M7 0-5 L v Doncaster 6
DONE OVER BY DONNY
After getting bashed around by Barnsley the previous Saturday, conceding 9 goals, it was with some trepidation that we approached our latest fixture: Table-topping Doncaster! A quick check on availability seemed to suggest that we would be better challenging them to a five-a-side match. Ten players unavailable? Where are they all? Skiing was the favourite pastime it seemed (Tom, Adam, Zak, Oliver, and maybe some more), Jamie was continuing his tour of Europe (Paris this week), and Oscar S was off to Filey,( to take a bracing dip in the North Sea? In February?). Why couldn’t they all do something less dangerous, like hockey training for instance? Whoops, no, not that – Kip turned his ankle at training on Wednesday – 11 players unavailable!
We managed eventually to cobble together a fine balance of youth and experience (11 of them) and sallied forth into the Yorkshire rain. Doncaster fairly quickly showed us why they are top of the league by slotting 4 goals efficiently past us with precise team play. Highlight of the first half came, however, from Ian Russell. Vexed and frustrated by some regular stick tackling he decided to stop and pick the ball up, mid-play; then realising that the umpires hadn’t blown the whistle, threw the ball down again and carried on .... classic, Ian! To increase our troubles, Darren Carter then had to depart the pitch with that old farmer’s problem – trouble with his calves.
We took stock at half-time: Down to 10, and now Luke Russell was looking decidedly sick with a chest infection. Andy Robinson had the best idea: the second half should all be about damage limitation. Personally, I thought we could at least force a draw, if not sneak a win, but I was prepared to follow his plan: Slow it down at very opportunity, take our time over every free hit, and launch the ball upfield without too much finesse. This proved highly effective and we only conceded once more, the result of an outrageously dangerous high cross into the D which the tall striker nodded home. Praise to our midfield players who worked so hard, particularly Matt Dewhurst, Ravi Padam, Kris Woolhouse and Harry Curtis; great debut match from Abi M at left half, and an unflappable performance from Oscar J in goal, calmly swatting high shots away as if they were no more than flies. Fantastic use of experience from Andy Robinson too! We live to fight another day....