Let me warn you now. All top sport journo’s write with a hint of sarcasm in any good match report and this will be no different. It was a typically dull, grey, blustery, wet and cold mid autumn afternoon for this mouth watering Sunday league clash against Queens Park. Fox Sports had surprisingly chosen to go with some live AFL game with an egg shaped thing instead of setting up the camera’s down on pitch 28 Queens Park, their loss….
The warm ups are just getting better and better for Barnstoneworth with each game that passes, and this was extra special. On a Wembley like surface, we chose to boot the ball at each other for at least 5 mins, then chuck a couple of headless chickens in a circle for the next couple of mins…go on boy, chase the ball boy…go on, chase it boy. Who’s a good boy…. there’s a bone…..good boy. That was enough in this searing heat. Even Robopotter turned to me and smiled, ’I’ve got a sweat on already Chrissy!!’ Something to do with all the under 7 boys and girls matches on the nearby pitches I fear rather than a 5 minute professional Barnstoneworth warm up….
So, with no sign of Abdul Asprilla AGAIN for kick off, parking his hummer up the road no doubt and dealing with the paparazzi …….this week’s excuse I’m guessing…….which I missed, BECAUSE I WAS PLAYING AND I WAS ON TIME!! For those of you who are unfamiliar with the premiership legend that was Newcastle’s Tino Asprilla, he was a magician in many ways, scored unbelievable goals, when he could be bothered to turn up on the day. Some games would run a defence ragged, other games he’d disappear as if he wasn’t on the pitch at all or lose his head and plough into a couple of defenders then chuck his shirt off in disgust at his manager for substituting him, so a good link to Abdul I feel for the future. ‘He was known by his supporters in his home country as The Octopus for his flexible and fluid style’. Nice reference. Anyway I digress in a Ben Tool Shed style, one day he’ll understand that ‘meet 45 mins before kickoff’ actually means try and arrive 45 mins before the football game kicks off please Abdul…tricky one aint it!!
Luckily we had subs this week…which was nice, so the starting 11 got stuck in with some good hoofs up front and missed placed passes, a confident start. With some 10 ft bounces in the middle of the park due to the gorgeous rock hard surface, this was never gona be a pretty match, and with Garnsey playing, as I said, it was never gona be a pretty match…………the poor 5 spectators….I felt for them.
A couple of decent corners for Barnstoneworth led to a couple of half decent chances in the first 15-20 mins, one header in particular should have been put away although again not pretty stuff to watch or play in for that matter. Queens Park weren’t troubling the aging Barnstoneworth defence, so it was good I put some factor 30 on pre-kick off. Manager Sean decided to make a change and spark us into life with Abdul Asprilla. First involvement was for Abdul to plough heavily into a defender for a foul within the 1st minute of him being on the pitch, 2nd involvement was a very interesting throw-in that involved not stopping at any point and just chucking the ball in whilst on the run….god knows why the ref blew for a foul throw!!!
Queens Park started winning a few things in the middle, pressurising our left side and had a couple of chances in the last 15 mins, but nothing too worrying for big Brian Fagan in the goal who was catching some good rays today with little to do. For once the big man wasn’t sweating, staggering and whispering feck…. drink….. bra….. guinness to himself in his dulcet irish tones. Possibly down to a worryingly significant lack of booze over the weekend, still it seemed to focus him better today so I’m all for this reduction in alcohol the night before and in bed before 11pm. Not that I knew he was in bed before 11pm…honest….Brian…..don’t say a word yeah ; )
John G was starting to get some good ball down the right and use his trickery at times, god I’ve missed those fast toned tanned irish thighs sprinting down the right over the past few weeks……it’s good to have you back volcano boy! Anyway, Baz and Benny G’s blistering pace wasn’t quite getting us in behind their defence and they were holding tight, just. Baz had a couple of half chances again to get a shot on for us, but just missed out. It would be battle with himself around goals or cards today, who would win?
The 1st half finished with a good move for B’Worth, getting Ben Tool Shed Grant in behind their young defence (‘ben’, ‘young’ and ‘in’ have been spoken about before but not during a football game I might add….) Ben couldn’t quite get hold of the horrendous bounce that followed and a good effort just went over the bar which ended the first half.
We took to some shade for a Sean and Chris tag team whinging session of highish proportions. ‘EH, F***ing cheer up and play football would ya’ one small scouse lad shouted. No effort, no interest, NO FOOTBALL some of the other language used but we re-grouped and got ready for a hot second 45 mins against a team much younger. It could be a long 2nd half after that 1st half performance.
Angry Adam L decided to kick a few people to rally the troops into some effort. Similar to last week then, and the week before, and….
Baz decided to have a good whinge to the ref early on and collected a card in his cards v goals personal battle. 1-0 to cards for Baz.
A couple of half decent attacks again nearly resulted in Barnstoneworth getting a goal. Dan T in particular may score from a towering header one day…….not today though. Adam, can you give him some practice please at training! I’m not voting for Dan T again this week I thought to myself, rubbish header. I forget the other effort we had, you gotta remember I don’t venture past the half way line much and my eyesight ain’t what it used to be.
A nasty looking twist to his one real leg caused robopotter to pull up and cry for help. Having one real leg obviously puts a great deal of strain taking the weight of the plastic one as you can imagine, and at last, it had unfortunately given way to the pressures of this level of football.
A sub defender was required. Could it be time? So much talk of it coming soon? Would he do it? Could he manage it? HE DID!! Brian jogs up and hands Chris a bottle of water. YOU BEAUTY, boy did I need that. Cheers fella! Oh yeah, Sean came on too…
Weird Adam had a dabble against the long throwing left siders but the crowd sensed the managers decision. The time had come!!! The player manager felt his VAST VAST experience was required to lift his troops. Well he settled in nicely with a couple of wayward headers, it’s good to have him back oh yeah.
So after a few more attacks and Queens Park having a sniff in our box, (easy Garnsey easy), we pushed on. Another telling attack resulted in a corner to Barnstoneworth. A long corner was dealt with only for the ball to come back into the box, it’s PINBALL TIME AGAIN! Bing bing bing bong…..1000 points…….extra life, and it falls to Abdul 7 yards out. Could he match Ben T Sheds pinball finish v Dunbar…….GOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAALLLLL! Asprilla does it, thank god!! It’s Octopus time the crowd roar.
The next few minutes involved some more midfield tennis and Queens Park having a decent chance which went a foot wide of the post, Brian and myself enjoyed that one with a high five. The commitment kept up, too much in the end with Jonesy flying in for the ball and taking out Baz and a player by the looks, as I said, I can’t see that far anymore. Yellow card again. Dirty Barnstoneworth is not a reputation we want this season chaps. As for Dirty Ben down the Tool Shed again….he can live with that I guess.
A little prayer to the heavens and the ref blew up for full time. Relief! Great battling performance Barnstoneworth with a clean sheet to boot. The game is forgotten already and let’s move on to the next big challenge. Clean sheets, dull football and battling one goal wins, sounds like Birmingham City’s season doesn’t it. Great work team, the character shone through again. 1-0 to us and undefeated so far, let’s keep it up.
MoM – Chris Neale