Ramblers 3 – Easton Cowboys 5

7th December 2003

 

Team:  Turner, A Sheehan, Stiddard, Babbington, Shewring, House (sub: P Sheehan), Wilcox, King, Canning, Allan, Shearman (sub: Nichols).

Even though he was not playing Rob Sykes managed to make his mark on the game, by being late (surprise, surprise) delivering the kit.  When we eventually got going it didn’t go too well as we promptly started to leak goals at an alarming rate.  The first came early, as the defence were penned back and failed to clear, leaving the Cowboys a chance to score with a good long shot (0 – 1).  All too soon we fell further behind as Brian took his eye off the ball when receiving a routine back-pass and allowed the ball to run under his foot into the goal behind him (0 – 2).  Quickly after this came a third: Easton won a header unchallenged in midfield from our goal-kick and fed a forward on the edge of the box, who whipped over a speculative shot that flew into the top of the net, giving Brian no chance (0 – 3).  It still wasn’t over as yet another goal went against us, when Easton were quicker to the ball in the box from a free-kick and flicked the ball in (0 – 4).

 

There wasn’t much action to report at the other end of the pitch while all these goals were going in against us.  Unfortunately Dave went off injured mid way through the half, which blunted our attacking edge considerably.  Phil Sheehan replaced him, playing at left-back, while Nick Shewring moved forward into midfield and Marcus switched to Dave’s place on the right wing.

 

There was a bit of a nasty edge to the game as Easton seemed to have a vendetta against Jim.  It seemed that nearly every time he got the ball he was clobbered.  Jim had a bit of an argument with the most persistent offender, who proceeded to nut him in the face!  Even mild-mannered Nobby, as referee, couldn’t let this go by.  He didn’t punish the player at this stage, but warned him that he could not accept any further transgressions.

 

At half time Nick Stiddard gave an impassioned speech, slating us for the poor performance in the first half and telling us we could do better in the second. This seemed to have the desired effect and we improved considerably, right from the start of the half.  Early on Tony tried a long-range drive that dipped just wide of the post.  Unfortunately, although we were now playing much better, we went further behind, this time against the run of play, as a lucky deflection found an opposition striker clear on goal and he despatched it comfortably (0 – 5).

 

Jim’s travails had still not ended.  After cleanly tackling the player that he had the run in with earlier and turning away with the ball he was hacked down.  This time Nobby had no choice and did the right thing in sending the player off.  With this idiot off the pitch and us playing immeasurably better than in the first, the game got much better for us and the goals even started to come our way. Paul placed a corner right in the goalmouth at the near post, causing panic in the defence and Tony was able to stab the ball in from close range (1 – 5).

 

Phil Sheehan had moved into the forward line replacing Nick Shearman, who was suffering from a hamstring strain, Pete Nichols taking his place at left back.  Although rarely playing in this position, Phil showed he knows how and after good approach play by Paul he had a sight of goal and fired in our second, with his right foot! (2 – 5).  We were now pressing constantly and Paul added a third with an excellent, long-range, looping shot (3 – 5).  Unfortunately, despite maintaining the massive improvement on the first half performance, we could not keep up the scoring rate enough to overturn the large deficit, so went out of the Cup.