Windy City Blues

A strong gusty wind from the southwest carrying with it the threat of rain blew all day Friday and continued into Saturday which did not bode well for the afternoon game against Ilford.   Although we beat them 3 – 1 away earlier in the season – the first time in many years I’ve been led to believe – it is usually a tight game between our teams.

Marc poses in our Away Shirt

I turned up early at the ground as I’d promised to take some photos of kit for the club shop.   Ahmet and Weathers both volunteered to model the shirts and jackets that will be available for fans to purchase.   I had a laugh when Weathers checked that his hair was not out of place in the mirror of the club’s Chevy – I reminded him that it would get messed up the moment he headed the ball but I guess the players like to look smart.

Anyway, back to the match.   There was still a strong gusty Southwesterly when the sides took to the pitch and it would get stronger as the game progressed.   I wasn’t going to be wandering round to the west side of the pitch as the ball was going to gravitate mostly to the main stand side – oh well, that’s my weeks exercise gone.  Just as well we’ve got that charity walk next Saturday.

We were pleased to see that the referee was one of those that we know to be amongst the best on the circuit – easily recognised by his dreadlocks.   He’s one who talks to the players and generally keeps a good grip on the game without excessive use of the cards.   As such, if it wasn’t for his dread’s, you wouldn’t normally notice he was there –  which is how things should be.

The game started briskly and, although playing into the wind, the home side were quickly into the attack.   On the 3rd minute from a corner Jordan played a brisk pass into the area for Ahmet who justified his selection as club shop model by straddling the ball and back-heeling it into the goal!   There would be several more attacks in the first quarter of an hour in which W & F got into the area but the Ilford defence and keeper were able to hold the score at 1 – 0.

Neils' Challenges Gavin and not an Ilford player in sight!

The game then entered a frustrating period as both sides started playing space race with the ball which, due to the laws of aerodynamics controlling the effect of wind upon spherical objects, resulted in the ball coming down in places that were not entirely predictable.   I took several photos during this period where Gavin was being challenged for the ball – not by Ilford players but by his own defenders as they tried to judge the flight!   Ilford did have most of the game with the wind behind them but didn’t succeed in finding an equaliser – though Weathers, also  justifying his selection as a club shop model, cleared a wind driven ball off the line.

The second half was notable only for a discussion between Weathers and the Ref following a disputed throw in and the follow up near its conclusion.   Now, I recall the great Fred Trueman telling how he’d had two LBW calls turned down by an Australian umpire on successive balls in an over.   On the next delivery he skittled the stumps and turned to the umpire saying ‘I bet that was bloody close!’   Now, such challenges to football referees are likely to result in trouble, respect campaign and all that, so when Weathers made a similar comment as the ball went out for a second time with the decision in favour of the opposition the ref wanted a word.   A rough transcription would be… Ok, so you’re a joker. I can be a comedian too – I could give you a yellow card… Cut it Out!   Message received and understood but unfortunately not everyone heard it.   On the last knockings of the half Leon went down in a tangle of legs outside the area and promptly grabbed the ball assuming he’d got a free kick.   No such thing – the ref must have felt it was six of one and half a dozen of the other.  Leon started arguing and after a couple of minutes, with the fans yelling at him to walk away, the ref lost patience and pulled out a Red Card.   Now whether that will be 1 match or 3 match ban depends on how the ref writes it up, as two yellows or a straight red.  But, we’re back to the issue of discipline and the need to avoid the unnecessary cards that we keep on picking up.   A sordid end to a poor second half.

All thoughts expressed are my own and do not represent the views of Wingate & Finchley FC.

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