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Chiddingfold 0   Croydon Juniors 7 (County Cup 2nd Round)

 

6th November 2005

 

‘You broke our washing machine.’

Martin Lloyd

 

Another spirited performance from the chaps against an excellent team on a mudbath of a pitch.

We played Croydon several years ago, also in the County Cup, and lost 8-0 (Man of the Match James Owers if memory serves) so we knew they were likely to be good. What we didn’t tell the boys was that they beat Bookham 14-1 in the previous round.

From the off it was clear we had a stiff challenge on our hands. Croydon were another physically huge team but also very well organised and with excellent link up play, even in the mud. In spite of the conditions it was also a good clean game with little niggling, dissent or bad tackling.

Inevitably the defence was going to be under a lot of pressure and today they excelled themselves. Without captain Jon B, Josh and Daryl threw themselves through the mud time and again to break up Croydon attacks and joint Men of the Match Kirk and Theo in central defence were absolutely outstanding, retaining their composure under sustained pressure.

Behind them was the third Man of the Match Mike in goal, who made a series of impressively brave and quick saves at the feet of the Croydon strikers, not to mention several spectacular full length dives. Without those three playing at the top of their game, the score would have been much closer to Bookham’s.

Hassie and Tom worked hard in central midfield, with Will, Steve, Dan and Jamie in support, but against such large players, it was a struggle not to be overrun.

It was 5-0 at half-time but there was no sympathy for anyone tempted to give up and the coaches were enormously proud of the way the chaps came out for the second half determined to take the game to Croydon. The fact that they only managed two more goals in that half says it all.

The truth was we created enough chances to score three or four goals on another day, and Scott led the front line with typical verve, in spite of suffering the lingering side effects of the previous week’s tackle. TK was a bustling presence as well, also struggling with a vulnerable hamstring, and Anthony, who has advanced in leaps and bounds this season, put himself about well in the second half.

Morale remained high throughout the match, a great tribute to the boys’ spirit, to the extent that several of them couldn’t resist the temptation to dive full-length into the mudbath around the centre spot when the final whistle blew. In fact the kit was so incredibly wet and grotty, that it literally took two hands to carry. More than that, Mike's grandmother, who had the unenviable job of doing the wash that week, found that all her efforts at doing the wash gradually were in vain – the washing machine broke down (as indeed did Martin).

Ah well, in the immortal words of managers through the ages – at least we’re free to concentrate on the league now. On to New Haw – three points please!