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Blue Merlin 10 - New Ward B 0

Ruari Kennedy  Thursday, April 12, 2001  12:28 GMT

It's hard to write something complementary about a 10-0 spanking, but it all just depends on the way you look at it.

New Ward 'B', last place in the fourth division went out in a friendly against Blue Merlin , top of the second division last Sunday 8th June. No excuses, but it was painfully clear that New Ward were facing an uphill battle, partly because almost every match we've played this year has been an uphill battle but mostly due to the fact that New Ward had eight men plus one sub whilst the Opposition had enough men for their first team plus subs, a second team plus subs a supporting crowd and a set of cheerleaders.

New Ward 'B' started immensely. Smooth flowing passing, great movement, a drop of the shoulder here, a sublime flick of the ball there. Champagne stuff. The Opposition were bruised, battered and bewildered. I even heard one of them ask "Is this team really at the bottom of the fourth division?" as I nutmegged him.

Into the second minute of the game and New Ward 'B' started to flag. Clouds started to gather on the horizon. The pain and psychological battering of 15 straight defeats this season started to creep into the minds our New Ward 'B' heroes.

So the tide had turned. New Ward were on the back foot. It was the turn of the Opposition to play the good football. New Ward sat deep, perhaps too deep, inviting the goal hungry Opposition to 'have a go', which they duly did. It quickly descended into a training game, 'you take the ball and try and score' with the staunch defence of Gary, Ian, George and Bobby foiling 'Ze Germans' at every attempt. Surely something had to give way. It's bad enough with only eight or nine players on the pitch, but with four of them spectating from the half way line (I hold up my hand), the defence were never going to have it easy. It was a miracle New Ward came off the pitch only 1-0 down at half time, a testament to the sterling efforts of the defensive line.

The second half kicked off and the rout commenced. Nothing to talk about really. Nine goals against us. That's it. We had a few breaks sure; an attempted chip over the keeper that turned into a pass to Dan the Aussie for him to slot it in - he missed and it went out for a throw; Dan the Aussie running the ball into the corner when he had a clear shot on goal; Dan the Aussie putting the ball through the 'uprights' when he should have been putting it in the back of the net. But we all made mistakes, so there's no point singling any one person out. Gary.

Reminiscent of a titanic display by Dagenham & Redbridge against a much more rounded Charlton Athletic in the FA Cup 3rd round earlier this year, New Ward, whilst clearly possessing far greater talent, skill, looks and intellect, had simply been outnumbered on the day.
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