Forest Edge Tight Affair At Oakside

You don’t have to be that smart to realise that the 2012/13 season has been a tough one for everyone connected to Redbridge FC. Whilst we all knew that the club would struggle this season, it has been at times hard to watch and it does seem like the good times of last season seem 10 years ago yet alone one.

Anyway I’m not going to look back on last season’s effort and nor should people from afar. The circumstances at the club have changed and our managers Steve Portway and Del Robinson are doing their best to work with next to no budget with a squad that bar a few experienced heads has never played senior football yet alone Ryman League football.

Yes the table doesn’t lie but with a bit more luck, awareness on the pitch and experience (which improves awareness) we would have a few points on the board and after our two recent defeats, I am hopeful that we can get a win sooner rather than later.

Last night’s match against Waltham Forest came close to being called off. The pitch at our club is never the best and the goal-mouths do often take a battering around this time of year. The goalmouth closest to the clubhouse was in such a poor condition that it forced Barkingside’s match on Monday against Great Wakering Rovers off.

There was a strong chance that the game would be called off. I even got my boots dirty and helped our management team and our club secretary Bob Holloway put some sand on the goalmouth to try and improve it. Thankfully after 20 minutes work we had done enough and the pitch passed the pitch inspection from the officials.

Despite hearing the referee confirm that the game was on, our committee member George Adams thought it would be funny to tell me that the game was off. For a split second I believed him, but once again I fell for one of his ridiculous wind-ups much to the amusement of one of our club’s greatest strikers. He scored 5 times for us in a game back in the 70s not that he’s one to brag about it….much!

Anyway the game itself went to script with us conceding early when Forest defender Dmitri Larin glanced in from a corner after 8 minutes. There was come confusion where I was sitting amongst our fans. I thought it was Forest’s forward Chris Taylor who headed the ball in. After being outvoted 4-1 we agreed that it was Larin who headed it in.

The visitors deserved their lead at the break and but for the woodwork and a splendid save from our goalkeeper Dean Neill could have been further ahead. To be honest I thought they scored a second at the start of the second-half.

I missed the kick-off at the restart and after getting my customary hot chocolate from Jeanette at our Burger Bar misheard the mutterings of a spectator behind me walking to the stand and thought that Forest had got a second. Thankfully the fans where I sit reassured that I hadn’t missed a second goal for Forest, not that I would’ve really wanted to have seen it to be honest!

How there wasn’t a goal in the second-half I still don’t know. Forest had a chance cleared of the line, hit the woodwork with Neill making some great saves to keep us in it. We fought hard and came agonisingly close to grabbing an equaliser in the dying stages of the game after missing not one but two chances.

Firstly our manager Steve Portway (who brought himself on as a late substitute) somehow missed an open goal inside the six-yard box with Michael Bowditch (our goalkeeper who came on as an outfield player due to injuries) firing a shot narrowly wide from a tight angle inside the box.

Here are the highlights of the game that I took on my Samsung phone including footage of the agricultural work (spade, rollers, shovel) that went on (which I helped out with) before the game took place.

If you have the time/interest here’s what our manager Del Robinson had to say me after the game –

Here’s what Colin Walton, Waltham Forest’s assistant had to say to me after the game –

Next up for us is a trip to Harlow Town away on Saturday, which will be a tough game for us. It would be nice to get a point there but make no mistake about it the derby next Wednesday against Ilford is a huge game and one that we can definitely win.

I recommend going to that game as it’s an important match and the way both teams are defending it won’t be goalless, although saying that anything can happen in football. Or you could just stay in and watch Aston Villa play Bradford City. I know what I’d rather watch!


About James Bartaby

Hey, I'm James and I'm relatively new to non-league football, having only taken in my first match in September 2011. Despite it being a 0-4 defeat for Hampton & Richmond Borough, I became a huge fan of the club and NL in general. So much so that they are now the first club that I mention when talking about which team I support! I just got massively disillusioned with top flight football in this country and the attitudes of the lawmakers and top clubs in general, and I wanted to start taking my son to see decent football. I am now the club's Deputy Press Officer, and loving every minute!

Posted on January 9, 2013, in UTL Archive and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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