Recardo McDowell memorial legends match
December the third saw two motley crews of clearly out of shape, past it, ex footballers turn up to contest the inaugural Seymour Legends vs Crow Legends football match in memory of Recardo McDowell and to raise some money for Eva and her charities.
As the two teams got ready to play it was very clear the theme from both sets of play was “holy moley, can I really do 90”? Looking around the dressing room it seemed likely that rarely on a pitch has there been such a dearth of energy and pace since that episode of Father Ted with the octogenarian priest football tournament.
All these fear disappeared in a frantic opening in which both sides rolled back the years with a fast and furious first five minutes in which the Crow started with the upper hand. Not long into the match the Crow turned the creaking Seymour defence with a quick counter attack. Through on goal the Crow striker put the homeside 1-0 up with a little dink over the onrushing Chris “The Cat” Hayman.
Howls of (admittedly out of breath) protest came from the Seymour defenders that surely, surely there was more than a hint of offside, the Seymour lino Glynn sheepishly had to admit he hadn’t seen due to him admiring the nearby Buzzard. Seymour Legends manager and fullback for the day had to angrily admonish Glynn. It was you see a Red Kite, and not a Buzzard that had caused the distraction. The rematch prep will surely see Glynn sent for emergency Ornithological and Offside training!
After the initial rush though, and in response to going one down the Seymour legends started exhibiting a bit of control and brains. Matt “The Yak” Travis combined being both an immovable object and an irresistible force, holding off players, charging with forward with the momentum of a herd of stampeding bovines and using an unexpected (at least from this reporter) degree of finesse and skill in his through balls.
With Trav being the physical focal point of the attack most of the chances were falling to Simon Dowell who had some severe gravitational challenges in the first half. Si’s frequent meetings with the astroturf were monumentally unimpressive to the ref, who waved play on, and waved Si up.
With Seymour stalwarts Dan Billings, and John Tremblett starting to boss the midfield a few more chances started to come the Seymour’s way. Though shooting boots, and judgement of a few players seemed to have been left in the dressing room.
Eventually after a really good move from the Seymour Stevie P got the leveller that had been coming for a while.
A really good and even first half that had ebbed and flowed came to a halt.
At the start of the second half Seymour legends started well, Ian Curran, buoyed by Tony McDowell believing he looked just like Trem, started marauding forward from right back. Mark Tinsun forgot he was a rugby player doing a job and started playing like a Baresie esque Libero moving into the base of midfield and creating the space for the Seymour’s actual footballers to get space. Trem, Stevie P, Dan all linked up in a great move to create a chance that even on an off day Simon Dowell couldn’t miss, and with his powerful header from in the 6 yard box the Seymour went up in the game for the first time.
Then, in what would be very familiar to anyone who remember the legends when they were just the Seymour team, panic started setting in. The two former managers on the left flank, Ralph Ferrett and Jon Lake started to look every one of their near 100 years of combined age on the left flank. Missed passes started happening, missed runner and panicky clearances.
With renewed vigour the Crow started coming on strong, the Crow had a couple of corners in a row after a mistake by Ralph. And on the second corner some missed clearances in midfield the Crow via a deflected shot were able to level things.
Richard Channing then rolled back the years to take on his familiar Gunnery Sergeant Hartman persona to berate the Seymour into settling down. Rich and Mark started taking turns with intelligent marauding into midfield and the Seymour started taking control again.
Shortly after Ralph tried to relive his Butt Park hey day with a couple of air shot missed volleys the Seymour put together a good move, working the ball through the middle for Simon Dowell to calmly finish for his second of the game and the Seymour were 3-2 up.
At this point Jon Lake had to come off and Glynn Fulfit stopped his bird watching to come on for only his second appearance for the Seymour. Glynn had long held onto his record of ten minutes played, and two goals scored for the Seymour previously, a minutes to goal record better than Messi for Barca. Shortly after coming on, and through some tenacious tackling Glynn found himself beyond all the Crow’s defender, and his surprisingly decent cross to Trav was agonisingly just beyond him on the penalty spot.
Shortly after this after some good work down the right Dan Billings got the goal of the game with an absolute thunderbastard of a shot into the top corner and the Seymour were 4-2 up.
It was at this point that the lack of substitutes really started to tell. Ralph turned his ankle and the already injured Jon Lake had to replace him for the last 12 minutes. Everyone was getting tired and it was time for Chris the Cat, and Rich Channing to step up and try and shepherd the Seymour to victory.
Chris had to make several great saves at full stretch, and Ian and Rich were making last ditch tackles to keep the Seymour up ahead. But eventually the Crow got through on a break and and scored a good low finish at the near post to make it 4-3.
As the match due to it’s close tempers started to fray a little. The Crow’s Vinny, their (according to the rest of the team) entirely self declared best player was in constant dialogue with Ralph on the line about the intricacies of the offside law. By this stage in proceedings the standard of the banter was much greater than the standard of the football!
The Crow threw the kitchen sink at the Seymour for the last 5 minutes but to no avail. The whistle went final score 4-3 to the Seymour Legends!
Matt Travis deservedly picked up the man of the match gong. But it was truly a team performance. Especially as there were so many non footballers on the pitch for the Seymour. Well played to everyone.
So that leave the Seymour legends with a 100% record after two games; and sets things up nicely for the rematch when the Crow will be coming on tour to play in Plymouth in the new year.
Also published on Medium.