By the time of Mike Bagley’s 3rd pitch inspection for this fixture, he had been joined by the referee of the day, Jim Thompson, whose decision to declare the pitch playable was as welcome as it was unexpected. In the meantime, Jerry Hopkins’ selection of the schoolboys team seemed to have been based as much on whether you had ever been to school as whether you currently attended one, online or otherwise.
That said, there were 5 schoolboys playing. Pleasingly one of them was Jamie Bradshaw’s brother Guy, but the bad news for the Vets was that this meant Jamie played too. Sportingly, he was employed at centre-half, but if Duffy or Doherty read this report they may find that their 1st XI days are even less numbered as a result, if Jamie ever decides to take it easy at the back. The age and skill of the Schoolboys’ Team was not what Kev Bodey had anticipated when he selected his squad, and this was not helped by the President having to miss out in order to restructure the world’s (well his) finances and the Chairman thinking the game, like his job, was now running on flexi-time.
The game started well and was pretty end to end, but the Vets kept giving the ball away, in particular to set up the Schoolboy’s first goal, which was none the less very well taken. A second soon followed. As the Skipper’s calf went, so did the youngsters’ desire to hold up play, and the subsequently well executed finish made the prospect of a cricket rather than football score seem high.
With the Chairman still absent, first Jerry Hopkins and later Tom Soffe deputised at centre-half and both might have been described as an improvement in this report but for the fact that they replaced the man who picks the team. The best moves from the Vets came down the right flank. The opposition found out that it takes more than one go to work out when Jimiesta is going to drop the shoulder, and even worse, when the trademark moved came off, the spritely Charlie Byrne in front of him took control of the ball and sometimes the game too. In the Number 10 role, Matt Fraser did everything to confirm that Mrs Rushie must have been a good player in her time. Hopes that Brett Phipps would provide one of his trademark howlers were unsatisfied, as he calmly did everything he needed to keep the score to 2-0 at half-time.
As the pitch became heavier in the second-half, the schoolboys’ ability to play quick flowing football diminished accordingly. Nonetheless, the game was drifting to a loss when with fifteen minutes to go a corner was won and Clay rediscovered his ability to float in the perfect cross. With his usual muse on the side-line, it was left to Mornington to keep his eyes open and pull one back.
By now the Chairman had arrived and although he claimed to be both unable and unwilling to play, he soon swapped his walking boots for football boots and even sported a fetching red base layer which set off the Pollença kit perfectly. His exemplary appearance (unusual though it was) was matched by the quality of his crossing (yet more unusual). Mornington became his muse too with another headed goal.
Phipps proved why it was him rather than the old man in goal at the other end who wears white for the 1st XI with yet more good saves. But as the final whistle beckoned, the red base layer wonder struck the bar and Byrne the Younger was on hand to tap home the winner.
Gendall was at Goals Astro playing the Dads and Lads game. Until that final tap in from a Vet’s son, he was still in the running for the Turnout Cup, but a win is a win under the new Boss and something dramatic is going to have to happen for him to pull level when this by now official fixture came to an end.
All in all a very enjoyable day. And for those of you wondering about the quality of the photography, let’s just hope the Honorary Treasurer uses his phone to better effect as a calculator than a camera.
|December 28, 2020||2:00 pm||Vets XI Fixtures||2020-21|
|14 Moor Ln, Thornton, Liverpool L23 4TW, UK|