Then Olly’s through ball found Leon who rounded the keeper for 3-3 (giving him 5 goals in 180 minutes this season) and we got interested again in the possibility of another three points. In fact we contrived another deficit when the ball rolled over Chris’ foot to set Charlemont up. Suddenly even a point looked unlikely but a flowing move with five minutes to go set up Ben for another late goal. All the best to Charlemont. Also thanks to three good officials today: Graham, Ian and Terry!