Squad for today:
So on the day the World Cup gets underway the Strollers took on Ramsgate in what is surely the purist format of the game. Walking football has been a revelation to us of the older generation, trouble is those that take part in competitive games still desperately want to win and still debate what we could have done better and bemoan decisions that don’t go our way. Having said that, this was a match played in the right spirit with decisions accepted with the result in the balance until the very end. If the World Cup is played with the same desire and honesty then we are in for a treat.
Ramsgate started really well and it was only Lawrence that kept them out with a finger tip save in the first minute. Too often we gave the ball away cheaply and really couldn’t get going at all, this gave the away team the impetus to press forward and although we defended a couple of dangerous free kicks the opening goal was not far off. Again some very poor passing gave possession away and presented Chris with the opportunity to open the scoring with a low finish past the unsighted Lawrence. Now and again we did keep the ball quite well but did very little to trouble Rob in goal for the visitors and the half finished with Ramsgate deservedly ahead.
The half time chat was centred around us keeping possession better and being more positive when we could, being braver and more forceful with our passing.
We equalised after just a minute or two into the second half. It would be nice to say it was a well worked move or a 10 yard screamer but no, we had a shot well saved and Toony showed great tenacity to get to the rebound first hooking the ball back in to the area and deflecting in to get us back on level terms. In the process Toony could have suffered a serious injury as he was bundled in to the perimeter fence but fully deserved getting on the score sheet for his determination alone.
One each and the game changed, we at last started to enjoy more controlled possession and took a firm grip on the game. Again the winner wasn’t the best worked move but Toony after sitting out for a few minutes to clear his head was in the right place at the right time to square to Les to tap in to an empty net, 17 for the season for Les a great effort.
We were much better in the second half, Gordon had a couple of efforts well saved, Michael had some good hold up play and tried his best to involve a sleepy midfielder with no success. Les was his competitive best and along with Mike endured some tough tackling. Lawrence was ever dependable but my player of the match was Toony for his energy and enthusiasm.
Despite the best efforts of Posty and Simon we managed to stay mostly in control with some smart possession and saw the game out for an extremely hard fought victory.
To be honest the result could have been very different if it wasn’t for the half time break where we regrouped to put in a more disciplined and ultimately winning performance.
Many thanks to Tony Old for refereeing a very competitive game where both teams gave their all.
Hands were shaken and we retreated to the bar for some well deserved refreshments, thankfully the alcohol ban doesn’t reach this far.