This was the day which arrives most seasons and which you hope won’t be repeated. With three first teamers already away (although not with enough notice to allow us to arrange a free date) we then had that genuine amateur football routine ‘the disappearing team’ with three more unavailable by kick off! Fact is, we only just had eleven by the minute’s silence and this included both a Craig Micklewright whose injuries mean he has no more than a half in him and emergency signing Nick Hadley, a veteran of our 2002 league title win who was looking for ten minutes (he hasn’t played for four years), and all this against a skillful and energetic City Church side ready to take full advantage.
Not that we failed to give them a game. For much of the encounter we gave City plenty to think about but whereas they had and used three subs we didn’t even have eleven fit players. They also have, in Atkins and Yeo, a very potent front two who worked brilliantly together and they opened us twice in the first half to decisive effect. Our only threat came from a couple of corners and a beautiful chip from Nick that put Sammy in (but his header was comfortably saved). Obviously in these kinds of adversity you need something properly to play for so Mark was keen at 0-2 half time to have a proper go moving to 4-3-3 in the hope of getting a goal back. This resulted in a much more even and attractive game with chances for both sides and terrific performances in midfield from Nathan but also the unfamiliar pairing of Dave and Clive. Leon also put in a terrific if thankless shift. Even when City got the vital third goal we didn’t give up and got our reward when Craig finished back post with still 18 minutes left. Sadly this was the final throw since City responded in exactly the best way and scored straight from the restart. They added a fifth before the whistle. Jon Nelson was excellent with the whistle today.