Newmarket Men’s 2’s v North Norfolk Men’s 2’s: 4 – 1 win to Newmarket
Adrian Atkinson had missed the reverse of this fixture and Newmarket had lost 4 – 0 . This time he was available and the game was built up as an answer to the question “how much difference does Adrian actually make?” The answer was reflected in the score line – Adrian makes THE difference – because he drives son James to the game; and as the t shirts say “James wins Games”.
With Lee Blades ill and Matt Holden unavailable, Town started with Atkinson Jnr and Jonny Bunker up front and the two youngsters set about terrorising the away sides back line. Bunker’s pace took him clear on 3 occasions but last ditch tackles and some good keeping kept the scores level – for a while.
Things changed when Drew Wood switched Bunker and Chris Evans. Out wide Bunker had space to run and Evan’s brought his clever touches in field.
In a fitting tribute to the festive season it was Towns own 3 wise men who combined for the opener. Atkinson snr’s pin point pass found Simon Harrington, he in turn fed Andreou who rifled the ball home for what would have been goal of the game, if it were not for the 3 and a half screamers that followed.
The second was even better. Atkinson Jnr beat his man before cutting back inside and winning the foul. Wood called set play 4 but the cheers of the home crowd must have drowned out his instructions because Evans pushed the ball to the top of the D. Harrington did what any great player would have done when faced with such a surprise. He controlled the ball, drew the on coming running and crashed it home. The familiar chant of “2 – 0 to the Yellow and Blue” echoed around the ground.
The 3rd came when Andreou fed Evans. With his back to goal Chris “Assists” Evans played the pass of the game. Reading the bounce of the ball he used the top edge of his stick to deflect it high over his shoulder and into the path of Atkinson Jnr. Jnr did the rest. His first touch took him past the full back, his next took him into the D and his 3rd put the ball in the top left corner. A proud smile from his Dad said it all.
The 4th should have come when Atkinson found space to fire goalward but the sheer power his strike saw the ball shatter on its way into the goal. Both halves beat the keeper but Umpire Bullimore had no option but to call play back and award a bully.
By now the pitch was becoming unplayable. The quicker players struggled to keep their footing which wasn’t a problem which concerned Harrington as he strolled past half the North Norfolk team* on a run that had the whole crowd on their feet** before sending his shot crashing against the post***.
Town saved the best for last. Atkinson broke down the right and crossed for Evans. Sensing Wood behind him and in a better position Evans feignted to meet the ball before lifting his stick at the very last minute. It was the classic dummy, read only by Wood who gave it the finish it deserved. 4 – 0. Take a bow Chris Evans.
North Norfolk scored late on in the game before a near frozen pitched ended the match a few minutes early. Hands were shaken and the crowd went home talking about Atkinson and Evans, the Sturridge and Suarez of Division 4.
Notes to reader * numbers may have been exaggerated
** crowd was already standing because dugout seating was wet
*** it was the post of a football goal positioned some 3-4 yards wide of the hockey goal he was aiming at