Phantom Feet and un checked Momentum
MBBO Div 10
Aylesbury 5ths 0 Banbury 4ths 0
After scraping a significant layer of ice from the windscreen for the early morning drive down to Aylesbury, there was a suspicion that this was going to be yet another hockey free weekend for the men’s 4ths. The last game played was back in 2014! However the bright sunshine had bathed the pitch, and play was confirmed. What was not so simple (albeit we made it more complicated) was getting to the right ground! 10 players managed to make it for pushback, so with nothing to lose, Banbury adopted a 3-3-3 aggressive formation. To complete the shake up, regular star keeper Jamie Lamb donned a white shirt and played outfield and George Wilkes made his debut as keeper.
The Aylesbury team were unsettled by the number of Banbury player piling forward from the push back, and when they eventually got possession, gave it back cheaply. With Aylesbury unable to make the extra man count, Banbury should have capitalised, but the long Christmas break had made accuracy of passing very rusty. Banbury did get the ball into the net, however after vigorous challenging by the defenders, and the umpires lengthy consultation, a short was (correctly) awarded. The keeper had punted the ball in high in the air from a Stuart Ralph effort and Mike Robinson took the ball just above his shoulder, taking the sting out of it, before slamming it home.
Banbury were soon up to 11 and readjusted to something resembling a 4-4-2. Play was relatively even, for the majority of the match, but Banbury wound up the pressure for the last 10 minutes of the game.
Throughout the second half, it seems Banbury must have been wearing clown shoes, with the flow of the game being broken up by foot offences not seen or felt by players from either side. Deep discussions were had between the umpire and a few Banbury players, who were struggling to stop the momentum of Christmas pudding and mince pies, ending up with unintentional body contact. Whilst Frank Lambert continued in his quest to make friends with all the counties umpires, John Davis and Adrian Lamb were unusually un controversial. Whilst these robust negotiations ended with a green card, the game was played in a true friendly spirit on both sides. George kept a clean sheet, with some confident clearances. Adrian Lamb gave the opposition lots to worry about, with strong tackles and searching long balls. Knowing we have to sharpen up our passing next week, back in the league, spirits were high and it was the right result for the day. Adrian Lamb was man of the match.