Monday 18 March 2019

Don't Be Deep Spud - Rochester United FC Vs Greenways FC, Southern Counties East Football League Division One, Rochester United FC Sports Ground (27/02/19)

What a glorious morning, the sun is streaming between the gaps in my blinds, outside I can see its still and the sky is the most sumptuous shade of blue, sadly though my wake up call is not the gentle chirp of the alarm on my phone, a kiss on the forehead and a stroke of my hair from a loved one, but the screaming of my one year old daughter. “Dad, Dad, Dad”. She repeats like a much smaller and far more aggressive Alan Partridge.

I try to convince myself that getting up this early, I know for some people it's very normal to get up at 06:30 and for some of you I’m sure you get up even earlier, but for me it’s just a bit of a wrench, so get off my back, here's a medal, that it means I can get lots done and be a productive member of society, but by the time it comes round to heading to Tom’s to pick him up, I’m close to being done for the day.

I know, I know stop going on about it, but I just can't help it, Spurs new ground is looking so good.

For the second time in a week we are off to the ‘The Garden of England’, via the Queen Elizabeth II Bridge, which like the last time we crossed it, looks just as, if not more impressive in the late afternoon sun.

Kent is turning into the new Essex, our go to football county as of late. I’m not sure it’s because its all shiny and new to us, but it is certainly very charming. Village greens and quaint looking pubs make it hard to concentrate, a wrong turn and a slight detour, is not such a problem when you get to see a rather impressive windmill, our second in the last few weeks and a sunset so magnificent, that it has a bit of the end sequence of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade about it. Tom is sure it should be setting over “Egypt” and not one of the home counties.

My next project after Tom and I have hung up our flag, will be to document the state of non league footballs car parks and driveways. Turning off the main road, past a sign with the image of a distinctive Spartan helmet on, we encounter one of the worst we've ever seen. I know money is in short supply for so many clubs in the pyramid, but when a pothole is in danger of consuming a VW Polo or could quite easily have a Sarlacc living in it, it's time to address the issue, “it’s like the moon” says Tom, gripping onto the dashboard.

“Have you had a coffee” he then asks, I haven't, but he’s not convinced, saying my driving is a bit “eratic”. I’m weaving all over the place, because I don't want to be eaten by the same thing that killed Boba Fett.

The condiments are out, but not a lot else is happening at the home of Spartans, Rochester United FC (RFC). Gerard Butler isn’t strutting about bare chested, in fact not many people are strutting about at all. Tom is encouraged by the laminated sign on a notice board that reads "club badges for sale", however the bar isn't open yet. A woman is chopping onions while she watches Egg Heads on a small TV on the wall while the clubs owner is trying to figure out how to charge the electronic subs board.

We find a spot to sit in the empty bar, not on one of the stools that are covered in recycled Premier League shirts though. I can't admire them and try and work out how I can get one in my bag, if I’m sitting on one. I hope it wasn't our distinct lack of general knowledge that forced the lady to close the door to the kitchen, but I get the feeling that she didn't want to fill the small bar with the smell of frying onions. Moments after shutting up shop, the distinctive sound of sizzling begins, causing a large grin to start to form on Tom's face.

Over Tom’s shoulder I notice that half the floodlights that surround the pitch have come on, Tom who is surprisingly good at TV quizzes. I thought his talents lay elsewhere, such as being handsome, but he is giving the experts opponents a run for their money. “Ghana” he answers, Beth one of the contestants thinks its “Egypt”. Tom was right, “told you" he says smugly, "stupid Beth”.

Through the gaps in the metal grates that cover each window, there is still very little going on outside, we can hear some music coming from one changing room, which is a promising sign of life, but it looks like we'll be quizzing for a little while longer.

“You need a bit of ventilation in here” says a man as he opens the kitchen door, forced into taking a step backwards by the cloud of steam rolling out, filling the room with its overpowering smell, probably much to the annoyance of the women inside. Michael Portillo appears on the TV next, “can't stand this man” sneers Tom, and I have to agree, it's time to be anywhere else but here.

Before we head outside to stare at a brick wall, rather that than hearing the ex Tory minister talk about railways, and I come from a family of railway lovers, but there is just something about him, maybe it's the trousers, the RFC owner rattles up the shutter covering the bar, and then promptly closes it again. Having heard the distinctive noise, Tom scampers back from the loo, hoping to bag a pin, but faces an impassable barrier in his way, “oh he’s closed it”.

Nicki Minaj is blaring around the ground, the hatch to kitchen is now open, and displayed on one of the pinned open doors is a menu so extensive, it's the kind that would cause Gordon Ramsay on Kitchen Nightmares to have a mild stroke. “Want a Rocket?” asks Tom, at the very bottom a selection of lollies are on offer. It’s just tea for now, but I can see his mind whirling away trying to work out what he is going to have. I bet it starts with burger and ends with chips.

Distracted momentarily as I talk to the RFC owner Bernard about if they do a raffle or 50/50, the answer being “no”, because it can be problematic “getting someone to do it” I stupidly take a sip of the cup of tea that Tom had just loving made for me.

As all non league lovers know, non league tea is brewed at a temperature, far greater than that of the tea you make at home, far hotter even than the filling of a McDonald's apple pie or the steam that comes out of a newly toasted piece of pitta bread. Not wanting to show my discomfort, I turn away slightly, pretending I’m looking over towards the the home players milling about on the dark side of the pitch, but I’m struggling not to cry, fuck it was hot.

“I've never seen so many tracksuits” murmurs Tom, as the RFC players pass us heading inside, there’s not a pair of jeans among them. Wanting to find somewhere to rest my scalded mouth. I make my excuses and tell Bernard, each word more painful than the last, that I’m off to find a seat, “there's plenty of them” he chuckles.

The Roy Smith Stand, the only bit of cover on offer, other than a small bus shelter looking thing, is long, dark and has a strong whiff of meccano about it. There are more obstructions to your view than the East Stand at Highbury, but like Bernard said there are plenty of the grey fold down seats to choose from, so I plonk myself down on one and try to convalesce.

In fact there is very little to the Rochester United FC Sports Ground other than the main stand and the clubhouse, if you want a fleet of minibuses to look at, then this is the place, there are loads of them, but as far as character, that's in limited supply. There is a constant buzz from the nearby road, the other side of some bare trees. One end of the ground looks to be totally out of bounds, and a single white railing is all that keeps Tom from streaking on the pitch. With an hour still to kick off Tom reckons, “this is the attendance”, pointing to the three other people currently here.

“This is Little Pump” says Tom, and he’s not talking about the petrol station visible off in the distance. What follows is horrific, three and a half minutes of utter crap, I can happily consider myself not a “Little Pump” fan, but in being so disgusted, I feel very old, just about as old as Tom seems to think the referee is, who has just walked out for his warm up, and Tom looks shocked, “is he

More ageist comments follow, and I’m very disappointed in my footballing companion, “he ain't going to make ninety minutes”, he says while the referee and assistants give the nets at one end of the pitch a thorough check, giving them a good old yank.

To ensure Tom does not abuse any other senior citizens, I follow him back to the bar which is now open, so he can get his pin, and I’m happy to report he keeps any further unsavoury opinions to himself. With both teams now out for their warm up, there is a major clash in music between that playing around the ground and that still playing in the empty home and away changing rooms.

Still warming up in darkness, it's a while into the teams drills that the full complement of lights come on, as they warm up they emit a strange blue hue, before turning a dazzling white. “Just seen a new one, away player with cut down shorts”, points out Tom, bringing to my attention a Greenways FC (GFC) player whose thighs are clearly so copious, he has been forced to trim his shorts to accommodate them.

Despite the sizable distance in parts between the railing and the pitch, from the thin concrete path I can still make out the instructions of the RFC coach putting the team through their paces. “Liven up” he shouts, and that is an understatement, RFC find themselves languishing at the bottom of the table and they need to stop the rot. “Massive game for us” adds one player, and he's not wrong.

In a quiet corner of the ground, away from the road and the players, minding my own business, appreciating the RFC crest embroidered on the red corner flag, I realise I’m not alone. I didn't notice at first the man in the red porta cabin behind me, manning the turnstile which is just an open gate with a sign offering a free tea with a programme on a magnet board propped up against it. He’s not exactly busy and doesn't look to have noticed me either, he is far too engrossed in whatever he is reading.

The boots of the home keeper have caught Toms attention, “he’s got Puma Kings on” he tells me and I detect a bit of, ‘I always wanted a pair of them’ in his voice, but ask any way if he did. “As if” he snorts and then I remember the white Nike’s he used to wear, so spend the next five minutes ribbing him about it. Football boot roast over, I point out something that has caught my eye, the increased crowd, which has at least trebled since the last count to “fourteen” says Tom unimpressed.

There are far more than “fourteen”. A mini rush of latecomers, means the man reading his book has been forced to put it to one side for a moment, he'll have to wait until later to see what the stable boy and the lady of the house got up to. Those new arrivals are congregated around the edge of the tunnel made from festival crash barriers or within touching distance of a cup of tea.

There are a few claps and quiet “come on Greenways” from the crowd as the players walk out, but it's what you might call a muted entrance. They don't have far to go before the referee stops them, Tom no doubt brewing up a comment about the referee not being able walk far because of his age, but he keeps it to himself, before stopping and initiating the handshake.

More late arrivals file thought the gate, the man behind the caged window is never going to finish his chapter. A group of youths perched on bikes take advantage of the very liberally spaced fence at one end of the ground and watch on for free.

“Come on boys, here we go” shouts one RFC player, as the visitors get things underway.

We take up position midway between the dugouts, which like so many we have seen as of late that are comically spaced apart. I’m starting to think there must be some method to the madness, considering how often we see it, but I can't work out what it is.

Early home pressure sees them win a free kick. Its lumped into the box, in an attempt to reach the ball the GFC keeper goes all flappy and an RFC player jumping for the ball ends up going over the top of the GFC defender in the box. “Fucking hell” cries the home manger, when a foul is awarded against them and not in favour of them

Every so often we see a player, who doesn't look like he could possibly be one, but ends up being the best one on the pitch. Their physical appearance masking a wealth of talent that out strips all the other twenty one players combined. “Got ourselves another fat Messi” whispers Tom when the small round, shaven headed GFC number 10, traps the ball on his chest effortlessly and turns towards the RFC goal on a sixpence. Don't let his size deceive you, this man can play.

“Ohhhhhhhhh” grimaces Tom, after one player as he puts it “booted the ball into the back of the ref”. He may be old, although he’s certainly not ninety, he acts like nothing happened and carries on. It will not come as a shock to you I’m sure that GFC play in green. It is no great secret that I am very fond of a green kit, and Tom reckons because of this there is a ulterior motive as to why we are watching this particular fixture. Doing the voice he does, when he impersonates me, it’s very nasally and sounds nothing like me, “we now only see teams with green kits”. What a cock.

It’s what you might call a physical start to the game, the GFC bench asks for the players to “settle, settle” and after all the late comers there is now a reasonable amount of spectators almost exclusively on the far side. “Not bad” says Tom when I show him his earlier prediction was a bit off. “Did you include the thirty scallies outside” he asks about my head count.

Toms dishing out all the comparisons tonight, “bit Neuer” he says about the all yellow RFC keeper, “kicks like him” he adds, after he finds a teammate with an accurate sidekick. “Good start, keep busy” shouts one RFC player and it certainly has been a decent opening ten minutes for the home side, just like the GFC manager said to us, their current league position “doesn't dictate how they are playing”. “Neuer” is back at it again with a very precise kick, but Tom is not interested in that anymore, he’s fixated on one RFC player called “Spud”.

The topic of kits comes up again, when Tom comments that some of the RFC players are “playing in long sleeves” and you don't “normally see that in non league”. It is me now though who is distracted, the only other people on our side of the pitch, are a group of three grey haired men, who are getting in on the referee bashing, they think he’s even older than Tom does, “he’s about a hundred”.

Not even fifteen minutes gone, and the home manger sounds like he has almost lost his voice already. “Pack it” he shouts when RFC are awarded another free kick. “Now fattie is running” he smirks, when the GFC number 10 is forced into a bit of tracking back.

GFC are playing the much better football, with “fat Messi” pulling all the strings. “Don't be deep Spud” is the instruction from the RFC bench as GFC prepare to take a free kick, a free kick that prompts a query from the RFC bench about a clear kit clash between GFC’s keeper and their outfield players, “how do you know he's not our player?”.

“Fuck off Greenways” shouts someone outside the ground the other side of the trees. The tackles are flying in and Tom is thinking about half time, “I’m hungry”. The tempo after the lively first twenty has dropped, as has the intensity level of the shouting from the home bench. The two protagonists one crouched, one leaning against the nearby floodlight are now in contemplative mode.

“That was lucky” says Tom after a RFC miss kick, almost turns into the most sublime through ball, but it's snuffed out. Another hearty tackle, this time from GFC draws another free kick. Again it is swung into the visitors box, unorthodoxly thighed across the box, which for a moment causes a bit of alarm, but it is eventually scrambled clear. “Bit hit and hope” says Tom, assessing the home team's approach. GFC are always looking for a quick counter, but the final ball is not quite clicking. Their latest attempt to find the forward is wayward, much to his annoyance, “fuck off Josh” he snarls. The manager though sees the promise in what they are trying to do, “the spaces are there”.

“It's got nil nil all over it” says Tom leaning over. He is spiralling into one of his bad moods. I wonder if the people dotted about the stand with their obscured view feel the same? RFC are certainly giving it a go, they don't seem to affected by their poor league standing. Two chances in quick succession give some kind of inkling all is not lost, first a curling shot, which is straight at the keeper, then an attempt at a swivel and shot that is blocked on the edge of the GFC box.

Tom finds pleasure in the oddest things, the fact one players name is “Regan” has got him very excited. I’m not sure how he can really concentrate on anything other than the RFC manager who is back to shouting again. Every time they lose the ball, there are instant appeals of “ref” coming from all quarters, it’s almost some kind of Pavlovian response. I’m not sure they know they are doing it.

Something we can both agree on was that the latest attack from RFC was the best football they have played so far, which resulted in a Olivier Giroud Vs Crystal Palace scorpion kick attempt at a finish that went just over. “Like watching Arsenal” beams Tom as we almost witness the most remarkable

GFC have not ventured forward in a while, a lot of that is down to just how dogged RFC are being, they have a stroke of luck after two very balletic pirouettes by one player almost kick starts an attack, but a GFC tackle puts an end to it. They appeal, as they do for everything, and this time are awarded the foul, its a number game. “Not sure about that” wonders Tom, “he lost it”.

It’s not just “fat Messi” with all the talent among the GFC ranks, their number 9 has some half decent moves too. He’s soon away and a blocking RFC tackle, wins them a corner. The RFC keepers attempt at a punch is woeful. A coming together between home and away players, sees the ball eventually squirm free, but it’s soon back in the box, sending the home team into a bit of a blind panic.

Probing Tom about what he is going to eat, it’s getting close to that time, it brings about a mini meltdown, “oh I’m so hungry, don't talk about food” he says, but before I can apologise, he blurts out, “the full works”.

There are a flurry of chances in the final minutes of the half. An RFC ball across the box, is just out of reach of the player stretching to meet it, and the opportunity goes begging. GFC counter, as they have been very prone to do all evening, RFC do like flooding forward and leaving big gaps at the back. Their ball into the box is a good one, it finds the intended player unmarked for a free header, but in making the ball he also collides with the keeper and a foul is given.

I’m not sure why they have paid to get into tonight, maybe lollies are hard to come by in these parts but as Tom quite rightly points out, the trio of old men to our right have been “been talking about cars all half”, it's like a geriatric version of Top Gear.

“How the fuck are you offside there?” bellows the loudest of the RFC double act, “Fucks sake” says the other. The ball is in the back of the net for the home side, and I could just about be convinced that they deserve to take the lead, but the lino has raised his flag. “We've not been good enough” barks one GFC player following the home warning shot.

Although I’m very keen on green kits, GFC’s is very nice, but it's not a blinder. RFC’s on the other hand, a strangely glossy red and black number, which has a bit of the Aussie Rules about it, might just be edging it for me in the battle of the kits.

Commitment is about putting your body on the line and stopping at nothing to help your team. This is nowhere more evident than in the latest example of RFC grit, a flying horizontal mid air block, that stops the latest GFC attempt at getting the ball out wide. “Fucking love that” shouts Tom, thoroughly impressed, before he lets very a heinous belch, a hollow slightly sickly one, an “empty stomach burp” he calls it

GFC have the final chance of the half, a well worked free kick, ends with the ball being headed back across the box, only for it to be cut out. When the whistle goes, it all feels rather subdued again, the players slink off and Tom is not far behind them. The music is soon back on and a car passing behind me beeps its horn in support. I’m assuming its for the home team and not me personally.

Car chat is back, actually let me put that another way, car chat has never gone anywhere, I can just hear it more, now there are no screaming managers in the vicinity. One of them says “hatchback” so many times, I’m absolutely delighted to see Tom returning. His chips have a distinctly European flavour, he opted for mayo, and all round he’s very happy with his dinner, “very nice actually”, although in the end he thought better of getting himself a lolly.

“High tempo” demands the RFC keeper, clapping his big white Mickey Mouse gloves together, as the team's prepare to restart and that’s just what we get. Only a minute after the whistle and the home team have already hit the target. At the other end GFC have what looks like a goal bound shot blocked on the edge of the box and the following corner causes all sorts of problems. Not that it really had any reason too, but the RFC keeper, not for the first time, makes a complete hash of claiming the cross, at one point he has both feet off the ground with his hands and legs straight out in front of him, trying to Hadouken the ball clear, but ends up on the floor. Luckily for him a teammate is on hand to wallop it up field.

“Go, go, go” shouts the RFC manger, like a copper in a movie who's just kicked down a door, as one player flies down the right wing, but it comes to nothing. Two minutes after what looked for a moment to be promising RFC attack, GFC score, and things go rapidly downhill for the Spartans.

“That's their first shot on goal” bemoans one RFC player as the players ready themselves for the restart, It's all high fives and shouts of “get in” from the celebrating GFC players. “How do we react?” asks the RFC manager in his very, very shouty way. The answer is not well, not well at all.

GFC now look more and more threatening each time they are on the ball, they have also upped their full blooded tackle quota. Tom takes a sharp intake of breath though his half open mouth, as the latest GFC challenge goes flying in, which flirted on the line between fair and foul. RFC are starting to look leggy, GFC look like they could keep going at this pace for a long while yet. There is plenty of huffing and puffing from the home side, but blood and thunder will only get you so far. The visitors have the ball in the net again, but it's ruled out for offside, however the referee brings it back for an earlier foul, much to the dismay of the home bench.

RFC are on the edge of falling apart.

“Fucking unreal” shouts someone on the GFC bench, as everyone in the grounds jaw simultaneously hits the deck. I knew “fat Messi” had something about him, I did not expect that to be the ability to curl in a thirty yard free kick into the top left hand corner of the goal. A very, very special goal indeed.

How much longer the RFC manager is going to be able to keep it up, at the rate his team are self imploding, we’ll just have to wait and see. “Get us settled” he shouts, testing the upper reaches of his vocal range, bending his voice box to near breaking point. There is the ever so brief glimmer of hope, when they go close after conceding the two quickfire goals, but the player in the box just can't meet the cross, but I’m not sure it would have mattered any way, because minutes after conceding the second, they find themselves further behind.

“Oh dear” mutters Tom, we both start to slow edge away from the RFC dugout in fear of being burnt when the manager eventually explodes. Their keeper has had another shocker, however this one leads directly to a goal. A poor kick send the all straight to a GFC player, who is able to roll it into the empty net.

“Heads up Rochester” says one player, whose own chin is about a millimeter off his chest. “If we do the right things, we can get back into this” might go down as the single most optimistic thing I've ever heard at a football match. If I’m brutally honest that's wishful thinking to a near fanatical degree, but all the power to him for trying to lift the team.

With RFC’s energy dwindling, “fat Messi” is allowed ever more room, and his range of passing means it's not long before GFC are in again and adding to their tally. Setting their number 9 away down the far side of the pitch, it's as one person on the RFC bench put it, “to oeasy” for him to skip in to the box, cut it back to a teammate, who once he has controlled it, is able to shoot. It’s a shot that turns into a pass to a teammate on the edge of the six yard box, who turns and hammers it high into the net.

“Oh dear” says Tom again.

Four goals in less than ten minutes, may well be a record for us. After what was a relatively uneventful first half, where Tom felt goals were going to be very hard to come by, in less time that it takes him to apply his beard oil, GFC have well and truly blown RFC away, well and truly. In a skeleton clinging to a fence Terminator Two kind of way.

“Show some fucking bollocks, don't lay down and die” insists the RFC manager, sadly I think that time has passed, it's surely all about damage limitations now, considering how the last ten minutes have panned out. However the latest tirade from their gaffa seems to have stirred a few of the RFC players, who look to have taken his words on board, and launch a mini revival.

GFC though are more than happy to sit back and soak up whatever RFC can throw at them, not that the GFC substitute would know anything about what’s happening on the pitch, because he is taking a piss in a bush. The GFC manager occasionally has to remind his team to “settle” but I think he’s saying it to have something to do and it’s stopping him from blurting out something like ‘we’ve well and truly turned this lot over’. Set up to sit back, yes, but always poised to attack on the counter at the slightest notice.

Clearly Bernard's struggles with the scoreboard were terminal. While the GFC electronic one bathes us in a mixture of green and red light, the home teams one is manual, as Tom puts it, its like one “from an F1 pit wall”. With a goal to his name, and plenty of highlight reel moments, “fat Messi” has played all he is going to play tonight. “Oh no, he came off” points out a disappointed Tom. The break in play allows one RFC player to tell his teammates to “liven up” and the GFC captain who is a tough man to please, tells his teammates, “I want more from ya”.

Such is one RFC players commitment, he has come of worse for wear in one challenge and is bleeding. The referee is doing his best to get him of the pitch to be treated, the quick rinse of his lips not sufficient. “There's nothing there” emphasises the wounded player, but the referee still makes him go off, and he ends up missing the awarded free kick. “Bit harsh” says Tom.

Into the final quarter and as the GFC bench put it, it’s “great running” from their number 9 that wins them another corner. He looks very dangerous every time he is on the ball, however I think I would look pretty good if I was allowed as much time to do whatever I wanted, RFC are just going through the motions and barely. “How long you got left lino?” asks the GFC bench. “Fourteen” he replies, by
my calculations that's enough time to score five or six.

So I can bring the five people who read my blogs, such high quality content such as this, it does mean I am required to take notes, which I do on my phone. This can mean on occasion that my attention is diverted away from the match, meaning whenever the ball is in my general proximity, catching sight of it out the corner of my eye, it can cause me to uncontrollably and embarrassingly flinch. As you can imagine this brings much joy to Tom, however tonight he tells me he would “dive on me” to protect me, if the ball got to close.

These moments of tenderness between us are so rare, and very dear to me, but he goes and ruins it, by adding the caveat that it would “depend on how hard” the ball was travelling.

There is a distinct feeling that things are close to boiling over, “what's he doing, waiting for someone to get hurt?” asks the GFC bench, who once again asks for the team to “settle”, but the RFC tackles are getting later and later, and there is certainly potential for handbags.

Eight minutes from the end and the route is complete. Get in there” shouts someone from the GFC bench, one player lets out the trademark “wooooo” of the WWE hall of famer, Ric Flair. If one ludicrous free kick wasn't enough tonight, we’ve been treated to a second. A lob this time, instead of a sweaty struck rocket. “He nicked his goal” says Tom, sounding very annoyed for the player whose goal it should of been, only for another to pop up and it pinch the glory, by tapping it in, completely unnecessarily.

 “I think that calls for dessert” says Tom, pulling a Mars Bar from his pocket. What better way to celebrate our fifth and final goal of the night, with an assault on his already fragile teeth. The only noise from the RFC bench now is some of their customary grief to the referee, but I don't know why they're bothering.

With full time quickly approaching, GFC look like they might heap on some more misery, literally skipping down the right wing, the ball is crossed into the RFC box, but the forward is unable to tap it in for a sixth. “I don't care what the score is, we work to the last minute”, is the latest mantrafrom the RFC bench, who are going to need more than inspirational quotes pinched from Instagram to stay up this season.

“How've you got that wrong?” asks the GFC managers assistant, after what looked like a superb tackle to me, on a almost showboating RFC player. The manager complements his teams “great fucking work rate” as they have far from let their foot of the gas.

Exciting to the end, “two” replies the referee after being asked “how long” is left. “Woody” a GFC player fires a long range lob, only inches over. “Unlucky” says his manager, the Toy Story star named player looking over with a grin on his face. It was so close. Like I said, exciting to the end, on and off the pitch. The GFC assistant manager is doing kick ups in the technical areas, to shouts of “sign him up” from the players and in the final moments of the match, the RFC keeper has a major rush of blood to the head and comes over all Schumacher, absolutely clattering one GFC player to the floor.

“Refffff” remonstrates the GFC manger, but it's almost a surprise that the beleaguered man in charge, actually book him. The game comes to an end moments after GFC has stinged the palms of the RFC keeper one last time via another free kick.

Emerging from the GFC dugout we see the man responsible for all the shouts of "get in" and he must repeat it five or six times in the next thirty seconds. Both with faces like thunder, the RFC management duo still have the good grace to approach the GFC bench and shakes hands with them, which considering the shellacking they just took, it was probably the last thing they wanted to do.

 GFC by the admission of their manager were in a shocking vein of form earlier in the season, "twelve without a win", but tonights performance is a shining example that a turnaround is possible, is it too late for RFC though, only time will tell. They certainly don't lack fight, they didn't in the first half at least, embodying some of that Spartan spirit, the head of one they all wear on their chest in the clubs badge. However heads dropped and were never really up again after the first goal, its going to be a tough job to pick them up and go again.

If they could just draft in a couple of Leonidas mates, things might be OK. Might be.


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