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Home to Nottsborough

After three washed-out weekends the VETS returned to AFA cup action as we welcomed Nottsborough for our quarter-final
tie.Due to a mid-week call off at the Brittania we found ourselves at Hale End HQ on the park pitch.
Looking at the condition of the central area of the pitch its a wonder this game got the go-ahead,but we were glad to be donning the green and black again and hoping to progress to our first semi-final.The gaffer had the luxury of a full strength squad to select from,enhanced by the welcome return of Hilary from injury.So you might have expected that we would have been chomping at the bit to get out there and really put in a performance.Sadly it was to transpire that the comfy Saturday afternoons of the last three weeks had blunted our desire to get on the field and compete.As you would expect the pre-match chin-wag focused on keeping the ball out of the swamp and using the more playable wider areas.Yet from the whistle it seemed only Notts had really grasped this simple concept.As we laboured in the mire,our visitors played the firmer parts of the field,moving the ball around with a composure absent from our play.It only took five minutes for the deadlock(..if you can call it that..) to be broken.Some tidy passing down the Notts left side resulted in an easy tap-in for the opener..0-1.We laboured away but were clearly up against a well organised and talented side.15 minutes had passed when the lead was doubled.A low corner pulled to the edge of the box was met with a precise finish into the top right hand corner of our goal for 0-2.Ten minutes later poor marking at another corner allowed a clipped in effort to be flicked on at the near post for another un-challenged header to make it 0-3.As the half wore on,and with the luxury of a three goal cushion,Notts allowed us back in a bit,but we were still reluctant to push from the back and Martin T in the lone striker role,often found himself without support when the ball did come to him.H-T..0-3
Having observed the first half from pitchside,Hils gave his opinion of where we were going wrong and everyone was offered the opportunity to have their say,the sheepish response told its own story.For the second half Bazza brought Hilary on at centre back,moving Kevin into midfield.T also entered the fray joining Martin as we reverted back to 4-4-2.And for about a quarter of an hour we were back in it.Then Notts broke away on the counter and out of nowhere we were 0-4.Within minutes 0-5,and then 0-6.All thoughts of turning the game around evaporated,damage limitation was the name of the game.We pulled one back..DARREN FOSS heading home a Sean Windeatt cross for 1-6,but another three goal salvo from the visitors meant an embarrassment wasn't avoided.With seconds remaining MARTIN TREADWAY added to his total for the season with a smart turn and finish to make it 2-9,and Gary Doodes superb save at the death meant we at least avoided the shame of a double figure defeat.Final Score:HALE END 2
                  NOTTSBOROUGH  9 
Team:Gary Doodes,Sean Windeatt,
Halil Hassan,Kevin Whitworth,
Alec Brown,Barry Smith,Darren Foss,Paul Obinkwo,Suhail Butt,
Martin Treadway,Trevor Burton,
Hilary Francis,Taju Oyedeji,Paul
Laughey,Billy Howard.
MAN OF THE MATCH WAS NOT AWARDED THIS WEEK.
When we were tonked by Hutton a few weeks back,the consensus after was that there was not a lot we could have done to bridge the gap between ourselves and a team of their quality.That was not the case on this occasion.Nottsborough were a decent,well organised side with some good individuals,but we badly let ourselves,and the club down.We've
made a lot of progress in the last few seasons,which we can rightly be proud of,but this was a return to the bad old friendly days.The good results don't just happen,they are earned by the right attitude and effort on the pitch.We are so much better than we showed in this game.So let's see the real Hale End Vets close our title winning year with a win at Hanningfield on Saturday.
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