IES 4th XI had soared to 7th place in Division 4NE of the East League for the first time since part way through the autumn following the – Elsom inspired – thrashing of 10 man Dereham. Sudbury away didn’t bode too well as it marked the return of the blue socks and the return match of IESs worst home performance of the season. Numerous changes were made – in fact Paul Lambert would have been proud. Sebborn missed his first match of the season – and surprisingly he was missed. Page came up with some podiatry ailment but thankfully didn’t share photographic evidence. Jones was inevitably missing and Reed too. In came the returning Arthur and Meades – the latter reminiscing about his affection for the blue socks. Williams jnr stepped up to make his 4th XI debut.
The first half was a bit of a blur. It was marked by Elsom dropping deeper and deeper and surpassing Sebborn for aerial acumen as he dispatched one over his left shoulder and off the pitch. Murray went back to kicking it and Capitan Williams was simply useless. Not a lot else happened other than Sudbury scored 5.
Now for our massed readership what followed was maybe predictable. Maetstro Elsom ranted … your reporter recalls ‘disgusting’ being the most used word and the Capitan took a more positive tone – extolling the fact that it couldn’t get any worse and that avoiding a thrashing was now the aim. And remarkably the second half was much better. IES packed the midfield – Spurling took on the dynamo role (not that challenging really when your midfield comrades are mainly Whiting, Elsom and Trenter). Arthur, Vince and Russell provided energy up front and if Kiel and Williams jnr had got a bit more support from Murray and Williams snr then Black may not have been called on so often. But Black shone in the second half conceding just the one. At one point Spurling twiddled and took on a Reed like appearance (with a bit of pace – to be fair) and beat 7 before tapping a fine individual goal passed the astonished keeper.
What happened thereafter is mainly down to the Maestro. On the voyage to Sudbury he had regaled Williams jnr with stories of the first match he’d himself played with Elsom jnr when the older jnr had received a yellow card much to Elsom snr chagrin. So Williams jnr took this on the chin – and stopped a ball rather too obviously and deliberately with his foot and he saw yellow. Sebborn is pleased he is now not the only 4th XI recipient this season. And of course the blue sock debacle goes on. Someone has stolen a pair and Williams snr is now awaiting the DNA test results on the 11 pairs he has – in an effort to discover the culprit.
And back to the point, IES dropped back to their normal 8th place following Dereham’s home point against Bury. Next week a tricky home tie against Magpies. Your reporter is hoping that Whiting excels like the last Magpies match (that may be the third compliment of the great man and its taken 20 match reports to get to it). Of course the greater aim is to gain a point or two (the latter being a particularly daft aspiration with three points given for a win and one for a draw). Player of the match – well Black was good in the second half, no one was great in the first half – in fact no one reached mediocre in the first half. But the award simply has to be granted to Spurling – who stepped up and produced his best 4th XI performance yet (maybe bottom of the diamond is his position).