Wed 8th October 2003 Pamela Anderlecht 1 (0) vs. (1) 1 Garnett A

A disappointing 1-1 draw for the A's on Wednesday saw them slip to 3rd in the table behind the early pace setters Garnett B and Athletico Jizzmen. However, the outcome of this match could have been very different and was definitely a case of two points dropped for the A's whose opposition Pamela Anderlecht celebrated like they had just won the F.A. Cup at the final whistle.

Once again, the preparation for the game was far from adequate. The A's had to make do with a few guest appearances and although they were very much appreciated, it is going to be a nice feeling for Manager Dave Alexander and Captain Alex Martin to pick from a full strength squad. Former man-of-the match players Smith and Hurry were unavailable through injury as were Ossawy and Rogers. Bell and Burke-Murphy were notable absentees due to other commitments; surely with the return of all of these players, including long term absentee Dan Corcoran, the A's will be a force to be reckoned with.

Playing on the smallest inter-mural pitch hindered the A's immensely especially with the pace of Thompson starting up front for the first time at inter-mural level. The A's play a flowing type of football, often using the flanks intelligently, but the size of the pitch restricted their game plan and Garnett's inability to adapt in addition to the billowing wind was a definite boost for the opposition.

However, it was Garnett who dominated the game. Pamela are by all accounts a very average football side and were put under concerted pressure by the A's. Offering very little in attack, Pamela were restricted to speculative shots and a handful of corners; the defensive quartet once again were reassuring at the back and the midfield were overrunning the opposition. It was therefore no surprise when Thompson put Garnett ahead mid way through the first half, latching onto a defensive mistake and putting the ball past the keeper at the second attempt; the first time the A's have scored first this season.
However, the A's will rue the chances that went begging to put the game beyond Pamela's grasp and the half time score line of 1-0 was little reflection on chances and possession; it should have been a lot more.

The referee's kiss of death quote during half time really summed up the afternoon: 'I might as well just stay on their 18 yard box' he mused, and that's pretty much where he did stay. The A's opened brightly and Alexander's superb 35 yard curling free kick deserved much more than simply hitting the outside of the post. Sometimes games just don't seem to go your way and this was certainly the case for the A's in this match. As in the first period, chances went begging, but it was loss of concentration that cost Garnett their clean sheet and ultimately three points. Mid-way through the second half, Pamela won a corner with one of their few attacking moves and Anderlecht's captain stole in from mid-field to head past Poole. This was a silly mistake to make and Garnett must stay awake in these situations in future.

Although despondent through conceding an equalizer, the A's responded by putting Anderlecht under immense pressure Pamela, are a scrappy but resolute side and battled well to keep the lively Thompson and Dawson at bay. However, the willingness to play long balls over the top on such a small pitch seriously curtailed the A's attacking threat. Gradually as the match drew to a close, things started to get a little unsavoury with the substitute Pamela striker being sent off for aiming a punch at Ingham and another receiving a yellow card moments later. It was also a little depressing to see such unsporting play from Anderlecht. Hoofing the ball into the next estate is effective for running the clock down, but in the name of football, surely someone should have told Pamela's lobotomised centre-back to stop it.

Unrelenting pressure did seem to gain Garnett a winner, yet the referee Gary Crompton deemed the ball not to have crossed the line, although many clearly saw it at least a yard over. However, the desperate defending and astonishing goal keeping kept the A's out. Uncharacteristically, heads started to drop in the Garnett side as they desperately searched for the vital winner and as the final whistle was blown, the A's knew they had dropped two precious points against poor, yet determined opposition.

Next week, the prospect of Dyslexic and the return of some key players will surely re-awaken the hunger for victory in the A's. Sometimes luck just doesn't go your way, but the quid pro quo is, surely you make your own luck?

Team: J.Poole, A.Buckman, D.Mullan, T.Ingham, A.Martin, D.Mercer, D.Alexander,
M.Simmons, C.Dawson, J.Thompson 1 (MoM), R.Turner