As the result will no doubt tell you, I was absent again (I do like the Madejski stadium though, and I think a smaller version of it could be a decent blueprint for us). Thankfully 911 stepped into the breach again, so his report appears below.
Normal service should resume at Stevenage, where we will inevitably lose 4-0 in one of the shittiest games of the season. I’ll have to take full responsibility if that happens. May put up some of my own thoughts before, but until then….
Despite the recent cold weather, our new derby fixture against the mighty Hayes & Yeading was a festive feast of fantastic footie! Even the 115 travelling army had their monies worth ( and a rendition for Terry Brown at the beginning â€“ which he politely acknowledged ) The weather was milder than expected and 4 of the home team wore short sleeved shirts.
This was only our fifth â€œBoxing Dayâ€ match as during the first four seasons of our life we did not have a Boxing Day fixture. Â However, we were unbeaten in the Boxing Day matches, with a record of three victories and a draw so it was fitting that it ended with another victory.
Super Blues 5 Suspect Yellows 0 left nobody in doubt that we should finish the season in the top 8 and if we can continue the run you never know where it could take us. Â Hayes & Yeading, were promoted with us last year following their play-off victories and, despite a sticky start to the season, they have developed well and arrived at Kingsmeadow with a record of four wins and two draws in the last six league fixtures. We arrived on the back of 4 straight league wins and no goals conceded ( and a dodgy match in the middle against Boring Wood )
We again had a 4 man bench â€“ apparently Hendry was due to play but was not fit enough. Hmmmâ€¦â€¦ we have a decent sized squad and Terry talks a lot about using the full squad over the festive period so a 4 man bench ????? Does it suggest several signings in the new year â€“ who knows but very few whispers on the guestbooks so what ever is planned is being kept well under wraps
The game itself got off to a Â decent start Â with Keds chasing a long ball and beating the defender and keeper after nine minutes, followed by Luis Cumbers drive from the edge of the box Â ( match announcer seemed to think it was Gregory who was nowhere near the ball ! ) Â 2-0 up and 12 minutes on the clock and suddenly it was festive footy. 2 more goals in the first half Â – keds finishing a fine conroy â€“ main â€“ keds move and then Main tucking away a free header. 4- 0 and looking easy.
Suddenly in the last 5 minutes it all went off â€“ well almost . First the floodlights came on, then Keds went down under a fierce challenge and took a while to get up and then Gregory put in a suspect tackle and finally a lunge Â from their number 15 ( think he was called Justin Cochrane ) Â who was given a straight red, finished off an entertaining first half. Â In the middle of this Quiche put in a fantastic last ditch tackle to keep the clean sheet.
Second half against 10 men was a bit of a disappointment. No doubt players and management had an eye on Mondays game at Stevenage so there was plenty of long ball chasing for Main and Cumbers to do. Kennedy came on and looked out of sorts. Hatton and Godfrey Â were given as short run out. Finally Main got a second near the end after a comedy cock up with goalkeeper and defender. 5-0 and the crowd went home happy , in 4 th spot and Â minds turning to Stevenage on Monday.
Plus Points: 5 Â goals ( none from midfield ), clean sheet, no injuries. Â Gregory running the show again.
Minus Points: Sebs kicking ( again ). Should have really scored more in the second half. Taylors booking ( un necessary )
The Referee is a â€¦â€¦. Did fine actually Â – got a bit of stick for booking Taylor who kicked the ball away ( and frankly deserved the booking â€“ gross stupidity ). Gave a straight red which is always controversial but otherwise let the game go well.
Them: Difficult to tell actually after that. They certainly created a few chances and had 2 free headers from 6 yards out both of which should have been buried. Came out well in the second half and were not outplayed despite being down to 10 men for 50 minutes.
Three is a crowd: 3659 for a boxing day fixture. To be honest slightly disappointing although with the oppo mustering a little over 100 its understandable. Seem to recall Erik mentioning that Â this seasons budgets were worked on the basis of an average of 3600 Â – todays crowd brings the average down a little.
Truth is stranger than fiction: The last time we won a league game 5-0 ( feb 2008 ) we won the next game 6-1. Cant see that happening again but suspect Blue Square bookies will give you some juicy odds.
Anything else? (1) They were sponsored by : sky taxis .net.uk [SW19: link doesn’t work] â€“ frankly at half time I suspect their manager could have done with a few taxis after some of their defending which gave us to much room and time on the ball.Â (2) Quiet atmosphere outside the ground before the game â€“ perhaps everyone had too much yesterday Â ? (3) They had a player at number 36 on his shirt Â – suggests a big squad Â – think our numbers for league games only go up to 26 ( Hendry Â ? ).
So, was it worth it? 3 points and 5 goals Â – absolutely Â – hey but donâ€™t get carried away Â – we play them again next week and it could well be a totally different game
In a nutshell: Festive fun at its Â best