23rd February 2019 v Stamford Vets
Into the heartland of the RAF we travel for our next double header with Stamford Vets first up on the Saturday. The game will be played at the Zeeco Stadium, home of Stamford AFC, a lovely ground and we are well looked after by all the staff there. Despite a cold start to the morning the day has turned out nice. Stamford kick off. In the 4th minute, Schofield was unlucky when he ran through but the advancing keeper managed to save at his feet and, to not put to fine a point on it, that was it until the fifteenth minute when the RAF scored. The passing from both sides was abysmal with no one even attempting to put a foot on the ball and slow the game down to a manageable level. Both sides were intent on passing to the opposition or just passing the ball straight into touch. This lasted for the first thirty minutes but yes, the RAF did score in the 15th minute and it came from the one bit of good work the boys in blue managed in that first half hour. Tweedie won the ball in midfield and bore down on the Stamford box. He evaded a couple of challenges before, at the edge of the box, the keeper appeared again and managed to save with his legs. The ball rolled straight to Clarke who, from 30 yards, passed the ball back into the net. 1-0 RAF. Stamford’s first attempt on goal came in the 23rd minute but the shot was harmlessly wide of the far post. Thankful that first half hour passed and then a great move saw Stewart get in a cross and Tweedie headed narrowly wide. “Hurrah” or words to that effect we said as the boys looked to have finally woken up. Macek then found Schofield who played it forward to Tweedie and, spotting the keeper off his line again, he tried to chip him from 40 yards. It was close but landed on the top of the net and it’s a goal kick to Stamford. In the final minute of the half, Schofield again did well getting down the right and drove into the box. He pulled the ball back for Clarke, whose first time shot was saved by the keepers legs, but the ball came out to Tweedie who drilled a shot back but it struck a defender on the line and was cleared. HT Stamford 0-1 RAF No punches were pulled in the dressing room at half time. The management knew, the players knew and those there watching knew...this was not good enough!! With the Inter Services looming we need to start the game in the zone, not start after 30 minutes. Luckily for us, Stamford were not at the races either to start with. So, having got the negatives out of the way the players were sent back out with a positive...the last 15 minutes of the half had been better so lets see more of that. The RAF kicked off the second half. Despite both sides playing better football, chances were few and far between with the teams seemingly cancelling each other out but that was to change in the 68th minute. A corner to the RAF was taken by Martin and he crossed toward the near post. Yet again, the ball was easily headed out but only at the expense of another corner. Salkeld (Coach), on the line, then shouted to hit it toward the far post as the near post was not working. Martin responded by hitting it long and Schofield rose majestically to power home. 2-0 RAF and a great call by Geordie. Macek and Martin then combined to set up Schofield but a great save kept the score as it was before another corner almost resulted in a carbon copy of the second goal but this time the ball was just over the bar from Schofield’s head. If you’ve read the reports prior to this you’ll know that in the last couple of games we’ve had somewhat of a goalkeeping curse. It continued in the 73rd minute when Croucher, in goal for the RAF, tried a routine pass to the full back. Instead of it going right it went straight and straight to a Stamford striker who chipped the ball back over the hapless keeper and into the back of the net. 2-1 RAF. To be fair, Croucher had not had much to do prior to this and this was to be the only blemish in an otherwise faultless display as he marshalled his defenders superbly well. In the 80th minute the RAF restored their two goal lead when a great run down the left by Rooney saw him pass inside to the ever running Tweedie. He played the ball between the defenders legs before rounding him and calmly slotting the ball into the back of the net. 3-1 RAF. Three minutes later, Meadows and Macek combined well down the right before the ball was played inside and back to Shanks who whipped in a first time ball. Bartley missed it but Tweedie coming in late, got there before the defender but couldn’t keep the ball down and it was over the bar. That’s the way it stayed until the final whistle. FT Stamford 1 - 3 RAF. Well, that was a bit of a rollercoaster of a game. It contained everything good and bad about football including two routines by Robison that looked as if they had been written for Torvill and Deans “Bolero” (had to be seen to be believed) but at the end of the day, a 3-1 victory was deserved based on the second half performance and despite not really stamping our authority on the game from the off...we won!! RAF Squad: Croucher, Macek, Robison (C), McCormick, Stewart, Bartley, Bryan, Clarke, Schofield, Martin, Tweedie, Milam, Pierre, Laing, Shanks, Rooney, Meadows, Donnelly, Findler, Letch Other RAF representatives: Sir Chris Coville (President), Beattie (RTM), Taylor (Coach), Salkeld (Coach), Green (Coach), Payne (Medic), Hill (Medic), Sheehan (Comms), Bones (Photo), Kerr, Robertson, Jones, Peel, Laurie (Support) Once again, a massive shout out to the ladies who came along to support and to all the staff at the Zeeco Stadium who looked after us so well. The RAF FA Vets family really appreciate all the effort shown in helping us fulfil these fixtures.