|Collins Park, Blackpool was the venue for Fyldesport Vets FC's first ever game against Tiger Vets FC from Kent. The visitors arrived on Thursday. Two days of golf followed by two extremely late nights of debauchery had hopefully softened them up for our representative side of 'Over 35' Sunday morning footballers and officials.|
Fyldesport.com receives lots of requests from teams visiting the seaside looking for friendlies. Just after Christmas we received one such request from Tiger Vets FC from Kent (Southern England). Instead of throwing it out to the general population we decided to put together a representative team of 'Over 35' year old Sunday footballers. The first twenty to reply to the E-Mail were guaranteed at least 45 minutes of football and four months on here we were. Despite the forecast the weather was mild and dry with hardly any wind. Lee Willetts was today's referee.
I took the role of manager which was interesting to say the least. Every Sunday I see anxious managers at Commonedge gazing hopefully toward the traffic lights at 10:50 shouting into mobile phones. This time it was my turn as we awaited the kit and footballs at 14:40. The opposition were well ensconced in the Shovels watching the Chelsea v United Premier Division clash. At 15:10 the match finally kicked off with the visitors kicking towards the sea in the Arsenal FC strip.
Fyldesport Vets FC April 2008
Back row from left : Giles, Meehan, Todd, Drinnan, Rogerson, Fearon, Currey, Miles, Mason, Buchanan, Rogers.
Front row from left: Shields, Jones, Hewitt, Lyttle, Neal, Sumner, Mascot.
Tiger Vets FC April 2008 – Blackpool.
The respective captains toss the coin.
A cultured ball from Glenn Rogerson (Viz North).
Good handling from the visitor's keeper under pressure from Pete Jones.
The home side started slowly which was understandable considering this was the first game they'd played together. Players had met for the first time on the car park so there was hardly likely to have been much ESP going on.
Referee Mr Willetts.
It was the visitors who took the lead. A poor back pass from Braveheart was gratefully seized upon by the Tiger striker and with keeper Lyttle rushing out to meet him the forward simply lobbed the ball over him and into the back of the net. 0-1.
The impressive Scott Buchanan (Left) keeping the Tiger defenders busy.
Blackpool Rangers FC players Beattie, Kirton and Cairns out to give manager John Miles some encouragement (Terrible abuse).
John Miles (Left) and Gordon Mason (South Beach FC).
Chris Giles keeping a beady eye on the line.
Subby tried to guess which way the forward was going to go – then settled it by taking his legs.
Paul Fearon (Little Fat Jacks FC) – Centre.
Stuart Todd (Layton Institute FC manager) on the end of a bad knock. Complaints from neighbouring cricketers as his fall affected the bounce at the wicket.
Gez Currey (Bispham Juniors FC) is a little late in the tackle but at least has the good grace to apologise.
Inevitably, the equaliser came and my word it was total football. Beautiful flowing passes took the veterans into the opposition box. Todd had a hand in it as did a number of others but eventually the ball was floated across the box by Currey. The unselfish Buchanan displayed great foresight as he nodded the ball across the box and time appeared to stand still as Darren Meehan launched his perfectly sculptured body in a 10 out of 10 dive to head the ball home. The first ever goal fot the Vets and one that will never be forgotten by all those who witnessed it. 1-1
'Nice finish', 'Good assist'.
The high fives were still slapping when the visitors regained the lead. Once again we we were caught short by players being too far up the pitch. The opposition ripped us apart and Rogerson's man was left free on the left. He looked up and curled a delightful finish past Lyttle into the far corner. Great finish. 1-2.
The Vet's go 2-1 down.
Half time score : Fyldesport Vets X1 1 – 2 Tiger Vets FC (Kent)
Joel Chappell's (Saddle FC) youngest out supporting the Vets.
Darren Meehan (Left) and Dave Neal get the second half underway.
'Send it !'
Richie of Tiger Vets FC.
Having seventeen players it was almost a completely different Fyldesport Vet's side that took the field for the second half. Not long into the second period we conceded a penalty. After failing on numerous opportunities to clear the ball in our own area a half volley was excellently saved by left back Paul 'Subby' Sumner on the line. In any other game it would have been a straight red but referee Willetts showed leniency and let him off.
Good fortune for the home side as MA2 FC keeper Styeve Lyttle rolled back the years to make a fantastic diving save. A key moment in the match. Well done to the mad Doncaster Rovers FC supporter.
2-1 down with fifteen minutes to go it was time for the manager to take charge. Meehan and Miles, who both played brilliantly in the centre of the park were rested. Rogerson and Fearon took their places and big Gordie replaced the excellent Scott Buchanan up front. Five minutes later and the tactical foresight paid off. Giles and Rogerson interchanged passes then Rogerson showed great vision and wonderful skill with a curling diagonal pass over the defenders. Mason had watched the line and kept himself onside. Many players would have taken it first time and ballooned it over the bar but the veteran displayed great composure as he took it down on his double mattress of a thigh, looked up, and rifled it home at the near post. 2-2.
The legendary Les Hewitt (right) in allegedly his 'last ever' game of football…
The final whistle goes and it's handshakes all around.
Final score – Fyldesport Vets XI 2 – 2 Tiger Vets FC (Kent)
In the end it was a fair scoreline and both teams will go home happy. The visitors were a well organised and experienced outfit who clearly love their football. The 'kid' on the right wing caused us all kinds of problems. Man of the Match for the Tigers in our opinion was Tony Brady who was a real handful and both centre halves, despite their size and shape were very, very good.
As for Fyldesport Vets let's start with the negatives. We gave the ball away far too often and were over ambitious defensively which cost us both goals.
Far more positives. This was our first game together basically playing as strangers and at times we played some lovely passing football. Both goals were classics and we can only get better. I don't mind giving away goals to errors as we can put them right and although the opposition were robbed by Subby's handball I thought we we were well worthy of at least a draw. Todd, Miles and Neal all had good chances to score but the opportunities were missed. Today's outstanding players were Paul Fearon (LFJ), Darren Meehan (Waterloo Hotel), Scott Buchanan (Burlingtons) and keeper Steve Lyttle (MA2 FC).
Thanks to all the players that turned up (Only one late cry off and one 'no show'). Thanks to referee Willetts for officiating. Everybody paid their subs and played their part on the sidelines and after the match in the boozer. Thanks to the league for letting us have Collins Park at such a reasonable rate and thanks to the Shovels for the post match food. Special thanks to John Miles of Blackpool Rangers FC for providing the kit, balls, drinks and first aid kit.
As it went so well I'm willing to organise another game and our message to other Vet's teams across the nation is to come along and try and end our long and proud unbeaten record. As with this match the next game will be advertised on Fyldesport.com and the first twenty to apply by E-Mail who qualify will be guaranteed 45 minutes of action. Thanks to all who took part for a great day.
Pitch hire –