Guildford Gondoliers 3 - 3 Haslemere
For the second week in a row, the Gondoliers emerged into the winter sunlight without a goalkeeper, albeit this week, as a result of a virulent form of man flu condemning Chalmers (James, not Judith) to the sick bay. That said there was a certain confident air to the team that, the previous week, had managed to prove to itself that all was not lost. In fact it was probably being remembered that, by Horsham’s own admission, had it not been for their early three goal advantage while the Gondoliers found their mojo, Horsham were prepared to head for the hills as the onslaught that followed for the final two thirds of the game pinned them to their half of the pitch. And so it was that the next encounter of our fierce local rivalry with Haslemere began.
Without the need to convince itself of its capabilities without a fully laden goalkeeper, the Gondoliers got in to their stride, commanding the midfield and also pinning a more than competent Haslemere to their half. From early on, Sturgess was causing them problems and so it was unsurprising when, midway through the first half, he took control of the ball outside the top of the D, pushed on into the circle and struck cleanly into the left side of the goal.
Halftime passed and the Gondoliers continued to push. Regan realised his appetite for a short corner or two and, before Haslemere could do anything about the relentless pressure, found himself the owner of a brace of beautifully struck set piece goals.
This was not taken well by our thunderstruck opponents, not least their ebullient centre forward who was leafing his way through the many versions of the rule book that players of our vintage have experienced but to no avail. His frustrations were soon put to more effective use as Haslemere eventually broke loose, committed the padless last line of defence on the edge of the circle and nudged home their first of the game with a rallying cry for more.
It is important to note that the next episode of the game is highly dependent on the version of events and perspective that you listen to. Regardless, a ball flicked up within the D into the ribs of Hayley (goal bound or not) resulted in the award of a penalty flick. Without a fully clad goalkeeper, it became unclear how this was to be settled until the sight of the Haslemere goalkeeper galloping from the opposite end of the pitch made it clear that his services were being offered. Conflicted or not, it was agreed. The truth was he made a very convincing effort to save a well connected flick, except that the flick ended up being less well taken than had been expected, and slipped beneath the pads of the diving Haslemere goalie. 3-2.
The dying end of the game turned into a scramble. End to end stuff but sadly Haslemere raised one last breakaway and the inevitable equaliser squeezed in on the right hand post. Not long after, the whistle called the end of the game.
Once again the opposition were admitting they were generally under the cosh for large parts of the game and the Gondoliers scrambled for the moral high ground. In fact, as they strolled home into the sunset, the rose coloured spectacles became a must and the result was formally declared :
Guildford defence let in 2, Haslemere goalie let in 4 (which is a Gondolier victory by any measure!)
But it must be said that for the second week in a row the Gondoliers played some compelling and convincing hockey across the whole team, the experienced and the less experienced, and dominated much of the game despite their disadvantage and began to convince themselves that there was more to come.