Newmarket Men’s 1s: 7-1 win vs Norwich Dragons Men’s 3s (Home)
(Wilson 6 [six], Holden)
Newmarket’s penultimate game of the season saw them face already-relegated Norwich Dragons 3s at home, a game that would nevertheless demand a good deal of focus and concentration from Town if they were to avoid an embarrassing slip up. During the pre-match chat, skipper Matt Holden made sure to emphasise this notion and carefully instructed the defence to not concede any goals at all. The less well informed members of Town’s considerable fan base may have thought this a tall order as Town’s back line was to be without the ever-present Jordan Newnes this week, but luckily Welsh folk hero Dave ‘wonkyfinger’ Worrall was available to make his long awaited comeback from a 14-month injury layoff. #WelcomeBackWorrall
However, things did not get off to a good start for Newmarket as the warm up was a lacklustre affair and took place with only half the team present. Further woes followed shortly after, as midfielder Mike Skelton suffered yet another reoccurrence of his groin injury, leaving Newmarket with a bare XI. Luckily for Town, Andy Baker was on hand to warm the bench following his match for the 2s that morning, and later came on at right wing for his 1st team debut.
This injury led to Town’s loveable leader altering the formation in the spellbinding fashion that only he can, moving Sam Smith into what has been dubbed ‘The Skelton Role’ and complimenting a backbone of defensive stalwart Chris Leggett and midfield maestro Josh Dawson. Ollie Trent started wide right while, in his second game that day, Louis Hrebeniak attempted to play the mythical position of left half once again. The back line consisted of the usual suspects as Darren ‘MOTM’ Jenkins, Simon ‘Boom Boom’ Harrington & William ‘God’ Wilson took their accustomed positions, while some new chap named Worrall lined up in the heart of defence. Finally, the master tactician made the genius and controversial decision to play Martin ‘The Scottish Mignolet’ McCourt betwixt the sticks in a last ditch bid to get free tickets to the World Cup.
The match started with Newmarket playing into the sun (a purposeful decision I am reliably informed – who am I to argue with the Thinkerman) and having the best of the opening passages. However, very little progress was made into the opposing ‘D’ and Town’s defence was called on to be as solid as it has been all season, Worrall playing as if he’d never been away and sweeping up everything Dragons could throw at him. The away side pushed hard down the flanks and forced Smith to shift across and assist the wingers and full backs, a task he performed superbly and much to the appreciation of the partisan crowd lining the home touchline. Chances were few and mainly stemmed from the runs of Smith and Dawson. Harrington was also able to Boom Boom a couple of passes (if they can be described as such) forward and once managed to pick out Hrebeniak at the far post, but unfortunately the winger’s stick somehow developed a massive hole in the tip and the ball went straight through and wide of the net. Perhaps it had been weakened by all that sunbathing…
The umpires were kept busy throughout the half as a result of a varying range on infringements, and eventually Town won a number of short corners. The crowd roared, Harrington Boom Boomed, and then Wilson emphatically crashed home his 11th goal of the season. A trademark strike from the experienced left back to give Town a 1-0 lead, and settle any nerves that an upset might be on the cards.
Newmarket’s second goal soon followed in the form of a stonewall penalty flick – up stepped Wilson once again, he took one look at the keeper and then almost took the net off, a thunderbolt into the top left corner. Half time score, 2-0 to the home side.
At this point someone must have told Wilson that he was now only one goal behind Holden’s tally for the season, and after the restart it didn’t take him long to bag his hat trick from another short corner. Leggett injected and the Norwich defensive five had no answer to Wilson’s superlative strike into the bottom left corner. However, such is the character of the man that he wasn’t satisfied with merely equalling his captain’s total, and so he notched up his fourth from a second penalty flick shortly afterwards. Holden had initially attempted to regain his lead of the goal scoring charts by bursting through the Dragons back line and jinking past the sliding keeper, but ended up handing Wilson the very same opportunity when he was hauled down by a combination of dodgy defenders and an irate keeper. The umpires consulted briefly and awarded the flick, perhaps saving Norwich the futile task of charging down yet another Wilson short corner bullet. Up stepped the great man once more and he coolly dispatched the ball into exactly the same spot as the first. Wilson 4, Dragons 0.
Now, Holden was not about to take this unbridled affront to his character lying down and made a push to regain his grip on the top scorer trophy by slotting neatly past the Dragons keeper. However, before he could do anything else he was shown the yellow card by the nearside umpire (who was later seen having his shirt signed by Wilson). The game descended into a bad tempered affair for a short while and saw several more players shown both yellows and greens, notably Town’s Harrington for a glorious professional foul as he wielded his Griffin like a chainsaw. At this point we also learnt that apparently Norwich-dwellers have no concept of the word “corner”…
Holden returned to the pitch set on regaining his pride (if not the trophy) and so decided to take on the entire Norwich defence a few minutes later. He beat one. He beat two. He beat three. He was in on goal. In such a situation, a lesser man may have buckled under pressure and passed the ball to Smith (who incidentally had an open goal at his mercy), but did Town’s fearless leader release? No! Passing is for wimps and fools and those of a nervous disposition, says he! The high commander unleashed his shot with vigour; it flew towards the gaping goalmouth, past the defenders, past the keeper, past the post… And went wide, closely followed by his chances of becoming top scorer and not receiving DOTD.
As if to emphasise this fact, Wilson chose that moment to score again. The ball broke to him after yet another short corner and he fired home with the clinical edge of a man that likes being clinical. Minutes later, Holden begrudgingly accepted Wilson’s greater class on the day and graciously squared the ball to him, providing the ample left back with a tap in for his sixth and final goal. Job done. We almost don’t need to mention the sloppy consolation goal for Dragons. That is to say, when you score six goals and break most of the records there are to break, nobody remembers the one you concede. But I do. And it’s all Wilson’s fault. Entirely.
Final score on the day, Newmarket 7, Norwich 1. #WonWillWilson
MOTM – This one must be fairly obvious! Congratulations to Will Wilson on his fantastic tally of six goals (or four if your preferred numerical system is similar to Worrall’s). Keep spreading the love…
DOTD – Holden for not passing to Smith and instead attempting to score himself (and failing, alas). At this point it’s probably worth mentioning that the skipper did actually have first dibs on the penalty flicks but, like the gentleman he is, allowed nominated taker Wilson to bang them in. Top work all round.
Newmarket Men’s 2s: 1-2 loss vs Norwich Dragons Men’s 4s (Away)
Newmarket Ladies’ 1s: 2-1 win vs Long Sutton Ladies’ 1s (Hone)
(G. Evans 2)
Above: Claire McDonnell runs with the ball in the L1’s vital win at home to Long Sutton.
Click here to view photographs of the match by Michael Bennett.
Newmarket Ladies’ 2s: 0-5 loss vs Huntingdon Ladies’ 1s (Away)
Newmarket Ladies’ 3s: 1-3 loss vs Cambridge City Ladies’ 5s (Home) (Carr)
Above: Newmarket defend a short corner under the watchful eye of umpire Vicky Benedikz.
Click here to view photographs of the match by Michael Bennett.