Molesey Juniors 3   Chiddingfold 1

League 7th March 2004

And he smelled of curry …’

Will H, describing the Molesey striker he was marking, who kept standing in front of our keeper

 

One of the glories of football is it’s unpredictability. The best team doesn’t always win, sometimes you can snatch an undeserved victory and, like life, you don’t always get out of it what you put into it. And who would have it any other way?

Well, at 11.20 this morning, me actually.

Any neutral observer would agree that the boys deserved at least a point out of this match, and could easily have won it.

In the first half particularly, the chaps were magnificent. The concentration in training on passing and movement - not giving the ball away easily, keeping possession - is really paying dividends. Warwick, who has missed the last couple of weeks’ training, was really impressed at how good the boys looked when they get going.

We got off to a very bright start, with Chidd applying most of the pressure. We were first to the ball and tried to keep it on the ground, not just hoof it up to our tall players, like Molesey. When they did break clear, Molesey could never get past sweeper Rupert, who made one especially brilliant recovery on five minutes, enabling in-form James in goal to make a brave save at the feet of the Molesey striker. In fact James was always reliable when called upon throughout the match, making several smart saves look easy. He is also improving all the time at commanding his area.

The boys looked dangerous up front and on ten minutes some great pressure down the left from Man of the Match Will, saw him interact beautifully with Jonno and put a magnificent cross across the face of the goal, agonisingly with no-one quite close enough to put the ball away.

The whole of the first half followed this pattern, of Chidd having good possession and looking most likely to score, with Molesey pumping the ball up and over for occasional breakaways.

There is a real shape and sense of organisation to the boys now, with Rupert coolly sweeping up at the back, the back line of Lewis, John T (in full battling mode), Jonathan B and Dan  – later joined by Steve, Josh and Kirk – virtually impregnable, Eddie, Hassie and Will working their socks off in midfield and Scott prompting Jonno up front.

Then, just before half-time, we got the goal we deserved. A free kick from just inside the half-way line was lofted beautifully into the box by Rupert, the goalkeeper couldn’t hold it and it was in the net, to ecstasy on the Chidd touchline. 1-0 and we were in the driving seat.

We knew Molesey would come out strongly in the second half but no-one imagined what followed – a mix-up in defence, under no pressure, gifted Molesey the equaliser on about the second minute.

One-all and the boys were rocked back on their heels, but grimly kept going and began to get back into the game. Most of the second half was an end-to-end, gripping tussle with no quarter asked or given. Then, about half-way through, Molesey counter-attacked from more Chidd pressure and lobbed James, 1-2. They celebrated as though they had won the World Cup.

Now it was time to go for broke. Rupert was pushed up front in a last fifteen minutes of risky, all-out attack. Jonathan B and Jonno held together the back line in his absence, allowing John T to push up as well.

The chaps laid siege to the Molesey goal. A superb Will cross found Kirk out on the left. He battled through down to the touchline and shot from wide on the left for what would have been goal of the season. The ball just skidded past the top corner.

Then, as the seconds ticked away, Eddie dribbled through to the left of the Molesey area, crossed superbly across the open goal, straight to Rupert who blazed the ball inches over the crossbar, to the agony of the supporters.

Then, as luck would have it, from what should have been 2-2, within seconds it was a cruel 1-3, when Molesey undeservedly scored on the break. The boys still kept fighting and putting on the pressure, but there was no comeback.

Although we were all gutted at the unfairness of the result, it was a magnificent performance and showed conclusively that there is no team in the Premier Division that we couldn’t beat on our day.

More important, the boys are really beginning to move up a league in the way they play the game and, at their best, are starting to look like Gilching and Send – the genuinely impressive footballing teams we have faced.