On the face of it the score looks like we took quite a beating and there is little doubt that our opponents were worthy winners not only on the night but in winning the league with 14 straight victories. However, we pushed them hard, tackling, blocking, chasing and overall working as hard as we ever have done.
It was great to have Colin back at his tenacious best for his first competitive appearance since May, Les caused plenty of problems with his movement but there was only one star man for our team on the night and that was Lawrence; he was brilliant making a number of saves including a flying dive to his right in the first half and a close range thunderbolt in the second that he gratefully kept within his grasp. He threw himself left right and centre and in the process collected so many of those irritating little black balls that I swear his top changed colour.
We even took the lead with probably one of our best goals of the season as Gordon found Les unmarked and he gave the keeper no chance. We had been under a lot of pressure but our hard team work was rewarded with a goal. Unfortunately the equaliser was conceded just before half time when although Lawrence had made yet another good save the ball fell to an unmarked Herne Bay forward who had the simplest of jobs to level the score. We did get a couple of half chances but in the end we were happy going in all square.
So the second half began and we actually had a little bit more possession and control and the match was fairly even being played at a frenetic pace (for walking football) and fiercely competitive with no quarter being given. The strong squad our opponents had for the night was alas going to make a difference as their halftime changes refreshing the team was a pivotal factor. With ten minutes left we went behind for the first time on the night. Undeterred we kept going and thought we were back level when Les tucked away what we thought was his second goal of the evening only to be called up for travelling just a little bit too quickly, what a difference that could have made.
We were to concede three goals in the last few minutes to some good finishing right in to the corner of the goal with the last one virtually the last kick of the game.
As mentioned Herne Bay fully deserved their victory and everyone at Bay City Strollers congratulate them on their unblemished season as league winners.
Thanks to Tony Old for refereeing on the night and keeping the game moving, it was competitive but played in an good spirit and an excellent example of walking football as it should be played.
So our season is over with our only defeats on the pitch courtesy of tonight’s opposition. We have definitely made progress changing the way we want to play and our formation and have a plan of how we want to move forward so that we can make improvements. We will continue to practice these in our early session on a Monday and play regular friendlies in the close season.
Many thanks to Rob Lynn for all his hard work arranging the games, booking the pitches, organising referees and getting us to the right place at the right time.
Thanks to Tony Old for his input and know how, along with being the match official on more than one occasion.
Thanks to all the players for making this such an enjoyable season despite all the injuries, ailments and medical procedures we have suffered; let’s hope we have better luck moving forward.
Our last deed for the 2022 season will take place this Thursday (1/12) where we will have a presentation followed by a curry at Minster Tandoori. I never in my wildest dreams thought this would happen after what I thought was my last game in my thirties. It is not just playing football again or even playing competitive football again but all the new friends made and the stories and memories we have made together. So let the red wine flow! and we go again next season.