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Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Sunday Morning Footie (VIII) - Medway Turncoats

A home fixture against bottom of the league, surely a relaxing watch for the Rainham 84 faithful?

Warm up?... There was little else to do this morning than that! 2 Degrees and a biting wind, how cold? Even the local wildlife had shed all their feathers on the pitch....
There was a certain degree of expectancy about today, the league position of the opponents belied their actual ability. Our boys thought with a bit of guile and effort, a win would come their way. They did not reckon on the resistance that Cobham would put up.

The game started off with a massive amount of unforced errors on both sides. To the naked eye, the teams seemed to merge into one. Passes went from one side to the other, the engine was not firing on all cylinders.

After ten or so minutes, on walked the Gaffer from Rainham. What could possibly be the need for this unscheduled interruption?

The game was at stalemate, the weather was freezing. But no one was injured and despite the cold weather, surely we could not be calling it off just because we had not managed to put five past our lowly opposition after ten minutes?

Your intrepid reporter was looking for inspiration for his blog. None was forthcoming. The lines on the pitch, crazy though they were, could not give me any one liners. Wait long enough and it will surely come along. The boys started to remove their tops. Many a time I have been forced to play 'skins' in training and thankfully this was not one of those times for the lads.

The colours of the two sides were indeed clashing and the gaffer had seen sense to do the decent thing and get our boys to turn their tops inside out. This was a bit of a saving grace for our lad Harvey, as his number had long since fallen foul of the tumble dryer. Bit of a saving grace for this blog, hence the title!

For once, the phrase Turncoat was a charitable one. We were the home team and did not need to make such a generous gesture. But the slightly off coloured red with black flashing's, made for a rather fetching kit. Note to powers that be, next season, maybe we should go for the style whole heartedly?

The required effect was achieved. Our passing game was suddenly found once again. But half time came and stalemate prevailed.

Second half only saw a more defiant approach from the opposition. But the pressure from Rainham eventually told, with a cracking 20 yard drive from our midfielder.

Instead of moving on to a comfortable win, we saw out the remainder of the game with good defensive work from all concerned. With the way the wind was chilling the faithful support, we were all glad to hear the final whistle and the three points that came with it. Back to winning ways and a good effort all round. From both our lads and a hard working Cobham side that deserved every credit for their effort and good sportsmanship.

Procul Harlem would have been proud of this 'whiter shade of pale'

As the season moves to it's close, Rainham are starting to look to the next one. Harvey got his chance to move slightly forward and he knows it will take time to grow into the more advanced position he was offered today. But his touch and poise will serve him well, where ever he ends up.

Good win today, but I think warmer attire is required for the watching public if this global warming decides to wait a few more years to take hold. Brrrrrrrrr.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Sunday Morning Footie (VII) - Punching above your weight

Sunday morning, an away trip to the team at the top of the league, it was always going to be a battle.

The sun may have been shining, but it was seven degrees above freezing and the wind made it a lot colder.....
The boys knew today was not going to be easy, our friends in Gravesend have had a great season and with good cause. They are a well drilled bunch, with size and results on their side. It was like heading to Old Trafford, knowing that any points gained would have to be hard earned.

Before any further observations are made about today, we have to spare a thought for the havoc that has been laid down at the feet of the people in Christchurch, New Zealand. It puts everything that could have happened today in a real sharp perspective. Please take a second to read my fellow blogger Adrian's recent postings and experiences. My thoughts and my best wishes are with them today and for the harsh times that they now face. http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fkiwiscots.blogspot.com%2F2011%2F02%2Fpeople-behind-number.html&h=fe9e9 Have a read and spare a thought.

We travelled to Gravesend today with a certain degree of optimism. We gave them a run for their money at our place and today we could flex our muscles and see how far we have come as a team. Boy did we do that!

For the first ten minutes, we showed what hard effort and steel can do. Despite our lack of height, when compared to their considerable advantage, Rainham 84 showed a togetherness and willingness to compete that I have never seen in a team so young.

Every boy on our side got stuck in and followed the orders barked so well directed from the Gaffer. Our boy Harvey continued the good form he has been showing all season and put a lump in the throat of his Dad watching from the sidelines. He broke up a skillful move from the opposition and instead of hoofing the ball forward, went past three or four and set up a move that resulted in 84 taking a well deserved lead. I am glad I was standing away from the touchline, cause what I said was passionate, but unrepeatable! The finish from our Centre Forward was just sublime.

However there was always the sense that this top of the league bunch could cause us problems and with a swift break and cross, they finished with an accuracy that would have knocked the stuffing out of most. But yet again our boys stuck to their task and half time came with honours even.

The second half started in the same vein as the first. 84's passing and skill was being tested by the oppositions greater physical prowess. However we were a match for them. Every step of the way.

I honestly thought I was watching a Football match. But the referee obviously thought he was refereeing a Basketball game. I need say no more other than, you blind, stupid, daft, idiotic, fool, please spend your Sunday Mornings in bed, never ref another game in your life, do us all a favour and sell your kit at a Sunday Morning boot fair. He got a big decision hugely wrong. The blind guy walking his dog next to me saw the hand ball that led to their second goal. I hate making excuses for losing, but lose we did and to be honest, the guy in black did for the boys. It spoilt it so much for everyone. It is easy for me to say watching from the sidelines. A trip to spec savers for the ref would really not have saved the day.

I really can not praise Rainham 84 enough for the way they played today. From Keeper to Centre Forward, they played their hearts out. They deserved better care from the man in the middle. However I reckon they learned a lot today. For 40 minutes, they stood toe to toe with the Man Utd of our division. They gave away a lot in height, but matched them every step of the way in passion and beat them in the ability stakes.

There is no 'I' in team. When the lads stand together and work as a unit, they are amazing. I watched Gillingham play Bury the other week. What a bag of poo that was. Rainham 84 genuinely serve up a better fare, than that bunch of well paid individuals. I hope the boys realise that together they will beat 'top of the league' opponents on another day. On their own, well the Xbox will be their only friend.

Let us hope that Christchurch gets some respite and the good people in that part of the world get a chance to put their lives back together. Some things in life really are just not fair.