IES 4th XI had clung to 8th place in Division 4NE of the East League for some time as they gathered on this blustery wet Saturday for the return match against Dereham. Dereham away was a seasonal highlight. Trenter had scored a goal of the season contender. Murray had scored Dereham’s goal of the season. There was Sneddon’s ‘pass’. And above all there was the tale of the blue socked dinosaur, Meades’ pilfering and Williams’ knee lump. O and the match had ended 4-1 to Dereham and was game 5 of the acclaimed 7 match losing run.
The squad changed again – your reporter has that phrase saved for the match report every week. Jones was playing his first consecutive match since the decade before last. Whiting appeared in the hat but joyously to play rather than manage this time. Reed wandered back in, Oliver came in in goal for his 4th XI debut and most surprisingly of all Trenter professed mid week that his knees might be up to it (maybe he recalled his away goal). Those 5 joined the normal ‘recent’ bunch of Murray, Page, Williams, Sebborn, Kiel, Vince, Russell, Spurling and the Maestro.
The pre-match warm up took place in a darkened hall – it being too cold and wet outside. The match started with Dereham confessing to only having 10. That didn’t bode well. The last time IES lined up on the far home pitch against ten men they duly lost 4-0 to Watton. Look what happened to them!
Back to the match. The first ten minutes didn’t inspire from an IES perspective. Dereham’s crash ball style worked effectively aided by the fact they had two pacey and physical forwards who ran ran and ran. Williams and Page aren’t so hot at the running. The latter is dragged into that sentence so as not to pick on the Capitan too much. ‘Be kind’ is the much used catchphrase of late – one that Elsom lives by. Dereham took the lead via a powerful – although fairly straight – short corner. Then IES woke up following three substitutions.
Your reporter is sure it is a coincidence that improvement took place at this point – but with Sebborn and Whiting watching IES stepped up and Trenter – yes Trenter – played a delightful square ball to Jones who swept in his first goal since 2008. Reed then twiddled a bit and knocked one in from close range.
Then our next goal of the season contender. This one was caught on video although the camerawoman seem transfixed by one participant so we have no idea what actually happened. Vince ran from his 23 collected the ball just outside the other D and drove in and smashed a shot in at the keepers near post for his first ever 4th XI goal.
What else happened in the first half you might ask. Well Trenter fell over, Elsom missed a bouncing attacking aerial in the left corner, Trenter fell over and Elsom missed a bouncing attacking aerial in the left corner. Then of course the Maestro scored – not missing a bouncing ball in the D – he smote it powerfully into the net to make it 4-1 at half time.
Over-whelmed with emotion – i.e. not being used to being 3 up at half time – Capitan Williams led the positive half-time chit chat. Elsom observed that the ball still needed to be in the D for him to be able to hit it. Williams changed the line-up taking off both central defenders and playing Sebborn in defence and handed over to Reed to add something insightful – Reed then helpfully pointed out that the 2nd half was about to start and maybe the IES team should get ready.
Were there highlights in the second half? Well, Elsom scored a short corner, Reed twiddled again and scored a reverse stick paddle. The front three kept forgetting whose go it was to go off. So Williams came on at centre forward. And the comedy moment of the year, Whiting received the ball on the half way line with a two on two position with Elsom. Elsom made his normal 5 yard run. Whiting ignored him and pushed the ball 15 yards passed the first man and set off in pursuit. Time stopped. Elsom stood with hand on hips watching. The Dereham player back tracked pushing his zimmer, collected the ball and for reasons only Whiting can fathom – passed it to Whiting, who stopped it, controlled it and decided to off-load it aimlessly before anything else happened. By this time Elsom had finished his strop and walked to his normal position at the top of the D to find the ball arriving and 7-1 it became and Elsom duly completed his 3rd hat-trick of the season. Your reporter knows if he has got this stat wrong then Elsom will shortly notify him of the fact. Whiting normally gets in contact via his legal team led by the hirsute Andrew.
Then Williams lost the ball, blocked his opponent from speeding away and took a rest on the side with a green card. Dereham then scored the 9th and final goal of the game.
But 7-2 it ended and no such score-line had here-to-for – been dreamt possible by the IES team – other than in defeat by Sudbury in November. Next week – yes – Sudbury away. Probability of Jones playing his 3rd match in a row —- 1,000,000,0000,000 to 1. IES rise to 7th and are now statistically safe from the bottom 2. 8th place is now looking the most likely finish. Anything higher will require an away win or two – with next week’s game at Great Cornard being an ideal opportunity to notch the second away win of the season.
Finally, man of the match. Despite not yet being mentioned in any of the above – this was probably Kiel’s finest match of the season and quite possibly Murray’s. Vince was a contender for his goal and The Maestro for his hat-trick. On balance, though, the award – for his reverse-dextrality when playing numerous positions well – and for keeping a clean sheet whilst playing alongside Sebborn in central defence (only for 15 minutes admittedly) goes to Murray.