Mousehold 4 , Branford Arms 2
Until last weekend, the weather had been fairly kind to us Sunday football aficionados. I figured that the 90 sodden minutes I endured at the Hewett last Sunday morning was punishment for swapping the likes of Sloughbottom Park for Carrow Road the previous Sunday.
Evening News Norwich Sunday League Division 4A
Until last weekend, the weather had been fairly kind to us Sunday football aficionados.
I figured that the 90 sodden minutes I endured at the Hewett last Sunday morning was punishment for swapping the likes of Sloughbottom Park for Carrow Road the previous Sunday. With the luxury of hindsight there was probably much more enjoyment to be had from watching the 22 men whose motivation to get up that morning was more post-match pint and pork scratchings than pounds. High horse? Bitter? Twisted? Me?
My choice of match was made easy this week, firstly thanks to an emailed request from Mousehold's goalkeeper, Michael Crosby, and secondly because it was the only top-of-the-table clash being played.
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Mousehold had suffered a 7-2 defeat at the hands of Division 4A rivals Branford Arms in the first game of the season and seemed to be heading for a similar result, if not scoreline, after the first half's action.
Justin Rolfe hit the bar for Branford Arms after nine minutes but the rebound fell kindly for Crosby, who was called upon again several times during the half to make saves from Rolfe's colleagues.
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The home side's only real chance fell to Steve Waple, whose header was cleared off the line by a well-placed Branford Arms defender.
With half-time approaching, Branford Arms eventually made their pressure tell when Jimmy Arthurton headed home a Darren Rice corner.
But their lead didn't last long after the restart as resurrected (his team-mates' description, not mine) Tim Read burst through the Branford Arms defence to score Mousehold's equaliser.
It was the turning point of the match and during the next 30 minutes, Mousehold racked up a 4-1 lead.
Player-manager David Whitmore put them ahead after a long throw from Leroy Peters, Matthew Nixon finished an impressive mazy run with a strike to match, and Phil Paine grabbed a birthday goal with 10 minutes to go.
Branford Arms added a consolation goal through Jason Leggett three minutes from time but Mousehold never looked like surrendering their lead, and perhaps would have added to their tally had the penalty area not resembled a quagmire.
Despite Mousehold now being level on points with Branford arms, they remain second in the table as a result of their opponents' far superior goal difference.
t Mousehold: Read 48, Whitmore 64, Nixon 73, Paine 80
t Branford Arms: Arthurton 44, Leggett 87
t Mousehold: 1 Michael Crosby 8, 6 Steve Waple 7, 7 Dean Burnett 8, 69 Andy Bales 7, 5 Ben Hallett 8, 18 Matthew Nixon 8, 12 Tim Read 8, 8 Sam Hallett 7, 14 Phil Paine 7 (13 Chris Waple 80), 16 David Whitmore 7 (10 Simon Harrington 79), 15 Leroy Peters 8 (23 Danny Crosby-couldn't-remember-my-surname 84).
t Branford Arms: 1 Paul Nudds 7, 2 Jamie Sandy 7, 3 Mark Francis 7, 4 Luke Humphrey 7, 5 Sean Kelly 7, 6 Darren Rice 8, 12 Gavin Andrews 7, 11 Mick Stockwell 7 (surely not the Mick Stockwell?), 9 Jason Leggett 8, 7 Justin Rolfe 7, 10 Jimmy Arthurton 7 (8 Danny Hamment 73 7). Sub unused: 14 Marcus Blanchflower.
t Shots on: Mousehold 8, Branford 7
t Shots off: Mousehold 4, Branford 7
t Corners: Mousehold 3, Branford 6
t Offsides: Mousehold 4, Branford 2
t Fouls: Mousehold 8, Branford 8
t Referee: Philip Wynes
t Attendance: 12
t Man of the match: Michael Crosby
t Weather: Constant drizzle
t Kit of the match: Returns this week, and it has to be Branford Arms, whose strip is sponsored by 'Wash & Go'. Certainly might've come in handy after all that rolling in mud.