Vets at Shrewsbury, 3rd February 2024

Shrewsbury 2 – 2 LRAFC
Mornington ⚽(p) ⚽

Chris Drake reports:

As the dust settles on my first Vets tour I can conclude that leaving the 2s to become a part of this absolutely incredible team was a brilliant decision.

The day started at Casa Eastwood where I went from rambler vet to personal security as Shannon dropped the bombshell he won’t be returning home that evening. Swiftly entering the car, sat nav programmed, eclectic playlist selected, and toast in hand, we were off.

Eager Ramblers arrived at The Shrewsbury School in high spirits due to our current run of unbeaten form. We sadly lost Clay to a knee injury which he made worse in a pre-game round of no bounce. With some notable absences this week it was nice to have Bodey lace up his boots and join the consistently solid John Duffy in the centre of defence, flanked by Shannon at RB and Russ back in his usual LB position. The solid partnership of Kinsey and Lee Whitty filled the centre of the park with myself and Greg on the flanks. The usual free-roaming role for Gendall left the big man up top.

As the game started the schoolboys came out flying, overloading our right-hand side and putting Shannon and me to work. No joy for the young guns, solid from Shannon as per. Dogged work in the middle of the park from Lee and Kinners led to a classic Gendall burst into the oppo box, as he waltzed passed a couple of their players, he was clipped. Up steps Jordan. Never a doubt as he blasted it to the keeper’s right-hand side. 0-1 Ramblers.

The Shrews didn’t let that deter their efforts and shortly afterwards, after a coming together by their striker and Lee, they managed to win themselves a penalty. 1-1. Game on.

As the game wore on the youth and fitness started to take its toll on us Vets but our experience meant we could get ourselves into the positions to cut out any ball played forward. Duffy and Bodey solid in defence. Rusty refusing to let a couple of misplaced passes get the better of him and Shannon being steadfast at right back stopped the boys from getting close to our goal. Until one long ball over the top let their striker in. Bagpuss out the danger quickly did cause a collision between himself and the striker who did go in two-footed. Bagpuss saw this as a teaching opportunity and was quick to… educate… the young man. “Do that when you’re older and you’ll get your head punched in”. Calmly said 6 inches away from the lad’s face. Well taught Mr. Prescott. Well taught.👏

I don’t quite remember their second goal. I do remember it was a tap-in from around 4 yards but that’s about it. 2-1

Under the kosh all game we had to dig deep. In to the final 5 minutes… Utilising my long throw I picked up the ball on the left-hand side with many of the Masters watching after their full-time whistle. Ball is launched into the box. Flick on it lands in the 6-yard box. Defender attempts to clear but it bounces off a few legs in the box. Lands at Jord’s feet and somehow it ends up in the net. 2-2. These last 5 minutes were tough for most of us. Jordan, despite the amount of ground he covered all game still had some energy left in his legs. Dropping back to hold up the ball and allow Greg, Gendall and myself to be the outlets, we pushed hard. Cut to the last minute. Jordan picks up the ball from an awful kick out from their keeper. Gendall runs past him, ball played through. Keeper off his line James sees his name in lights. This has 2-3 written all over it! Surely he can’t miss? He strikes it from around 40 yards out. Every single person apart from Jerry Hopkins thinks it’s over the line. Ref didn’t know what to do so took VAR Hopkins decision of no goal. Sadly their keeper suffered a nasty head injury after running back and clawing the ball off the line and crashing into the post in the goal and the game was called.

Absolutely brilliant performance from all on the pitch as we must have only had 30% possession. Sadly Paul and Clay didn’t get a chance to get some minutes but the unwavering support from them and Coley on the side pushed us all on.

Post match spread had nothing on Mr Duffy’s new clubhouse treats but gave us a chance to line our stomachs before hitting Shrewsbury town and me experiencing a proper Rambler Tour including the infamous blue drink.

Up the Ramblers 💙