This point-blank save had the crowd on its feet.
By David Barber - Monday, 10 December, 2012
The superfan saw an unusual visitor to a Vase match
About ten minutes into Croydon’s FA Vase match with Hanworth Villa on Saturday a Villa fan came up the stone steps to the stand carrying a lifesize cardboard cut-out of Marilyn Monroe, a red and white Villa scarf draped round her shoulders.
Fortunately for him they have a special turnstile entrance for screen goddesses of the ‘50s at Croydon Sports Arena.
He had come straight from the bar and was singing: “She’s here, she’s there, she’s every flippin’ where. Mar-i-lyn, Mar-i-lyn”. His noisy entrance was timely: it was 0-0, Croydon had just had a good-looking goal chalked off for offside and Villa were very much on the back foot.
From then on their passing improved, their wide players started to get behind the Croydon defence and they had the better chances of a goalless first half. They took the lead with a classy free-kick that went in off a post on 57 minutes and then there was a break of a few minutes when the referee dashed off to the dressing rooms. We all assumed he needed the toilet.
I had seen Croydon score nine in the previous round but disappointingly they couldn’t even manage one on Saturday and lost 2-0 to a team from the same Combined Counties League Premier Division. I got a train back to Purley at 5.03, beating the hordes of Palace fans. I used to be one of them more than 30 years ago.
Sometimes a referee’s performance can be as memorable as a player’s. It was one of last week’s matches and this one came onto the field for the toss-up, limping heavily. He was wearing a woolly hat and gloves, a proper ref’s shirt with badges all over it and had black tracksuit bottoms under his black shorts.
He flipped a coin which went higher than he probably meant it to and landed on his head. Some of his decisions were bizarre, with the players often in stitches, and he seemed determined to keep at least 50 yards away from the action. That is, except for one corner-kick from the right. He took up a position in a cluster of players in the goalmouth and was knocked to the ground as three or four players lunged in to tackle him, the ball having landed at his feet.
I saw an incredible miss in yesterday’s KPMG v PWC clash in the London Accountants League (Division Three). It defied the laws of physics, biology, geography and everything else. KPMG’s centre-half and goalie left the ball to each other and it was trickling towards the goal. The former raced back, just managing to stop it on the line in the middle of the goal as his momentum took him into entanglement at the back of the net.
A PWC forward, following up on his own, side-footed the ball a yard wide.
I’m at a big match tonight, having bought a ticket for Fulham v Newcastle in the Premier League. I finish for Christmas this Wednesday, so there won’t be another column until early January. ‘Happy New Year’ to both of my readers.
Games this season = 91
Games in total = 6,386
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