Excellent Team Play just enough to counter Masterclass of Goalkeeping
Vets made to work hard for victory over local rivals
If my history knowledge was any good, references could be made to all sorts of characters or situations of the past to reflect on this victory; but as our usual master Historian was off doing history stuff, I will simply refer to the fact that on the day of the Thin Blue Line becoming thinner due to the horrors taking place in Westminster, Solihull Blossomfield provided their own thick blue wall hosting the Sils at St.Martin's school, on a foggy Wednesday evening.
El Capitano had worked miracles to assemble a liquorice all-sorts of 11 players, opting for the approach of 11 players of any type would be better trying to find players for particular positions - a policy that ended up paying dividends.
The Sils started with an experimental line up, with only one recognised defender, and Chris Wallis in goal, who had not played a game for 2 years. The Chairman gave left-back a try, whilst the Captain himself volunteered to shore up the right side of the defence. Thankfully, both of these had the ever reliable Tony J to at least provide some re-assurance at the back that we knew what were doing.
The midfield looked dynamic, and the forward line explosive - Thurman, Clapham, Russell and Rice provided the core to the team, with Brindley, Danks and Stephen making up the front three. (Apologies for not using the usual names - but I get confused reading Jim's reports, let alone trying to write them!)
Blossomfield themselves, had also provided a varied opposition - calling upon 4 men in Leamington shirts to make up their numbers.
The game started well enough, with Sils playing some excellent passing play, carving open gaps down the right for John Rice to maraude into. Rice in turn, carried out his usual display of turning defenders in knots, and then smashing the ball as hard as he could into the D. A couple of half-chances came from this approach, but this soon revealed that the Bloss GK was going to take more than the usual deflections and scrambled efforts to trouble him - clearing his lines regularly with relative ease.
At the back, Jamieson was commanding the back line, making up for Tabb and Perkins not really understanding their defensive responsibilities at times, and when Tony (or Frank, as the M4 now refer to him) was beaten, Wallis demonstrated his usual ability to pull off tremendous goalkeeping, even without having put the kit on for years!
The deserved breakthrough finally came after a short passing move between Clapham, and Russell in midfield released Sam Stephen in the D, and this time rather than shooting, he squared the ball to Danks to finish from 2 yards.
Not much to discuss at half-time, other than how good the opposition No.1 was. Nobby, having arrived 5 minutes before the end of the first period was asked to contribute, and having opened with the line "I haven't seen much of the game as I have only just turned up", then proceeded to provide excellent insight into potential areas for improvement in the second half (though, apparently, he simply said the same things that are said every week!) Onto the second half.
The game continued in the same vein as the first half. Some of Sils build-up play being simply superb, but not resulting in goals, due to the continued efforts of the home keeper. The game was however secured by two goals in 8 minutes; the first seeing Brindley reacting to a blocked shot from Danks to score from close range, and then a third being thundered home between the legs of the keeper (see, he did make a mistake - Ed) by Simon Russell, who was the only player to carry on playing after good link up play down the right by Rice and Tabb (wasn't he supposed to be playing left back? - Ed) had found a foot in the D.
Other chances came and went, including Thurman unleashing a ferocious volley directly at the head of Sam Stephen which thankfully missed (who would have guessed it - Ed), and both Brindley and Danks going close to getting their second goals. Thanks to some more strong defending by Jamieson and Clapham, and some good keeping by Wallis in goal, the Sils then were able to shut out the game to win 3-0. An entertaining game, and nice to see the Blossomfield side take the approach of inviting the Leamington players to make up their numbers, rather than some of the less pleasant individuals they have asked in the past.
Back to the clubhouse for the usual Blossomfield fine dining experience (a loaf of bread and some grated cheese slices of ham), and the Man of the Match voting was a tense affair with only 5 people eligible. In the end, the Captain's vote swung the tied count between Tabb and Russell. Highlight of the post match chat at Bloss was when the home Captain came over to inform us that as we had paid for the food at our place earlier in the season, they would not be asking for £40 off us to cover the "meal" they had just provided......