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It’s Life Stu But Not As We Know It!!
By: Ian Townsend
LAB (Life After Buckley) began in the "compact and bijou" surroundings of Morecambe’s Christie Park as temporary Space Captain Watkiss tried to turn his Space Kiddettes into a fighting force the Empire could be proud of and at the same time impress Emperor John with his footballing credentials and get that elusive first win.
LAB (Life After Buckley) began in the "compact and bijou" surroundings of Morecambe’s Christie Park as temporary Space Captain Watkiss tried to turn his Space Kiddettes into a fighting force the Empire could be proud of and at the same time impress Emperor John with his footballing credentials and get that elusive first win. The team selection set the scene for the day as Stu erred on the side of caution. The engine room had a familiar look about it as Watkiss went for a 3-5-2 formation as follows: As expected recent loan signing Cadet Trotter went straight into the battle formation at the expense, unsurprisingly to many of the observers, of Mr Heslop who didn't make the bench..
Bennett, Heywood, Newey
Vidal, Hunt, Boshell, Trotter, Hegarty
Subs: Montgomery, Stockdale, Llewellyn, North, Taylor
Town kicked off in warm sunshine but from the off it appeared all combatants had their phasers set to "stun" as the game became bogged down in the centre of the park. True, Town were the only side to try some invention but lacked the creative guile for that legendary "killer ball". Town’s passing was elaborate.........and predominantly sideways.............and often wayward. Messrs Trotter and Vidal were soon on a very steep learning curve as they tried to come to terms with the, shall we say, "lower" standard of team mate than they were used to. Trotter seemed a bit phased by his team mates referring to him as "Dave".
The battle needed some heavenly intervention and it came in the shape of the adjudicator. The Dark Lord reacting to a clumsy challenge on Boshell after good work by Till had freed him in the penalty box by pointing to the spot.
Boshell made his excuses and moved as far away from the ball as he could and up stepped Till to stroke the ball into the bottom right hand corner as the Morecambe custodian joined Boshell i.e. miles from the ball.
Surely things would now "pick up"? No!!!
For the rest of the first engagement Morecambe huffed and puffed (although never seriously threatening the Town goal). Town merely puffed.
The only sound to be heard was the Morecambe drum, sounding strangely like that of the Sioux pre Little Big Horn. Enough to prompt the ancient Mariner next to me to muse as to whether John Wayne was on the bench. If only!!
The first galactic confrontation came to an end and after what appeared a very short period for recharging the Dilithium Crystals (A period punctuated by the old song "I Tawt I Saw a Puddy Tat." and a sterling rendition of "Bring me Sunshine") combat was rejoined.
Town tried to get on top as first a great reverse pass put in Till only for the lino to rule him offside and then a strong Hegarty run resulted in the ball being scrambled away for a corner.
Town seemed by and large to be content with their slender advantage, which caused mutterings amongst the faithful as no attacking addition seemed to be considered.
Morecambe poured forward sensing a wavering from their opponents and a period of sustained pressure ended with the ball bouncing off the top of Barnes’s bar.
Stu had seen enough and first Llewellyn and then Stockdale were sent on for Trotter and Vidal respectively. So it was confirmed! Town would protect their advantage.
Unfortunately the Dark One again intervened. A dodgy free kick (which appeared to be given by the "crowd" (A loose term to describe 1900 hardy souls!)) saw Town expose their collective Achilles heel of being completely unable to defend a set piece and the ball was rifled diagonally at head height into the far corner past a bemused Barnes for an equaliser.
This prompted Watkiss’s last throw of the dice in the shape of Danny North but it was too little, too late and the game petered out with just a great move involving a dummy run by North and a through ball from Llewellyn to Hegarty who was unable to beat the keeper in a one on one, worthy of note. A quick glance from Hegarty as he picked himself up suggested he wished he'd been "beamed up"
The referee compounded the ennui with an amazing four minutes of added time as though he was the only one trying to get some excitement into the game, despite their being no invasion of the playing area by medics from either faction.
On a serious note. Most Town fans left wondering why they were so deflated after seeing their team get an away point. I would love to report that it represented the first steps on the road to recovery. Alas it was not the case. The passing was generally woeful. There were two shots on goal including the penalty. The performance of the second half of last week seemed to have been studiously ignored against a team who were definitely there for the taking.
Now is the time for a man to "boldly go where none have gone before" (well in the last 10 years anyway.) Only time will tell whether that man is Captain Stuart T Watkiss but he'll have done himself no favours today.
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