The anticipation of a warm-weather local derby is hard to described in words, but after the team-talk farce last week, the team was committed to writing in advance to silence the critics. Sometimes a pink highlighter pen is all that comes to hand. Ominously, on paper the midfield and attack looked to be a bit too far apart.
Nine wins on the row and wins in Pollença and London have already made this a season to remember, but back to back wins in the local derby would be the icing on the cake. The importance of the game was reflected in the quality of the spectators. Injured Russ Hall, cheery Degsy Coalter, dog-walking Andy Tyrer, recently cryogenically treated Jim Byrne and referee Jim Thompson were all there. The injured Chairman, meanwhile, was in the pub warming up for Wales v England in the rugby.
The first half was a tense affair. For the first time this calendar year the toss was won. Except it wasn’t a toss. For, no doubt, health and safety reasons, Barry the Ref merely presents his hand with the coin already orientated for guessing. So it was that the Vets played with the wind in the first half. Chances were few and far between. Both teams organised well but rather cancelled each other out. Attacking flair was short in demand despite the economical and precise passing game that both teams played.
Determined not to make the half chanceless, Gorton gifted St Mary’s a gilt edged opportunity. Not only did he create a great chance, but he manufactured it for the host’s best player Phil to boot. Luckily there is still just enough of the Vets’ keeper to get in the way of the shot and the crisis was averted. An early injury through the half saw Sandy introduced for the Saints, “Let’s reconvene, gentlemen” announcing the free kick following his arrival. A new player, wearing 44, looked rather good too. Finnegan, no vomiting this time round, pressed hard, Jones applied some neat touches, Doherty brought calm when others panicked. But no goals came.
It was a now all too predictable Tesco Express offering for the half-time citrus. At the start of the second half the wind dropped, making it look like an even better non-toss to have won. McGuckin, easing his way back from injury nicely, impressed straight away. Then in ten minutes the game was won and lost. A clever cross from Phil was slammed in off the bar from Andy and the Vets were 1-0 down. Then two great chances to equalise came and went. Killen created the first for himself after a great run, but there is quite a lot of St Mary’s new goalie Danny and certainly too much for the shot to avoid. Duffy then floated a cross in from the left which landed on the cross bar, and Mornington couldn’t quite orientate himself to convert the rebound. Another great cross from Phil, a far post diving header from Caggsy, and it was 2-0. No way back from there.
Except there nearly was. The skipper produced a Hollywood save, the ball was cleared from the resulting corner and a corner was won at the other end. A scramble ensued, Mornington lurking in an offside position, smashed home with his left foot from one yard out. There were still 90 seconds left but they were not enough. A hard to take defeat, but a fair result on the run of play.
So Honours even in Crosby this season so far, 2-1 and 1-2. The 6th April will see the decider at Moor Lane. Be there or be square.
|February 23, 2019||2:30 pm||Vets XI Fixtures||2018-19|