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Away to Old Chigwellians

The VETS cup odyssey continued on Saturday with the short journey to Old Chigwellians for our last 16 AFA tie.
Chigwell School has a long history but surprisingly few notable alumni.Ken Campbell, surrealist comedian and experimental theatre director being pick of an otherwise dull line up. The club grounds are very well looked after and during the week serve as a training base for the super O's....yes,yes...stop sniggering at the back, they do bother training, actually.  We arrived at the game slightly undermanned, due to the withdrawal through injury of last weeks star man Hilary and Kevin, who was treating Mrs W to a slap up Wimpy.. (that's not a euphemism.) to celebrate their golden wedding anniversary. Thus, we began with a slightly rearranged line up, H moving inside as sweeper with Trevor coming in at left back.  On a perfect if slightly sloping pitch, the early exchanges were fairly even and it was obvious we were up against a good side, but as the home team began to find their feet we broke the deadlock with Martin T finding space on the left and supplying a low cross to TAJU whose cool finish found the net.1-0.  Talk about poking the hornet's nest.. from this point on the hosts swarmed all over us and we allowed ourselves to be pushed deeper and deeper.  The Chigs no.9 especially causing us all sorts of problems with his pace and control, though he may have been a case for the dubious age panel.  We defended stoutly but by half time engine no.9 had notched a brace of fine strikes to send us in behind.  H-T 1-2..A reshuffle saw the sweeper system consigned to the bin and in an eyebrow raising masterstroke Bazza decided to deploy himself in the centre back spot, H was restored to left back and Trev shifted to the right.  From the whistle we looked a different side, showing a composure and patience on the ball not seen in the first period, and for a change the right hand proving a fruitful source, some tidy passing between Suhail, Sean and Martin carving the home defence open culminating in another nerveless finish by TAJU.
2-2..Old Chigs were a shadow of their first half selves, mistakes and nerves creeping into their previously assured play.  We began to create plenty of chances Martin T's super first time strike drawing an equally fine save from the Chigwell no.1,before having a a perfectly good goal declared offside, ('tho we were let off a blatant penalty later in the game), so it was no surprise when an errant back pass was pounced on by TAJU who raced away finish from close range. 3-2..although the home team responded we held firm and still enjoyed plenty of possession and with minutes remaining had the opportunity to put the game to bed, a tremendous double save by the Chigs stopper denying Martin at close range.  Play immediately swung to the other end and in a gut wrenching moment a low cross was directed into the net by one of our own.(I'll spare his blushes by not naming him).. 3-3..  Sean came close to redeeming himself (oops!) with a surge into the box, his well struck shot just flying wide and in the final minute the home 'keeper was at it again with another close range save, this time denying T his fourth.  And so to extra time.  Other games were finishing and we drew a bit of a crowd from the other Chigwell sides, from whom one player came on as a sub..(is this allowed?).. also looking very fresh for his 35+ years.  By now the game had stretched open and a Taju to Martin to TAJU combination saw us edge in front for 4-3 in the early part of the first period.  Chigs replied when an unchallenged cross allowed their centre back a free head at goal for 4-4.  The second period was a tired, scrappy affair with both teams lacking the cutting edge to finish the game off, even Chigs no9s earlier sharpness departing for a pint and a fish finger roll..so penalties it was.  All ten were needed and we triumphed 4-3, Gary Doodes saving two with Martin T's effort causing much amusement in the clubhouse.
A hard won tie and we showed character after a poor first half to come back into the game.  Credit to Old Chigs who played with equal spirit and took going out on pens in a sporting manner.
Penalty scorers:HALIL,TAJU,ALEC and ice cool for the winner PAUL O. 

Man of the Match:TAJU OYEDEJI.

Team:Gary Doodes,Sean Windeatt, Halil Hassan,Alec Brown,Trevor Burton,Barry Smith,Suhail Butt Paul Obinkwo,Darren Foss,Taju Oyedeji,Martin Treadway,Pasquale Amico,Billy Howard.
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