Righto my little cherubs, it's the author again, back at the coalface of the computer digging for gems of dialogue and pearls of wisdom to put into the match report this week, albeit with apologies as it is a little later than usual. The Classics made their first ever visit to McNeill Park to take on Ben United. It was also another first as the game was played with a 9:00am kick-off, although there was no reason why as the next game on the park was scheduled for 1:00pm. It beggars belief – but it is Richmond! There was an eerie silence as no-one wanted to wake up the local birds who were still tucked up fast asleep under their blankets in their little nests. The Classics had a new player by the name of Bill McAuley introduced to them before the game kicked off and local yokel Chas Jones was waylaid en-route but did arrive in time for the start of the game.
The ground was frosty and a little on the slippy side so both teams made a cautious start. The visitors got the first break through in the tenth minute after a fine right wing burst for Jimmy Butler. Butler sent over a great cross for the waiting Chuck McGill but the striker timed his run too early and the ball sailed over his head. It was a fortuitous moment for the Classics as the ball cannoned off a United defender's head and powered itself into the back of the net for the opener. United fought back and tried to establish themselves with some good goalworth efforts but Garry Hackel was once again on top form and denied them time after time.
In the 35th. minute a left wing break by United resulted in a corner kick. The centre was at hip height and Danny Jensen attempted to hoof the ball to safety. However, the night before he had been watching Fox Sports World and they had shown the retro production of “Dave Moore's Ten Best Goals” and in true Moore-esque style he hammered the ball past the despairing Hack who was obviously much too complacent on the field as he realised that Moore was on the sideline. So, bizarrely, it was 1-1 and neither side had scored a 'real' goal.
Five minutes later a United defender handled in the box and the Classics were awarded a penalty. There was no way that anyone but Jensen was going to take the kick as he wanted to redress the balance. He strode up and placed the ball to the left of the keeper to put the visitors in the lead again. If that wasn't enough, two minutes from the half-time whistle Fisher Crockett had ventured where no full-back had ventured before, or should ever be allowed to venture again, and he pushed a delicately weighted ball from the half-way line for Butler to run onto. The resultant run left Butler in a one-on-one with the keeper and that's hardly fair as there could only be one winner. Butler nonchalantly slipped the ball low and to the right of the keeper to send the visitors in for the half time oranges 3-1 to the good.
The home side started the second half in fine form and they created some good chances to get themselves back in the game but again Hackel was keeping them at bay. The Classics also had some good chances for McGill, Chris Arcari and Alfie Deglan to increase the lead but their efforts came to nothing. Jimmy Eden was sending some pin point crosses and corners over but the forwards were always a whisker away from making contact. Mike Snow was using his long throw to good effect but again no-one was in a position to finish the game off.
Midway through the second half, after several successful United attacks down the flank, one centre from the right found a United player perfectly placed to leave him with the easiest of chances which he gratefully accepted and powered a header past the Hack. With seventeen minutes left Arcari sent over a beautiful ball to the head of McGill, who leaped like a salmon out of water to steer a perfectly glanced header beyond the home keeper to re-establish the two goal lead.
With time running out, and true to historical fact and tradition, United began to argue amongst themselves and there became an edge to the game. One of the United players was booked for consistently mouthing off and, in retrospect, probably should have been dismissed to calm procedings down. Rick Geary retired from the game for a rest and Moore replaced him at the centre of defence. It was akin to gladiators going into the den and with less than 15 minutes left, Moore was involved with a minor skirmish with the United number 10. Seeing his team-mates giving him the “thumbs down” signal, he effectively ended the game there and then as the referee had seen enough and he abandoned the match with fully 13 minutes remaining. So once again, a meeting between these two teams never went to full term.
Final Score 2-4 (1-3)
MWG: Jimmy Butler
You were crap award: Tony Short