Match Report - 19 Feb 2012, Clapham Rovers Clapham Rovers beat Invictus
Here’s Bunny’s match report.
Clapham leave it late - proving the legs might have gone, but there is fight in the old (Under)dog yet!
The cold snap had left Rovers frustrated at not being able to cross the hallowed South West London Division 2 pitches for 3 weeks - leaving them having played a whopping 6-7 games less than the rest of the teams in the division. With opposing sides already drifting their minds to summer, bronzed beauties and cocktails on the French Riviera; pre-game warm-up chats in the Clapham camp heard the dreaded words of (possible) ‘double-headers’ being murmured.
It was curious after such a period of inactivity however that so many Rovers were sidelined with injury problems. Messer’s Harley (rib/toe), Carswell (ankle), Smith (leg) and Wright (Shoreditch fever) were all spending some time on the treatment table, with Lloyd and Kew deeming Sunday league football not important enough to interfere with their holidaying plans.
These notable absentees, deemed some of the more youthful and athletic in the squad, left Rovers looking an age ravished side with a combined age of 574 thanks mainly to our new European goalie who rubbished all preconceptions about Italian’s GK handling ability after making a solid debut, which included some smart stops.
It was apparent from the sluggish start made by Clapham that not everyone had taken their cod liver oil capsules in the morning as some of the older joints took a while to open up in crisp conditions. Misplaced passes, aimless throw-ins and slow reactions to second balls gave an early indication that this would not be a comfortable Clapham win against supposed average opposition who were languishing at the bottom of the division, but rather a war of attrition and grit. In fairness the opposition were not as bad as we expected and they made things difficult throughout with their own battling tendencies and confrontational attitude.
We were probably fortuitous to take the lead in the first half against the run of play. That said it was a fine goal with Gin being played into the box and sliding a pass across the six yard box that Juan tapped into a gaping goal mouth. Juan was the one shining light in an otherwise forgettable first half, looking a constant threat with some mazy dribbles down the right hand side.
Jim (not a man to do things by half) treated us to 50 kilos of oranges and jelly babies at half time which were consumed in such a dervish that it hardly seemed worth the 20 mins Beast of Birch’s Dad had taken to slice the oranges before the game. The team were also buoyed by the sight of the Hitman, his misses and unborn foetus standing on the sidelines, with the promise that whoever scored the next goal he would name the baby after...
So I declare to you the new member of the Hitman tribe... Nick ‘moaning fat ass’ Harley. In danger of making his ego swell to even greater heights it was a well taken goal. Picking up possession on the edge of the box he skipped passed a defender and smashed a right foot swinger into the bottom corner. Job done. Or so we thought.
What preceded to happen was what can only be described as ‘the curse of watching father’. Rovers started inviting pressure and gaps started to appear throughout the team. After a series of opposition corners Clapham were unable to clear their lines and a left foot volley from outside the area that arrowed into the bottom corner. 2-1.
After striking a post, a claim for a penalty denied and having a goal scratched off for off-side it was unsurprising when Rovers conceded the equaliser deep into the second half. My anger levels have clouded the actual circumstances of the goal, but I don’t think it was pretty.
In an attempt to get back into the game we should plenty of endeavour and fight, but little sign of quality. When almost all hope of winning was lost however, Juan charged down the right only to be brutally felled just outside the box near the goal-line with 5 mins left to play. In piled all the ‘big men’ for one last goal mouth scrabble, or this is what we wanted the opposition to think... instead Nick rolled a ball to Jimmy who whizzed in a shot into the bottom corner from a narrow angle.
The last few minutes we dug deep and showed good resolve to grind out the win. Hurrah!
MOM: Juan – he played with verve and panache when others looked like they were running in treacle.
Cup semi-final next week – let’s not be flat as a pancake, but shrove them what we are made of!
9 Teams Games
12 6 4 2 31 18 +13 22
Dulwich Tandoori Cobras
9 5 3 1 36 9 +27 18
Clapham Rovers 'A'
7 6 0 1 24 12 +12 18
9 5 2 2 28 16 +12 17
8 5 1 2 24 16 +8 16
Worcester Park Rangers
9 5 0 4 29 30 -1 15
Wessex Rangers 'A'
10 3 1 6 18 39 -21 10
10 1 1 8 16 46 -30 4
12 0 2 10 16 36 -20 2
Invictus 2 - 3 Clapham Rovers Clapham Rovers ()