The 3s took to the pitch under the lights at Hitchin and in time to see the first Nov 5th rockets take to the sky.
We faced Blueharts 4s, the higher of their two teams in our league and it was always going to be a tough match although all our matches have been in this league as we are forced to punch above our weight, not individual weights i hasten to add, as some of these are quite substantial .
Having listened to “Sparkler” Goodwins pre match sermon, we knew what was needed and how we thought we could deliver especially with the welcome addition of both Payton junior AND Payton the much older.
Things started well with Goodwin's plan for the short pass and the press, being affective especially with Steve “Jumping Jack” Redmond causing Blueharts some angst and as such, we held the young bucks from the home side at bay.
Had it not been for the random fumbling of what should have been a relatively easy clearance by "Catherine Wheel “Johnson (don’t worry its me writing the report), we would have gone in at HT with a satisfacory 0-0 , sadly though the ball dribbled over the line to give them the lead.
During the HT hustings we accepted that for periods we had held them in their own half for good periods and won a number of shorts and some good on target attempts.
Into the second half with the night sky resembling an evenings finale at Disney world, we again looked strong on the attack WHEN we kept our shape, passed the ball accurately, and avoided the classic 3 iron drive up field for the forwards to try and lock on to. However our omnipresent issue of tiredness and lack of rolling substitutes, forced us into breaking ranks and loosing shape during which they stole another goal from open play.
Not giving up we had another strong spell in the second half where our press and good passing kept us well in their half for 15 minutes during which we had opportunities to score from as number of shorts and some fine individual skills from our very own Roger "Guido Fawks” Payton including a fine cross bar challenge attempt.
As the sky became heavy with smoke and the liniment wore off and with the younger , less hairy legs of Blueharts keeping a pace that could only be dreamt of by many of the M3 regulars , Blueharts became ever more dominant in the attack and scored a further 3 goals in a short period of time, 2 from open play and another from a short.
Whilst Blueharts certainly had some rockets in fireworks tin, we were no damp squibs ourselves, and, as has become a trademark in M3s, kept on running until the final whistle. Special mention to our very own toasted marshmallows up front - Goodwin , Peachey, and Redmond (who thinks by self diagnosed he sustained a broken foot) as well as our ever brave toasted chestnuts defence who always have to put in a shift these days.
Toby Payton, stepping up to the 3rds for the first time, played and ran with great spirit thoughout.
In summary - life continues to be tough for the M3s who lack “the yoof” and seldom have adequate subs to enable the old lags time for a breather BUT never give up and always offer support rather than personal critisism in difficult times.
As Sparkler Goodwin always says, win , loose or draw, enjoy the hockey and as long as you put in a full shift , you can’t ask any more.
Final whistle Blueharts 5 - Berko 0