Broxbourne Vets v Veterans, 17 Oct 2021 (Friendly)
Buntingford Lost 3-0
Laurence Salmon - a dodgy few minutes
Sunday saw our band of merry men face league champions Broxbourne at the V&E club.
Being the formidable opponents that they are Broxbourne often struggle to fill their free weekends with friendlies so credit to our lads for taking a 15 strong squad down the A10 to their fortress of a ground.
Quick, strong all over the park, and physical; at times to the point of what’s within the laws of the game, Broxbourne are everything one would expect from multiple league champions but on the whole a decent bunch, and appreciated the lad’s willingness to face the challenge.
Allowing for the obvious drop of ball percentage the boss always approaches such fixtures with a game plan; Nathe to plough a lone furrow, pack the midfield, condense the game and above all do not surrender the ball cheaply; and with Gaffer Smith’s instructions still ringing in their ears, Bunt went out and promptly disregarded every word.
Perhaps it’s the weight of not wanting to be the player responsible for losing the ball when it’s such a precious commodity or the fact that you’re immediately under pressure, or both, but the fact was that during the early exchanges Bunt were guilty of conceding possession cheaper than the price of a drug-ravaged Parisian street walker.
To the point where one could almost hear the click - clicking of stiletto heels on cobbled back streets and detect the faintest whiff of cheap perfume in the air.
But gradually and with building confidence, they grew into the game, limiting the champions to just a handful of clear cut chances, one of which came when Paul Emms pulled off a remarkable close range save when it looked for all the world as if the deadlock was about to be broken.
Mark Cotton set up a good chance for Nathe
The back three of Chrissy Adams, gaffer Smith and Wayney were defending with hearts of lions and the midfield who at times were overran, worked tirelessly to close down and get behind the ball and indeed on breakaways and with wing-backs Liam and Sailor Saynor exploiting their pace at every opportunity, the visitors created a number of decent chances themselves, the best of them when from a neat move involving Nathe, Liam and Bealey, which saw skipper for the day, Matty, have his effort tipped over (when clearly on side!).
The offensively bright orange armband seemed to suit the hair specialist incredibly well in fact and the flamingo-legged midfielder thoroughly deserved his MOTM accolade.
Also the rumours that with Big Lee starting on the bench that the rest of the squad had to physically pin him down to retrieve the captain’s privilege from around his bulging bicep were wildly exaggerated!
Now, your reporter has recently received complaints from a certain midfield playmaker that names are often omitted but with a limited word count to individually comment on each player (especially when we have 15) is simply unrealistic, but it is enough to say that all the squad performed admirably against top opposition.
However on this occasion and as an act of goodwill, the point has been taken, so - at half time Loz entered the fray and quickly gave the ball away three times in as many minutes.
Laurence, along with ‘Ex.’ Skipper Grinny, Danny and the club’s chairman, were introduced to the action at half time and each played their part in a battling performance.
Dan and Loz never hide and their eagerness to want the ball, the latter mostly with his back to the goal and former in front of him, especially when hounded so quickly is greatly admired and helps to relieve the pressure on the defence.
Lee Grinyer as solid as ever
Envitably Broxbourne enjoyed the lion’s share of the 2nd half’s possession and they hunted in packs whenever Loz, Matt or the Magician managed to get a foot on the ball; Bealey’s stand out black shorts were often swamped beneath an incoming tide of blue and white.
But again the lads created a handful of decent chances - Dan, Liam and Nathe, the latter courtesy of a Cotton through ball, all firing narrowly over from around the box.
The Flying One, Liam saw as much of the ball as any player on the pitch and run himself ragged up and down the line, tracking back and always determined to win back possession when things had failed to come to fruition, perhaps too deep at times as he could often be found perching like a cartoon bluebird on full back Wayney’s shoulder.
Liam is a constant thorn in the side of every team Bunt ever face and one can sympathise to the extent that he is often ‘doubled up’ upon, such is his threat, but somehow, somewhere, Bunt have to find a way to maximise the amount of possession Liam has for the blunt facts are they should be profiting far more than they do from the immense talent the Flying One has at his disposal.
The disappointment if there can truly be one in such a solid team display against such strong opponents, is that the three goals Bunt eventually conceded could (football cliché, I know) easily have been avoided.
At times to be carved open by well-worked goals is one thing, to hold your hands up and effectively say, ‘fair play’ but to concede goals that have basically caught them napping is a little harder to accept, This said, sides such as Broxbourne demand that you concentrate and are on top of your game for every moment of the match and that is tall, tall order, so no blame is attached.
In fact Bunt’s performance all round begs the question why they can’t approach all matches in the same manner as they did this one?