Date: Saturday 30 January 2016
Venue: Barn Elms
Starting line-up: Luke Arnold, John Egan, Chris Bentley, Oli Watkins, Rob Jones, Salty, Ben McG, Adam Fox, Tom Golding, Martin Shardlow (c), Oli P
Subs: Jim McG, John Glenn, Rob Andrews
The Baby Blue Army were ready and raring to get back into action following on from last week’s match being postponed. The Putney Ferrets were the visitors to Barnes Elms and it was evident from the first minute that the following 90 were going to be hard fought battle.
Cheered on by arguably the biggest home crowd of the season (there was about 6 eager spectators) the BBA got into their rhythm quickly but were unable to fashion any clear cut chances.
The ferrets got into their stride and the, not so gentlemanly, Mr Darcey started controlling the game for the visitors. The Cuban centre backs Oli Watkins and Rob Jones had their hands full with the big fella up top but they managed to keep him quiet by any means possible and the occasional clothes line that wouldn’t have been out of place in a UFC battle.
The first controversial moment of a tense match came mid-way through the first half when the Cuban defence was stretched and the ferrets sprung the offside trap and slid the ball past the on-rushing Arnie, who was back between the sticks following a nasty looking hip injury the week before. As the ball edged towards the back of the net the obligatory goal mouth scramble unfolded and the visitors were convinced the ball had crossed the line, but the Russian linesman kept his flag down, and quite right too!! It was nothing like this at all…..
That sparked the home team into life and Leading by example captain Shardlow did his best to get the BBA on the scoresheet by doing his best Delli Ali impression only for the ball to go crashing off the bar when he’d done the hard work and flicked it over the centre back and attempted an audacious chip.
The scores were level at half time and it was time to use the strong bench that manager Arnold had at his disposal. Jim came on at left back and long-time Cuban John Glenn made his much awaited return to action from a calf injury.
The challenges were flying in and the visitors were lucky to keep 11 men on the pitch after a naughty 2 footed lunge on striker Oli Perkins. The intensity level rose and Benny Mac was doing his best ensure the ferrets knew they weren’t going to get away with challenges like that!
The ref, who let some things go, gave a fairly cheap free kick within striking range of the Cubans goal and the ball somehow managed to find its way into the back of the net.
With one last throw of the dice the gaffer introduced Cubo new man Rob Clarke on the right and he immediately had his right back on toast and whipped in a dangerous ball to the ferrets box but the Cubans were unable to capitalise.
Shardlow jinked his way past the defence and got off a shot that the all too mouthy ferrets keeper couldn’t handle and Clarke pounced to level the scores and get his first goal for the BAby Blue Army.
For the rest of the game, the challenges flew in from both sides and the ref blew for full time before tensions boiled over. A point for both teams was probably a fair result but the ferrets may be taking Gaz Stewart’s comments on board and telling their keeper that it was his fault for them drawing the game. On reflection Gaz was right, it was definitely the keepers fault.
Goal: Rob Andrews