Sunday, August 24, 2008

Acts Of Unjust Justice

Sheffield FC's Goalkeeper To the Rescue (Photo From Dave Hill)

After three games, Sheffield FC are top of their League, leading goalscorers, top crowd pullers and are playing a settled team.

I have already reported on how pleased we were to grab a 2-2 draw in our last game, but it had nothing on yesterday's events.

Our opponents were Quorn from Leicestershire, who must feel robbed to have ended up in the League's relegation zone. They stormed all over us in the first half. Thankfully our goalkeeper, Leigh Walker was on top form. The photo above shows him pouncing to smother one of the Quorn's attacks.

Justice was done for Quorn in the 21st Minute when they took their lead in a totally unjust fashion. The Quorn striker, Justin Jenkins was clearly offside when he ran onto a through pass with only our goalkeeper to beat. That his goal was offside is confirmed by Dave, Martin, Mark and myself and all the other Sheffield FC fans situated in line with the linesman. What further independent evidence is needed !

We all breathed a sigh of relief when we rushed for a half-time pint at the Club's pub. The score had not progressed beyond 1-0 and the second half might be different.

Football is of course a game of two halves - except for the Sunderland v Derby County game in September 1894 which was covered in our match programme. It had three halves, for reason's that can best be explained in a pub quiz. But we were limited to the normal two halves and Sheffield FC turned the game on its head in the second half.

Sean Bowles in the Quorn goal now matched and surpassed our own goalkeeper's first half performance. Especially as he was allowed to get away with enough time-wasting to have accommodated for a third-half. Scott Partridge was a constant danger in our attack and was denied what should have been a penalty in the 70th Minute (well that was the consensus around me).

But the minutes passed and Quorn were headed for victory, until in the 85th Matt Roney our substitute did his Rooney act. He beat three defenders cutting in from the left wing and hit the back of the net with a fierce ground shot from more than 20 yards.

As the 90th Minute approached, Scott Partridge got his revenge for being denied a justified penalty 20 minutes earlier. He now engineered a penalty. Paul Smith (Smudge) is the master of dead ball kicks and even the mighty Quorn keeper had no chance with his penalty shot.

Now well into added time Roney/Rooney struck again. Cutting into the box from the left-wing he hit another firm ground shot into the back of the net.

3-1 was a flattering score, although each of our goals was a form of gem. It allowed us to end up with 7 points out of our first 9, when we might have had to settle for a total of only 3 points. It has been late twists in our last two games which have saved us.

Sheffield FC have now attracted the three largest attendances in the League for the games they have played in - 408 yesterday. The games have all been pulsating in their different ways. So we may hold on to some of the new fans. Martin's mate Mark was a first time attender and is an obvious convert.

Even if things go wrong, we have our goalkeeper to entertain us. He is liable to walk towards the half-way line when we are on the attack and he continually shouts instructions to the rest of the team - even to our captain. Well it is fun until it goes wrong.

His volatile behaviour is countered by our new player-manager, Chris Dolby. To start with he won't play himself and stays on the bench. Then he sticks with the same (non-losing team) when he can. There have only been two forced changes in the initial line-up. Steve Hawes (midfield) is an holiday, whilst from our mid-week game Vill Powell (striker) has a hair line fracture of the tibia which will keep him out of the team for 6 to 8 weeks.

Perhaps Chris is wise not change a non-losing team. But I have two suggestions for a modest reshuffle. In the absence of Vill, why not move Gary Townsend up into his old position as striker where he was highly effective on his initial arrival at the Club? Then he has a returning Steve Hawes or even himself to put into Gary's current mid-field position. If Chris doesn't then like how he is playing, he can always substitute himself.

For an alternative report of the match and photos see here.

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