South Central League  –  not what the doctor ordered

A somewhat patched up side from the Many Shades of Grey promised much, but unfortunately delivered less at the initial South Central Walking Football League tournament held at Eastleigh’s Silverlake Stadium on Wednesday 13th March.

Pedantry alert!  When someone says a side was decimated, they usually mean that half or more of the players were missing.  But strictly speaking it means that one-in-ten of the players was missing.  This squad was more than decimated.  Out of eight players set to play on Tuesday night, two of them proved unable to play, leaving us with the bare bones of six for a 7 game six-a-side tournament.

Buoyed by the emergency loans from Knightwood and Southampton Strollers respectively of “Dax” and “Steve”, we at least had the opportunity to give players a rest as the day went on.

We started against Southampton Strollers, going down unluckily to a 1-0 defeat, in spite of hitting the post and keeping their keeper busy most of the game.  This was followed by a good competitive 0-0 draw against Fleet of Foot, a team we know well, and who proved pretty useful on the day.

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Next we faced Knightwood, and with Dax marking their danger man out of the game we won more comfortably than the 1-0 scoreline suggests.  The goal was a classic Pete Brown finish.  In our next  game against the “All Stars” (who were drafted in to replace the unavailable Mountbatten), we started disastrously with a calamitous own goal in the first minute.  Although we huffed and puffed, we just couldn’t break them down, and so it was that it finished 0-1.

The fifth match of the day was against Pompey in the Community, the tournament favourites and eventual winners.  They had brought a typically mobile side along with them, and scored two good goals against us. In spite of this, the Many Shades battled on, and forced their keeper into several good saves, and restricted them to blatant time-wasting towards the end.  Highlight of our attacks was a stunning left-footed strike at goal from our player of the tournament Barry Ingram.

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Our last two games were played out by an ever wearying squad, firstly against hosts Eastleigh, who cruised to a 3-1 win courtesy of some dubious refereeing and one good finish; our goal came from Tony Elliott.  Finally we faced Gosport Neanderthals in a game that would decide who finished bottom of the league.  Gosport snuck home 1-0 thanks to a clinical finish after Dave Rowbrey had pulled off a brilliant save, with the rebound dropping kindly for the opposition.  So yes, we finished bottom of the league.  But we do it all again on 10th April!

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Your Many Shades of Grey squad for the day was somewhat depleted through injury and unavailability, but nonetheless gave a good account of themselves against some opposition of  great repute:  Dave Rowbrey, Barry Ingram, Pete Dolamore, Phil Hannam, Tony Elliott, and Pete Brown. Many thanks to Dax and Steve for trying their best to help us out.  Rich Bishop and Stew Russell were on hand to offer support and guidance (that worked well then).

Many thanks to hosts Eastleigh for an impressive post-tournament buffet, very much appreciated by us all and thanks to Phil for his photos.