Market Harborough Hornets 0 Stamford Strollers 1 Market Harborough Hornets 0 Stamford Strollers 1
Not double vision, but two matches and two 1-0 wins for Strollers.
A bit of a bizarre start as the match was meant to be 9v9. When we arrived pitch side, we were told that there were five teams and we were playing 6 a-side, one of which was our 50/60 side. After we advised we hadn’t come all this way to play only 40 minutes football we finally got under way with an 8 a-side game with Col Murrant starting for his old club Harborough to make the numbers up.
Playing on a hard grass pitch, as Harborough were having their 3G pitch re-carpeted, the ball did not run as smoothly as usual and the low sun caused some vision problems. Strollers were playing the better football but the aforementioned grass, and the relatively small size of the pitch, made passing difficult. Two other players turned up so it was now a nine a-side match with Col M retiring from the match briefly before having to return when Martin Donnelly picked up a nasty calf muscle tear that left him in some discomfort. There was another surprise when the referee blew the whistle for half time after 10 minutes. The additional players from Harborough, who appeared much younger than the rest of the group, certainly added some pace, skill, and fight and the game became more even.
It was Strollers who made the breakthrough when Colin Kirby caught Harborough cold with a quick free kick and set up Frank Smith who finished smartly giving the keeper no chance.
Further discussions took place, and Harborough agreed the next match would be 20 minutes each way. By now the new players for Harborough were having more influence on the game and this match turned out to be much tougher. Strollers were certainly capable of playing the better football yet Trevor Oliver was called on to make two good saves as Harborough had some chances on the break. Overall, Strollers were the better organised, and the two players instrumental in scoring in the first match, reversed roles as Frank set up Colin for another good finish.
The match was refereed well and fairly by the Harborough Manager, John Bidwell, but threatened to blow up as a Harborough player threatened Tony Laughton after a fairly innocuous challenge. Tempers settled, and with Strollers in control, they saw out the match for two good wins.
Most stayed for the chips and sausages or burgers in the clubhouse afterwards and reflected on, what turned out to be an enjoyable and good night’s work.
Strollers: Chris Kierl : Trevor Oliver : Tony Laughton : Bob Wood : Brian Dunkerley : Steve Brine : Martin Donnelly : Frank Smith : Colin Kirby : Colin Murrant