“No more heroes anymore” sang Hugh Cornwell of the Stranglers in the late 70’s (ask your grandparents) – given yesterday, he was wrong and what more can, or needs, to be said after man of the match Steve Mildren’s late late show including a winning goal with the very last hit of the game?
A strong looking Gryphons side combining both youth and experience seemed likely to provide a stern test – but we couldn’t have guessed just how stern when starting strongly, we seemed to be in cruise control, dominating the play with the trademark possession passing and moving, with the backdrop of the dark and dismal weather conditions illuminated and gilded by the flicks and tricks of Kian, Hobbes and Luke….but all we had to show for this was yet another poachers goal from Luke and Chris in goal looking lonely and forlorn as the weather….
During the first half, Gryphons had struggled to get and retain or use the ball - with pressing from Ian and Luke, and the midfield of Kian, Hobbes, Mark and Graeme more than holding their own, we regularly recycled their possession…and when they did break through they found it impossible to get past the defensive barriers provided by Ted, Chris, Paul and Rob and when Colm received the ball he strode imperiously forward, utilising the space & the ball really well.
And then – not sure how, suddenly things got interesting and with a quickfire exchange of scores - including Ian scoring his regular tap in - and a couple of pin ball moments in our D, incredibly, we found ourselves, incredibly, 3-2 down, incredibly - and heading into the incredible last few minutes.. and these were incredible in the truest sense of the word.
I may be mis remembering but the last 10 mins or so stand out – correct me if I am wrong – but - cometh the hour, cometh the man – and onto the pitch I strode, a colossus amongst…..well not quite true… more that -
Steve scored what we guessed might be the equalizer – I for one was relieved….and then, and then, one too many mis timed challenges saw a green card and we were down to 10 men, going into the last few - Gryphons sensed an unlikely win and pushed (and some might say hacked and pulled and hacked again) for the decisive goal….so picture this, which became our Anfield moment, May, 1989, going into added time, Mickey Thomas striding through the midfield (kids - ask your parents)…
They had possession in our D, we stole the ball and passed out of the D, only to be fouled - the umpire played a great advantage and we broke the length of the field and the ball was played to Steve for the clincher…just outstanding hockey – and the umpire blew for time…..I need confirmation of which of the guys got the assist – but – wow.
Some points of note – tremendous team spirit and attitude from all the guys, heads never dropped despite the way that the oppo came back into the game….some very physical play saw us not react/respond – and when we were knocked over, we got up and carried on - perhaps our theme tune could be “I get Knocked Down (but I get up again - your never gonna keep me down)” by Chumbawumba, and we let our hockey do the talking. (I did hear one of their players ask what we were complaining about noting to his colleague ”it’s a violent game’). Hm, yes, right.
Like a fine wine – or coffee - our balanced blend of youth and experience seems to be working well. I was proud the other week – up to the next level this….what is round the next bend in the roller coaster ?