Worthing & Horsham District Sunday League – Vets Division Sunday 8th April 2018 – Durrington Rec, Worthing
Goring Rangers Vets 1 (0) – Hills Farm Lane Vets 1 (1)
Manager – Mark Murphy
The first game in the League Champions deciders and Hills Farm fought out a tough battle in foul conditions on a typically muddy pitch. Murph organised a nice and early meet and The Farm turned up with an hour to spare at a deserted ground with no sign of the opposition who were obviously trembling in their duvets at the prospect of facing Big D, Tommy and Boyley at their meanest! After Sean had done his bit for the team and Durrington council by clearing up loads of dogs mess it became apparent that we were at the wrong ground so in wacky races style several cars zoomed off following the speeding leader up cul de sacs and side streets. When the leader turned out to be a puzzled and visibly shaken old lady in a Nissan Micra – NOT Lordy in his shiny limo – someone had the bright idea of using Google Maps and the right place was found with half an hour to spare.
Playing in their change all yellow kit with new green socks (Green?? yes, Grubbs, Green!) Hills Farm started well despite the pitch and the “in your face” attitude of the home team. Keeper Matt Dormer was well protected and had no serious shots to deal with, protected by the strong, 4 man, defence in front of him of Chris Lord, Tommy Burnside, Sean O’Costello and Kevin “Boyley” Boyle. Indeed it was a fantastic ball from out wide left by the boy Boyley Boyle that brought the opening goal with Gavlar Edwards racing in from his berth on the right flank to take the ball in his stride and hammer it past the home keeper. The game ebbed and flowed for a while with Rangers striving to break through but Matt was still virtually a spectator as The Farm battled hard. Left wing wizard Atomek somethingski was in full flow and the centre mids of Liam Kelly and Carl McEwen battled ferociously, Carl heroically so as he suffered an ankle injury just 5 minutes in. Upfront, Dan Purchase was full of running and made a right nuisance of himself as he chased down every ball and was unlucky not to have a chance for the goal he deserved, Supported by Big Darron in his best position up front, the pair gave Rangers so much to think about that they couldn’t commit numbers forward.
Half time came with the narrow lead of 1-0 to protect so Murph, instead of learning from bitter past experience, decided to go three at the back (without telling Sean but everyone else who was in earshot) and put three in midfield. Gareth, the boyo, Jones came on to protect the back three with Carl whilst Boyley boy came off suffering from a head injury suffered in a collision with Big D. The team isn’t really used to this rocket science formation and Murphs vision of the two wing backs dropping back to provide a defensive back 5 never really happened and the game opened up. It looked, however, that the gamble had paid off when after good work from Karim on the right a low ball fizzed across the six yard box for Tomek to finish at the far post. Gavin had been about to side foot home when he was clattered from behind and tumbled into the keeper who ended up in the back of the net. The referee awarded the goal and Hills Farm prepared to restart amidst loud protests from the home side. 2-0 would have been game set and match to use the wrong metaphor but eventually the home sides loud protests fell on the refs not deaf enough ears and after consulting the home linesman he was bullied into disallowing the goal. An atrocious decision, made worse by the refs admission that he was “got at”. He was later to disallow what looked a good goal for Rangers, possibly in balance, but its pretty safe to say that 2-0 would have been game over! Hills Farm battled on but the home team were buoyed by realising they had 12 men and soon afterwards equalised when a fast break into the left back position where there was no left back, cos Murph had gone back three without telling Sean and didn't know the Polish for “wing back”, resulted in a low hard cross being thumped home by the big marauding striker who celebrated like he’d just won the world cup at sumo wrestling! The game seemed to stretch on for ever after that and was nail biting stuff. The home team had their “2nd” goal chalked off before Hills Farm could’ve should’ve would’ve won it with two clear breakaway chances that weren’t converted.
Game over, honours even, and both teams head for the 3G at Steyning next sunday for the decider. Hills Farm need a point or a win to clinch the league whilst Rangers must win both this, and their other remaining game, to close the 6 points gap.
M.O.M – Chris Lord AND Gavin Edwards – votes shared.
Gavin Edwards (1)