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Vets mauled by Cougars.

4th Apr 2002

Buntingford Vets lost 3-2 to the Cougars Managers in Sunday's charity match, during which over £200 was raised for the Lynsey Ivison Trust. Thanks to everyone who contributed to what was an enjoyable day.

Please note:

this match report was prepared with a completely biased view!

Our suspicions were first raised when the match venue was changed from Luynes Rise to Bowling Green Lane.

Buntingford Town Vets play the ball along the ground, to feet, and the excellent surface at the Community Centre suits our style of play to a tee.

The Bowling Green Lane pitch is on a slope, and due to recent use in bad weather is now very uneven.

This type of surface is almost custom-built for the kick-and-rush tactics which the Cougars Managers rely on!

The match started with our opponents kicking down the slope, with the wind behind them, the Vets defending stoutly against high balls whistling over their heads.

We were trying out a new goalkeeper, Stuart Barber, although he looked a little unsteady during the warm-up (we hoped that it was just a case of pre-match nerves).

Unfortunately, Stuart also looked uneasy once the match had started, and it wasn't long before he parried a low-shot off his chest into the path of Cougar's Pete Costen who tapped the ball in from a yard out.

Soon after, the referee missed a blatant offside (all the Vet's back four were doing the Tony Adams 'arm-up' impersonation at the time) and Cougars were two-up.

Just as it looked like Town were going to enjoy their jelly-babies at half-time with only 2 goals to make up, Stuart Barthez (as our 'keeper was now known) threw the ball out for a corner.

Yes, threw it from the 6-yard box straight out for a corner!

Of course, the Cougars gained a 3rd goal and shortly afterwards the whistle went.

Playing downhill in the second half, with Howard replacing Barthez in goal, things were on the up for our Veteran Heroes.

Daly was snapping at ankles like a Jack Russell in midfield, Saggers was commanding in the air and the defence was solid.

It was the introduction of old-timer Mr Burns who injected the pace and flair which the Vets needed, and a goal-bound shot by the Simpson's star was blatantly handled on the line by a Cougar's defender.

A penalty was awarded, which was coolly dispatched by Phil Hamel, but no yellow or red card was issued - I know that this was in the spirit of the game, but hey, us old geezers need all the help we can get!

The game reached a frantic climax following a Neal Saggers header close to the final whistle, but the Cougars held on bravely to claim the John Smith Cup.

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