Veterans v Boca Seniors, 14 Nov 2021 (Friendly)
Buntingford Won 2-1
Steve Dare celebrates his goal
Sunday saw the lads play host to newly-established Boca Seniors managed by ex.
Bunt midfielder, Jim (I’m not the 50’s easy listening crooner) Reeves.
Nursing an immaculate hangover to match his immaculate hair the injured Matty Smyth, for the second time this season, had the managerial reins thrust into rather shaky hands.
Meticulous as always he sent the boys out with a game plan but may as well have demonstrated it on a chessboard rather the magnetic one hanging on the changing room wall for they would have needed the forward thinking of a Russian Grand Master to exploit a meaningful opening in the visitors’ defence - almost the entire first period was played out with 21 men camped in the visiting team’s half; Bunt tentatively moving one step forward, back and diagonally with little success.
Such was Boca’s discipline and Bunt’s lack of penetrating ideas that as a result by half tine they found themselves a single goal in arrears from a few brief but costly lacks of concentration.
Wayne Marsden gets stuck-in
As is often the case with this bunch of hardy Vets, the night’s previous activities often play a substantial part in their overall performance and courtesy of local publican and generous sponsor for the Vets, Helen’s birthday celebrations down at The Bull, this occasion proved to be no different.
More than half the team were feeling the effects and at the break it claimed another victim as Glennington was too ‘jaded’ to carry on and Stevie ‘Jeager’ Dare switched places with him.
For all the unappreciated shots the combustible electrician bestowed on his fellow team mates the night before he finally delivered a welcome one resulting in a fine goal from the edge of the box (apologies, no idea who was involved in the build-up, as your reporter was also present at the Bull the night before).
You could sense Boca knew their fate with the second half following much the same pattern as the first but yet still they defended stoutly and credit to big Jim for he had side drilled superbly well.
The breakthrough when it came, was arguably from one of Bunt’s less promising-looking moves; black-shorted Bealey dinked a cheeky ball over for Carter in the box, but with his back to goal there didn’t appear to be much imminent danger until Boca’s tank of a sweeper, who up to this point had been a contender for MOTM, chose to completely wipe-out the skeletal-like old timer.
Boca's defender decides it's not worth chasing Skeletor
The resulting penalty was duly despatched into the top corner from an ice cool Nathe.
There was time for Bunt to build on their lead but a host of last ball bad decisions fluttered like the dying autumn leaves around their feet.
Never was the term ‘to win ugly’ more prevalent, but still, credit to the lads for jaded, hungover, devoid of ideas as they so often were, they found a way to win.
Their team spirit is often like a twelfth man for them and again it came to their rescue to help keep Matty’s 100% managerial record intact.
But it will be interesting to see ‘just’ how strong this team bond is in the coming weeks for there is little doubt that as a team, the lads are struggling to find a consistent level of performance.
Yes, the opposition all across the board are getting younger, fitter and of a higher level, but there is no shortage of talent in the current crop of Bunty boys; they just need to find a way forward from their present stuttering and stalling form.