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Home to Hutton Old Boys

On Saturday the VETS played host to Hutton Old Boys in the Essex Saturday Veterans Cup.Two summers ago we played the then division 2 side in a pre-season friendly and won 5-4.Since then our guests have achieved back to back championships and are currently top of the premier league."How have they done this ?"
I hear you cry.Well,firstly you start a reserve side,demote your 1st team and fill the gap with a squad of ex pros and semi-pros.Easy.I'm surprised everybody isn't doing it.
With that in mind,there's no point dressing this report up as you'll already know we were well beaten by a far superior team.
On a day that can only be described as "a bit nippy",
the gaffer again had the luxury of a near full squad to chose from.The notable absentee being Tony GRAVES,a real blow for the Halloween reporter.We were out nice and early for a decent warm up and kicked off with one change from our previous starting line up,
Sean Windeatt returning to centre half in the absence of Alec Brown.
The early exchanges suggested that we might have bit of a chance.
Darrens superb free kick had the Hutton stopper beaten "all ends up",striking the underside of the bar before being scrambled away.A low cross across the face of the goal only needed a final touch that sadly didn't arrive.Gradually the visitors found their rhythm, moving the ball around as though we weren't there,and we found ourselves increasingly on the back foot.So despite Hilary's heroics in the back line,Hutton predictably broke the deadlock.Poor marking from a throw in allowed them the freedom and space to play around us resulting in an easy finish for one-nil.
If that wasn't enough we gave away the ball straight from the re-start and never got it back until we were kicking off again a minute later.We rallied a little but the truth is we were never anywhere near the level of our opponents.They played with a swagger befitting the gap in class between us,and with former Arsenal starlet Michael Black allowed the freedom of the park,we were being pulled completely out of shape.By the half-time  whistle we had shipped three more goals,albeit three top quality finishes,with ex-Charlton midfielder Paul Linger completing a first half hat-trick..H-T..0-5.
Obviously,the half time discussion centred on playing for our own pride and winning the half ahead,and while things improved in terms of keeping shape and structure,indecision led to a sixth goal for the premier leaguers.We kept on going but as the game wore on Hutton's quality became more and more evident and we never really caused them any real problems...a seventh followed but we kept our heads up..(and on) and in the final half-hour we almost..almost..shut them out,number 8 arriving in the final few minutes.Lady Luck had long departed,when Martin Treadway latched on to a pass from Kevin and headed for goal,his subtle clip over the 'keeper hitting the inside of the post,rolling along the line before being sheperded to safety.
And that was that.
                       HUTTON OLD BOYS 8
We played a top,top side today who
didn't patronize us by taking it easy.They competed to the end and will dish out a few more of those this season.Most importantantly we stayed together despite everything.As Bazza remarked to me,this fixture has been hanging over us like a cloud since the draw.Now its out of the way and we can step forward into a season where we have a real chance of success.Believe and achieve.
Team:Gary Doodes,Trevor Burton,
Halil Hassan,Sean Windeatt,Hilary Francis,Barry Smith,Suhail Butt, Kevin Whitworth,Darren Foss, Taju Oyedeji,Martin Treadway, Paul Obinkwo,Alec Brown,Pasquale Amico,Billy Howard.
Man of the Match:HILARY FRANCIS
Special thanks to Paul Walters who stepped in to referee at very short notice,and Gary Doodes who interrupted a weekend away to play."Chapeau",as they say in France.