OCCFC v GSGFC Match Report - 17th Dec 2017

Please find the below match report of OCCFC’s game, taken from the Green St Green Gazette.

 

After a 5 year hiatus, 17th December 2017 saw the return of Orpington Cricket Club Football Club. The opposition were Green St Green FC, and the setting was a sodden mud-bath at Westcombe Park, which wasn’t going to be conducive to the free flowing, tiki-taka football the OCCFC supporters have become accustomed too.  

A late change to the starting XI put OCCFC’s best laid plans into jeopardy, when it was discovered that Alex Graham still cannot handle his drink, and was subsequently ruled out of the game with a hangover. The OCCFC starting XI was as follows:

1)      A. Smith
2)      B. Graham
3)      R. McElligott
4)      A. Page
5)      G. Fuller
6)      D. Robinson
7)      D. Grover
8)      S. Cole
9)      N. Atherton
10)    R. De Mel
11)    L. Markell 

Subs
12)   B. Clarkson
13)   P. Sterling
14)   C. Brook
15)   K. Lawrence

Green St Green had a starting XI consisting of four current OCC members (A. Watts, D. Game, J. Gunnar, A. Langford), they won the toss and opted to play with the wind in the second half. N. Atherton got the game underway for OCCFC with his first and last completed pass of the match. 

The tough conditions were apparent from the off, with players on both sides struggling to keep their feet; the dazzling footwork being shown by B. Graham early on was also a contributing factor for the GSG players. Cruyff turn, Pele run-around and now the Graham feint…

OCCFC started the game brightly, forcing an early corner, which was taken and wasted by N. Atherton. Shortly after, R. De Mel set N. Atherton through on goal; the partisan home crowd rose to their feet in anticipation of seeing the net ripple, instead they saw the OCCFC number 9 fire wide. Was this a sign of things to come for the self-proclaimed ‘Destroyer’? Yes it was, 2 minutes later another glorious chance for N. Atherton, but all he could do was fire straight at the keeper. Supposedly 8 goals in 4 vets games this season for the Destroyer, left the home fans and players wondering if it was a World War II vets league he was playing in…

N. Markell was now calling the shots from the side-lines, along with his assistant F. Penfold. Although F. Penfold was showing footballing nous more akin to Jodie Kidd than Brian Kidd.  D. Grover was first to make way after using all his energy up celebrating a header in the warm up, replaced by C. Brook. Huge cheers from the home spectators as N. Atherton was also replaced by the legend himself, P. Sterling. K. Lawrence also made a fleeting visit to the playing arena. Short, but certainly memorable. 

Then came the moment of real controversy. After an OCCFC corner was cleared, the ball fell back to S. Cole who whipped in a cross. GSG defender A. Watts, whom sought a game for GSG after being shunned by OCCFC after his previous performances, further vindicated the management’s decision when he shinned his clearance horribly. The ball went past A. Langford in the GSG goal in slow motion (would he have moved quicker if it was a Panini?) as the ball clipped the post and ran across the line, and in before a GSG defender could clear it. The OCCFC players wheeled off in celebration only for the game to continue. The non-Russian and visionless GSG Linesman kept his flag down, to great disgust and anger from the home side. Despite the protests the game continued goalless.

How long would it remain scoreless for though, with the great P. Sterling now on the pitch. The man with 6,765 career goals was out to prove a point. Minutes after entering the pitch, the ball broke in the area to him, a man of such experience would surely put OCCFC 1-0 up! OVER!!! Dismay all round. Had he really scored 6,765 goals or is he just another Pele making up goal figures for fun…?

The miss would prove costly, as 2 mins later GSG took the lead after a ball down the left set the GSG winger through on goal. A wonderful one handed save by A. Smith in the OCCFC goal could only parry the ball against the bar, before dropping down to be tapped in. A cruel blow.

How would the home side react? Would this part time outfit capitulate? What followed before half time was three more glorious chances for OCCFC. First P. Sterling slotted wide when it looked easier to score, before two magnificent B. Clarkson Yohann Cabaye-esque through balls set up another couple of chances, which neither R. De Mel or S. Cole could take advantage of.

The referee signalled half time, as the OCCFC centre backs A. Page and G. Fuller left the field looking like they’d completed a 10k tough mudder rather than a half of football.  Bodies were on the line for the cause. A very good first half.

Due to injuries sustained during the first half - S. Clarkson was brought in from the stands to play for OCCFC in the second half and he was into the action straight away, firing over after some good build up play. OCCFC were now well and truly knocking on the door. 

Drastic action was required, A. Watts the GSG captain did his best South American theatrics impression after a tackle by N. Atherton to slow the game down. “OFF OFF OFF” chanted the home fans at their own striker, clearly dismayed by the lack of composure and ability shown so far by their target man. Yellow given. 

The chances continued to flow for OCCFC and in particular the incompetent N. Atherton. Once again, it was harder to miss than score, but he somehow managed to fire wide after rounding the keeper with an open goal begging. It was becoming apparently obvious that the only thing being destroyed by ‘The Destroyer’ was his team’s confidence in him. 

As the legs started to tire, the game became stretched and the next goal became even more critical. A long ball from GSG, deceived the OCCFC back line and the GSG striker fired past A. Smith emphatically. A sickening blow for OCCFC who were now up against it, with time ticking away. 

With P. Sterling now joining N. Atherton up top, could they salvage something from the game? You couldn’t script it, as another chance fell to the burley striker who could only fire at his own man. His match summed up in one moment...

As the ref blew for full time - it was a case of what might have been for OCCFC, but despite the horrid conditions put up a brave fight and after a few beers the sore limbs and frost bite started to ease, unfortunately the memories of the N. Atherton horror show will take longer to erase...


A special thank you to GSG for playing & Adrian Langford for having the thankless task of refereeing. 


MOTM - Steve Cole