Match Report - 06 Apr 2014, Clapham Rovers A Clapham Rovers drew with Parklife B
ROVERS 2 -2 Parklife B
I can safely say that was the most bizarre, most action packed game I've played in, in a very long time.
The 1st half largely followed the pattern of our last league game against Parklife. We dominated for long periods, created a bag full of chances but couldn't find the breakthrough.
Smudger was getting plenty of the ball down the right hand side and getting into the box but we either couldn't convert the final ball or Parklife made some desperate interceptions. Our tendency to goal for the killer pass straight away also saw us squander possession in decent areas as well.
Parklife did break away on occasion but they didn't really threaten Sheva in goal. Sheva was making a welcome and surprise guest appearance in goal following Danny P sleeping through an alarm clock. Despite 4 hours sleep, a vast amount of alcohol and spending the evening dressed like an apprentice magician (bow tie and tweed,) the night before, Sheva didn't show any ill effects and acquitted himself like he'd never been away. The solemn look on his face when I told him was playing and not having the spectating brief he expected did not transfer into his performance.
We did have to make a change 15 mins into the match when Bunny finally arrived at the pitch and James made way to make up the numbers for the other Clapham Rovers who started with 10 on the adjacent pitch. At least I think it was Bunny. For the at least the next 30 mins of the match it appeared to be an erratic, incoherent, booze sodden shell wearing lipstick and goalkeeping shorts. It was this appearance that persuaded me that the best course of action was to stick 'Bunny' at right back while he sobered up.
The second half team talk was of maintaining control of the ball and slowing down the game to create more opportunities. If there was one man who didn't maintain control in the second half and that was the referee. Referee, please take centre stage.
Now, far be it from me to criticise referees who pretty much have a thankless task but this guy was disgracefully bad.
We had a brief view into his mind set in the 1st half when he would allow play to continue from a foul throw before then telling the thrower that he had committed a foul throw. He was also very liberal from where free kicks could be taken.
The madness began in the 2nd half with approximately 10 mins to go. From my left back position I watched Matt Wright chase down the Parklife right winger. Now Matt Wright would be the first to say that he's not blessed with much pace. However, this winger had a good 10 yards on Matt but he chased him down like i'd never seen before. It quickly became apparent why i'd never seen this before as he went into a sliding tackle and his hamstring appeared to vaporise like Forrest Gump's Leg Irons. He had to go off. It was a massive loss because not only were we down to 10 but Matt had been the fulcrum of our play in tandem with Nathan.
However, despite being down to 10 men, within a minute we were then 1-nil up. Smudger showed typical determination to bull doze his way past the left back, seize on a loose ball in the area and slip the ball under the advancing keeper. Football eh, bl00dy hell.
Thankfully Dan Endara appeared from the ether on the sidelines, getting changed into some kit and we were back up to 11 men.
The ref must've then had some kind of seizure because he then decided to give us a penalty. It was a stonewall pen and thankfully he got the decision correct. Smudger stepped up confidently to take it and unfortunately missed again. Thankfully Griff was on hand to ram the ball in to make it 2-0. Unfortunately, in the melee that ensued, Smudger was completely taken out and couldn't continue.
As I helped him off the pitch and attended to him on the pitch, the ref then decided to kick off the match once more. Of course with me the left back nowhere to be seen, Parklife then attacked straight down their right hand side. The volley abuse the ref quite rightly received was quite something to behold.
With us down to 10 men and under the cosh somewhat, I asked how long had been played. His answer was 39mins.
In the '6' minutes that followed we were to concede 2 goals and have Bunny sent off. There's no way on God's green earth we played 6 minutes. It was more like 16.
First came their first goal. A contentious corner was given to them. I know it was contentious because I kicked it at their winger as it went out. From the corner their centre back got a great connection and it powered into net.
Parklife's tails were up and they were screaming at each other 'this is our cup final.' Bunny, now in centre mid, lost his patience with the ref after one pathetic decision too many. He basically told the ref 'that was another rubbish decision' and we were down to 9 men as the ref brandished a red card.
I then asked the ref how long we had played. He said 40 mins. According to him, we had only played 1 more minute then when I last asked him.
From another corner, Parklife scored from the most blatant push on a keeper I have ever seen. Not a 2014 Premier League foul on a keeper, a 1950's Division 4 foul on a keeper. The ball was swung in and pinging around. We couldn't clear it and as it looped up, Sheva went to claim. He was royally shoved in the stomach and a Parklife player nodded it in. We were all absolutely furious.
The last 5 mins were then a free for all as both sides pushed for a win. In our 4-4 formation we still pushed forward for the win and we caused them some problems but it wasn't to be. 2-2 to the referee.
Parklife B 2 - 2 Clapham Rovers A Clapham Rovers ()