Real Tuesday 6 - 0 Willie's Wanderers
There were several unforeseen changes to the lineup just minutes before the game started. With no sign of Phil (motorcycle test), Jordan (late) or Sheepy (thought kickoff was 8 pm), we were forced to rejig both defence and midfield. Craig dropped back to partner Ross in central defence, Mike Johnstone moved into central midfield alongside Jordan's (thankfully more punctual) mate Andy and Stu Blackhall slotted in a right back, with Fergus moving across to the left side of defence. Roddy started the game on the right wing.
The game started fairly slowly, with not a lot of ink being deposited on my notepad as a result. Fergus got pinged for a foul throw, Sam got pinged for a one-handed foul throw ... and the Wanderers nearly conceded an own goal after good build up work from Sam and Jay. The OG incident came on the 35 minute mark, a Wanderers defender eventually managing to clear the netbound ball off the line.
We were, however, one up six minutes after that, with Andy being chopped down as he sprinted into the Wanderers box. The goalie got a hand to Dave's spot kick, but the ball still found its way into the bottom left hand corner of the net.
Roddy claimed his first goal of the game just before half time, with what is charitably described on my notepad as a 'toe poke'.
The last highlight of the half was Martin being penalised under the six second rule - ref Brian has obviously learned a new rule since he last took charge of one of our games!
The missing players had all pitched up during the course of the first half, along with Andy Duncan, so we were able to make our usual slew of substitutions. Andy Moyes, Stu and Roddy all came off, to be replaced by Phil, Jordan and Andy Duncan, respectively, with Jordan going to left back and Fergus to right back.
We began the second half well, with Dave coming close
with a couple of shots, then the Wanderers started to come into the
game as their midfield began to get the upper hand. Ross saved us with
an offside call that Brian agreed with, but wasn't so lucky shortly
afterwards, as he stepped up and the Wanderers striker ran straight
past him. Luckily the striker's next touch was a heavy one and the ball
sailed high and wide past the post, with Martin otherwise stranded.
At the other end, Phil came close with one of his trademark headers from a corner. Dave had a shot saved, then Fergus had two shots saved, the second one coming after the Wanderers keeper had parried his first effort at close range.The Wanderers then came close again, an attack down our left ending with a shot that soared across the face of Martin's goal.
Dave then claimed his second goal of the game after about 20 minutes after some good interplay down our left wing.
Fergus cleared a goalbound shot off our line shortly thereafter, then Jay made it 4-0 to the Real a couple of minutes after that (Jay: 'Make sure you point out that bullets have left guns slower than that ball flew into the net!')
Our fifth goal came after another rampaging run by Sam up the left wing. He fired in a low cross that the Wanderers keeper then spilled, allowing Roddy (back on as a striker after Dave pulled up) to fire the ball in from short range.
Further substitutions saw Stu returning to the fray to replace the injured Jordan and Sheepy replacing his nephew Ross at centre half.
Martin, who'd been our saviour a number of times during the second half, made a fine save late in the game, sliding out to claim the ball at the feet of an onrushing Wanderer. Roddy then claimed his hat trick with what my pad says was a 'sclaff' just before Brian blew his whistle to end the game.
While the Wanderers were, by their own admission, something of a scratch team, this was a good workout for the Real, the fact that we managed to boss the midfield with neither Phil or Ted on the pitch showing the strength in depth that we now possess.
Sam was, as usual, a bundle of energy on the left wing, making some rampaging runs and causing panic in the Wanderers ranks with his siege-gun throw ins.
Craig was a rock in the centre of defence, reading the game well and tidying up any loose balls that looked like they might break for the opposition.
Behind Craig, Martin had a great game, communicating well with his defenders and covering his box like a sweeper as and when required. His kickouts were occasionally underpowered, but we'll forgive him for any tiredness after another hard day of vampire killing.
The Campbell brothers had a great game, Fergus putting in a no nonsense shift at both right and left back and Roddy making a right nuisance of himself during both of his spells on the pitch. His hat trick may not have been spectacular, but it was thoroughly deserved.
Special thanks are due to Andy Moyes, who wasn't fazed at being flung into the starting lineup on his Real debut and put in a solid shift alongside Scouse Mike in the first half. We'll hopefully see him back in Real colours before too long.