Dickiebliss’s Blog

Bookworms 0 – 1 Union All Stars
May 25, 2009, 9:22 pm
Filed under: football, Uncategorized

And so it all came down to this…a match between two teams that was as pointless as a shin-kicking contest between two one-legged men with the prize of a pair of Doc Martens for the winner (and as attractive to watch some may say). And yet….

…these guys were operating in the eye of the hurricane and when you’re in it every pass, every lunge, every moment is loaded with meaning and consequence. Yes the Bookworms’ season had been strewn with disappointments and disaster but here was one last opportunity to prove their worth on the only stage that matters – the 3G pitch (the one in the extreme left hand corner that borders Inglemire Road).

In the pre-match build-up the sense of togetherness was palpable – Thompson twin Wayne even offered to share his locker with Bayliss – an indication of how far these guys would go for each other. With belief and purpose the players assembled – buoyed by the knowledge that they had destroyed their opponents 3-0 in their last meeting. Then the news came that the brave Bookworms had dreaded: ” The All stars have drafted in some new players for this one” proclaimed Gary Thompson. For “new players” read “ringers”….a collective gulp was audible from the Bookworms.

But two can play at that game as Gary Moore announced that his mate Paul would be playing for the Bookworms. Paul had not been seen since the 3-1 defeat to IECS/HIFI on 13th March and had been a goalscorer and star player on that day and now he was back! Alas as kick off approached there was no sign of Paul and with the All Stars keen to start the Bookworms (with Simon Lamb gone into hiding for fear of another 4/10 rating) lined up thus:

  1. Goalkeper: Wayne “Shilton” Thompson
  2. Right defence: Richard Bayliss
  3. Left defence: Gary Thompson
  4. Midfield: “Big” John Higham
  5. Forward: Gary Moore
  6. Forward: Robert Sherrat

As for the opposition they looked purposeful and were led by a skipper who bore an uncanny resemblance to Grange Hill’s Trevor Cleaver – a carrot-topped Arsenal supporting bully who developed an alcohol problem in series 12. He wore the legend “Horatio” on his shirt but did he have the “Nelson touch” -the ability to inspire and bring out the best in his men? If inspire means dispute every decision and berate your team-mates with expletives at every juncture then yes this man did have the “Nelson touch” – he was also a Napoleonic bore.

Trevor Cleaver

The Union All Stars captain

And so to the action – the Bookworms were looking tight at the back with Wayne Thompson displaying a new found authority and confidence between the posts. Gary Thompson looked his usual solid self and Richard Bayliss at last had found a position on the pitch he felt comfortable in with some timely interceptions and accurate ball distribution. Up front Gary Moore looked lively but “Big” John Higham had taken up a position far too deep which Robert Sherrat was quick to point out.

As a stalemate broke out, Paul Andrews finally arrived and Gary Thompson was the unlucky man to make way with Robert Sherrat dropping deep to fill in at the back. It was clear immediately that Paul was a class act and the Bookworms looked to give him possession at every opportunity. With Paul’s confidence on the ball and his seemingly telepathic appreciation of where Gary Moore would be, the chances started to mount. Moore went close twice and then when a pile-driver was spilt by the keeper “Big” John Higham could only scuff the rebound straight back into his grateful arms. A corner landed at the feet of Bayliss in the box but the ball came at him too quickly (is this scientifically possible? – Physics ed) and the chance was gone.

At the other end the All Stars huffed and puffed but they could not blow down the door which Wayne Thompson was keeping under lock and key masterfully (who needs Chris Awre anyway?). Robert Sherrat then treated the crowd (some bloke and his girlfriend) to a display of twinkle-toed ball control which outfoxed the three All Stars players surrounding him before playing in Gary Moore but yet again the chance was not converted.

Half- time : Bookworms 0 Union All Stars 0

The Bookworms were in good heart as the second half started. The only change saw Bayliss give way to allow Gary Thompson back into the action. The break had done nothing to disrupt the flow of chances with Bookworms laying siege to the All Stars ramparts. Surely a break through was imminent?

Gary Moore was repeatedly thwarted by the opposition goalkeeper who was enjoying the game of his life. With Paul Andrews prompting and probing, the All Stars defence was at breaking point . Chance after chance came, had a look, decided it had something better to do that afternoon and went. The All stars resorted to parking the proverbial bus in front of goal resulting in numerous penalty box scrambles.

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The horror as another chance goes begging for Bookworms

This was like England v Poland in 1973 all over again, the game when Brian Clough famously called the Polish keeper a clown but who withstood wave after wave of English attacks to dump us out of the World cup. This game also had a clown – this one though was not Polish but playing for Union All Stars. Yes, Trevor Cleaver was at it again constantly moaning and barking out instructions to anyone who would listen. This was a man so convinced of his own ability he would make Ben from “The Apprentice” look like someone who had failed an audition to play himself in a film of his own life story.

At the other end Thompson twin Wayne was directing his troops with a military precision that would not have looked out of place in the Battle of Trafalgar. When brother Gary’s tendons finally collapsed, Bayliss re-entered the field of play and immediately robbed an advancing All Stars forward and strode majestically upfield. With the opposition backing off, Bayliss played a swift one-two with Andrews and advanced further into opposition territory. It was at this point that Bayliss suddenly remembered who he was (i.e. an ageing Sam Allardyce lookalike and definitely not Nicolas Anelka) and instead of calmly side-footing a shot to the keepers left, panicked hysterically and crashed a shot wide of the post.


Bayliss pictured seconds after missing that chance

With full time approaching and the tension-o-meter cranked up to unbearable, “Big” John Higham produced a piece of individual skill that left all who witnessed it awestruck in admiration. As a chipped pass upfield descended from the sky, “Big” John swiveled his body shape, let the ball drop over his shoulder and produced a thunderous Van Basten-like volley that screamed towards the net. “This one’s in for sure!!” nobody in the crowd shouted aloud in a Roy of the Rovers fashion but the shot curled wide and away taking with it Bookworms’ dreams of glory.


“Big” John Higham goes oh so close!

And so it came to pass that in the final minute of this epic engagement the Bookworms were to succumb to the classic sucker punch. As the seconds ticked away an All Stars forward pounced on a loose ball and from a full 25 yards out produced an outrageously flukey toe-poke that flew into the only part of Wayne Thompson’s net that he could not reach. As the Bookworms sank to their knees the All Stars scorer performed that annoying “come hither” beckoning-hand goal celebration to rub salt in the wound.

There was still time for one last forage upfield from Bookworms but again a sharp drive from Andrews was blocked at the death. Some bloke (and his girlfriend) decided time was up and blew the final whistle (well.. he did that cross armed “its all over” gesture that so annoyed Alex Ferguson recently) and the game was up – Bookworms incredibly, tragically and heartbreakingly had been beaten.

Full time: Bookworms 0 Union All Stars 1

How they performed:

Wayne Thompson – what a performance from the younger Thompson twin! Commanding, assured and crucially the only one who fancied going in goals – a towering display. Unlucky to be beaten late on – did not deserve to be on the losing side. 8/10

Gary Thompson – the very definition of solid – go on look up “solid” in the Collins dictionary and there’s a picture of Gary (actually it says “consisting of matter all through” but we get the idea – ed) 7/10

Richard Bayliss – one of his best performances of the season. Showed great discipline in defence whilst also producing some silky touches of the ball further upfield. Would have to spend 7 years living in Finland, qualify for dual nationality and change his name to Jari Litmanen before he could claim to have a finish in him though.7/10

Paul Andrews – otherwise known as Gary Moore’s mate. If only he had been available for the Bookworms throughout the season. This man does not know when to stop and drove his team forward until the very end. A touch of class. 9/10

“Big” John Higham – found his feet after a shaky start and produced a stunning volley late on that deserved to win any game . Had it gone in he would have hung up his boots there and then John said afterwards – thankfully for Bookworms retirement will have to wait a while yet 7/10

Gary Moore – the master of the mazy dribble. His slaloming runs would have caused any connoisseur of the game to drool and slaver at his skills – his finishing was drivel though. 7/10

Robert Sherrat –Big Bob put a good shift in for the team. Showed excellent tactical nous by dropping to defence when Andrews arrived and also when spotting Higham was doing a Noam Chomsky by being too deep. 7/10

2 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Brilliant! Pure class review, shame your performance on the pitch wasn’t as good eh? Maybe next time lads!


Comment by Lucky Al

8/10 keeper… contentious considering the only goal of the game was conceded by him! However class review of Horatio… spot on!

Comment by Dubious?

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