Westleigh Park, Havant
Rejoice for it is that very rarest of things: a H&W home game actually going ahead as planned. Of late opposition supporters have taken to calling us Havant & Waterlogville, such has been the regularity of our home games being called off. In fairness, I’m quite sad I didn’t think of it first, and it’s much preferable to the long-term nom-de-contempt Havant A Clue-ville.
However given the problem relates to a collapsed drain beneath the pitch there’s pretty much nothing we can do until May, and even then it’s going to be an expensive old job, so you find us now praying each week that if there is rain it only occurs just after the final whistle of our midweek catch-up fixture and that we then have at least three days drying time before the Saturday. This week, we did, ergo football!
Well, I say football. There didn’t appear to be much going on from either side in the first half. However despite our half-time grumblings about how poor the 45 minutes had been, it was an accurate re-enactment of pretty much the entire 90 minutes we’d had to endure last Tuesday watching our mob play away at Maidenhead. Indeed when our man Trev came over the PA detailing a reminder that “the Hawks are at home again this coming Monday” it seemed more as a word of caution than a rallying cry.
Yet, despite our midweek dreadfulness, we won that game 1-0 with an 84th minute Wes Fogden goal so chunter we might but if wins (and clean sheets) keep coming then I’m sure we’d settle for that. However bigger tests are to come, especially as we’ve still yet to play league leaders Braintree both at home and away.
As such it was heartening that the second half saw a much improved performance and little in the way of trouble for our men at the back. Thankfully the scoreboard pressure (not that our scoreboard actually works) was relieved as early as the 49th minute. Wes Fogden did his usual trick of persuading a defender that he might like to foul him in the penalty area.
To take the spot-kick came Manny Williams, our on-his-day brilliant striker who has recently been forced to put up signs around Leigh Park asking if people could check their sheds and garages in case his mojo had taken to hiding in them. However he’s been pretty reliable from spot-kicks and he managed to send keeper Tom Lovelock the wrong way.
What followed was a succession of off-side flags as we mis-timed more efforts than an aging passer-by being asked to make-up-the-numbers with the bat for a village 4th XI.
With twenty minutes to go Sammy Igoe, currently sporting the Brylcreemed barnet of a 1940’s matinee idol, was brought on as a substitute, alongside Mustafa Tiryaki, replacing Ian Selley and Guiseppe Sole respectively. Possibly the most remarkable sight at our club at the moment is not our municipal allotment of a pitch, but Sammy’s parting, which is as severe as surgery yet as clean as an amicable divorce. Apparently, the left side of Sammy’s hair gets access to the nits on weekends, bank holidays and every second Wednesday.
Eleven minutes later the double substitution paid clear dividends with Igoe getting to the by-line and dollying a beautiful cross to the back post where Muzzy met the ball with a crisp header that bounced beneath the keeper and in.
As such a very comfortable home win was achieved and some more encouraging football after a poor run of performances. Given next weekend sees a very difficult double header of Gravesend & Northfleet away on Saturday and Braintree at home on the Monday, we’ll be wanting to keep the momentum going at home to Dorchester tomorrow.