The Men’s 4th Team travelled to Taverham on a nippy December afternoon, knowing that we had to get something out of our match against Norwich City 3s. After watching the Men’s 2s annihilate City 1s, the team went onto the pitch full of belief that Saturday 6th December would go down as the day that we won a game and turned our season around. The game began and we took a foothold in the match, with the central pivots of Matt Hull and Stu Peters being used to good effect. The game soon became ten on ten when, in an off-the-ball incident, Greg Jagger found himself nose to nose with a City defender. The umpire removed a red card from his pocket and was about to brandish it at the instigator (not Greg) when Jagger retaliated in what can only be described as the feeblest shove known to man. This display of strength from Greg earned him a yellow and reduced the City player’s punishment to an equal sanction – well done Jagger!
Back to the game, and both teams had an equal share of possession, with Magpies winning a short corner and finding themselves camped out on the edge of City’s ‘D’ for long spells. However, nothing came of these, and City had the ball in the goal down our end when, after a swift counter-attack, their forward drove into the ‘D’ and struck a shot with such power that it created a hole in the side-netting before pinging off the backboard. The striker claimed his ‘goal’, but the umpires spotted the gap it had created and blew for a sixteen, much to Magpies’ relief.
Half-time, our old enemy, came, and the score stood at 0-0. Jelly babies on board, the team started the second half hoping to stop the rot of previous weeks, for it has become traditional that the 4s begin the latter period very slowly and often concede – a bad habit. Full of the incentive not to let it happen this week, we promptly conceded a short corner, then another, and then a goal. We tried to get back into the game, but the lack of passing precision meant that we weren’t building enough pressure; at the back, the ball went from Lawrence to Skinner, Skinner to Hipper, then Hipper to no-one bar the fence, much to Blackmore’s chagrin. That said, when David did receive good service he tended to maraud forwards and was the driving force behind many attacks. Likewise, Skinner had a very good game and kept their headless striker in his pocket throughout the match, while Palmer in goal made a string of outstanding saves to keep the score at 1-0 to them.
The game opened up as the second half continued, and hefty tackles began to become the norm. We managed to enter their ‘D’ a few times but, tellingly, didn’t manage to get one shot off all game (if I remember correctly), despite King, Sewell and Jagger’s tenacity and Peters’ ingenuity. City were more clinical, and, despite Palmer’s best efforts, managed to net two more and kill the match. A frustrating day, and we are still to pick up a win.