Once again the weather gods answered the Fat & Old prayers especially John the Hat's who called be 30 minutes before kick off asking if we would play in this?
With the raining stopping just before the game then chucking it down just after the 16 warriors on show stayed dry for the evening.
8 x 9 minute keepers meant we played for 1 hour 12 minutes and the game started well for bibs who were keeping the ball exceptionally well and keeping a very disciplined shape with Whitey & Beebee linking well with Lamprell & Ridley marshalling well in midfield.
Skins with Curry in an unfamiliar role as striker weren't really getting in the game, although they had some chances, namely from Curry's long throws which Bibs struggled to clear.
Shooting from both teams was going awry with balls galore clearing the fence. Eventually a shot went on target and it was (bald) who opened the scoring as Skins couldn't clear their lines.
No more than bibs deserved and they continued to play the better football. A neat one, two between (bald) and Wilson saw the free scoring stopper add to his seasons tally with a side foot finish past the unsighted Curry in goal.
Skins were struggling now and must have changed player positions a record time as they searched for the right combinations across the pitch.
It got worse before it got better with Bahrami bundling the ball in for 3-0 and it seemed a long way back for Skins who weren't playing well.
Mitchell just back from working in Gloucester hit a ferocious first time effort which hit the post then Whitey's head before hitting the post again then hitting Whitey again before going out for a corner. Was it to be one of those nights for Skins? The answer was an emphatic no. Not soon after another Curry throw was headed in by Greenwood unmarked in the centre of goal. Unforgivable marking by Skins.
3-1 at half time and all to play for. Skins were pressing more now as the earlier shape of Bibs started to fade. And their lead was cut when Matt Green hit a contender for F&O goal of the season as his first time shot hit the top corner past a static (bald) in goal.
It was almost 3-3 when Curry proving to be a nuisance, forced (bald) into a mistake, but the usually deadly Brenchley hit is shot straight at the big mans legs.
The equaliser did come when the now 15 unbeaten hat finished well for 3-3, cue the customary forward roll.
Bibs were rocking now but they came back well and forced a series of saves from Eason with one White effort hitting the post via a deflection from a defender and a touch from the Brad Friedal wannabe.
Brenchley crossed from the corner of the pitch not soon after and greenwood expertly steered the ball home past Bahrami in goal for 4-3.
Chances were occurring regularly and plenty of balls were clearing both fences at either end of the pitch. Curry scored from the inside left channel to make it 5-3 and then a superb Brenchley cross invited Curry to make contact which he duly did to end the scoring and make it a record 9th goal in a BACA match.
MOTM - Danny Greenwood - Two goals and a fine midfield performance from the graceful playmaker.
All eyes were on BACA after the scintillating televised 4-4 draw last week. Two experienced line ups evenly matched on paper got straight down to the physical battle with Curry in the Bibs goal taking an early knock.
Bibs were doing there best to use Wilson as an attacking weapon arriving from deep to shoot or cross and test the returning Lamprell in goal.
It was pretty even stuff throughout with Skins keeping the ball well at the back with Bibs trying to figure out whether to press or stay behind the ball.
Skins best chances were coming from corners with their first deflected wide by Dallinger but they were punished when Eason lost his marker at the back post and steered the ball home first time to open the scoring from a Bahrami corner.
The remainder of the first half was a good spell for Skins as they looked for a second goal. Ridley who was getting up and down had three early shots at goal and Green almost sliced one out for throw as Skins continued to press.
Eason also had a shot saved by Virgo has he looked for his second of the night.
At the other end Bisb rarely threatened although they did hit the angle of bar and post on a rare attack.
Second half and Skins started well again. The undefeated in 13 Hat making a fine save with his feet to deny Brenchley. Ridley had another opportunity but couldn't quite steer his effort on target running away from goal.
It was Brench's turn to deny attackers as his stint in goal saw him save three efforts with his 48 inch chest.
If ever a goal changed the game it was tonight and when Green took too long in his own box, he was robbed and made to pay as Virgo tapped home.
Not long after White was released 1-1. Eason got down well to save the initial shot but luckily for Bibs and their army of fans behind the goal Virgo was on hand again to score an even simpler second for 2-1.
All of a sudden Skins looked a beaten and fatigued side (apart from Pete who was getting up and down) as their returning players after long term injury faded. Greenwood & White supported by the two pests either side had to much guile and energy for a tiring Skins and they were able to run at their defence at will.
Greenwood scored the 3rd with a fierce shot which for some reason Amir tried to save with his foot rather than his hands and the ball went in whilst also injuring the big Iranian.
The game had turned round and Skins desperately needed a lifeline. They almost got it when Brench released Bahrami who just shot wide. But not long after they had one and it was Brenchley who was looking demoralised moments earlier, was sparked back into life when he reduced arrears back to one for 3-2.
Tricker could have immediately restored the two goal advantage but hit a shot wide with well placed support from team mates.
Greenwood was having more and more and effect as Skins work rate reduced (apart from Pete who was getting up and down) and he was pulling the strings as goals reigned in, in the final moments. The Hat with his usual goal and trademark celebration made it 4-2 then White scored after heroics from Beebee in goal and Curry completed the scoring for an emphatic 6-2 victory.
Skins left the pitch a disconsolate bunch (apart from Pete who was still getting up and down).
MOTM - Kev Virgo - Commeth the hour, commeth the man as he pulled his team back into the contest and also made some fine challenges at the other end.
The VHS is already out for this one described by Frank McAvennie as the ‘game that had everything’. In a week where Brighton beat Palace with video technology employed for the first time, F&O made their own history with a camera and referee as two evenly matched teams went at it at the draw HQ.
The game started at break neck speed and Brenchley clean through seemed to be pushed over by Wilson but referee Lamprell waved play on much to the disgust of Brench or couldn’t believe the injustice. At the other end the returning ballet swung in a corner which Eason mis-controlled resulting in a challenge which replays show was a conclusive dive with Hunt missing the next three games for simulation.
Skins took the lead when Russell played in Brenchley who’s fierce shot hit the underside of the bar and went in for 1-0.
Moments later Hunt hit the post as Bibs looked to level.
Half time and the best was yet to come. Seconds into the restart Wilson was caught in possession by Brench and despite another foul on him the ball rolled onto Russell who finished well after a good advantage was played by the ref.
Skins like Wilson were putting in some pretty robust challenges and Mitchell went flying in on Ridley on two occasions the second one assault as they went up for a long throw.
Skins were now happy to soak up and hit on the break and they done this on two further occasions Russell & Brench again linking up allowing the record F&O goal scorer to notch a hatrick for 4-0.
The game looked to be all over but Bibs continued to plug away and they kept getting closer and closer. Eventually their pressure paid off and a Greenwood curler in the angle of cross bar and post before hitting dangerous Dan in goal and bouncing over the line.
It was Greenwood again who was having a sensational game who started the panic for Skins as he made it 4-2.
A corner cleared by Eason was then put back into the mixer by Greenwood and ballet with a fortunate bit of mis-control teed up Ridley who blasted home.
With only minutes remaining it was twinkle toes Wilson who danced through the Skins back line before poking home for 4-4 and the comeback was complete.
An amazing end to a great match resulting in yet another draw.
MOTM – Mark Brenchley – A hatrick and an assist for the man who had to pass a late fitness test before the match. Some great goals and hold up play.
The first F&O game of the new year ended in a 4-4 draw with both teams feeling they should have won as Skins undoubtedly had the better possession and chances but Bibs gifted two soft goals with abject goal keeping.
With 7 vs 7 there seemed like oceans of space in midfield and this where Skins dominated with Ian Highland, White & Hunt the stars. They also had the big man (bald) up front and after six minutes the first Ridley injury as he stayed down after the hairless cranium of Steve gently brushed the older man. Ridley stayed down long enough to ensure everyone knew he had taken a whack on his 100th cap.
Ridley injuries would be more common than goals and he was down six times in forty minutes the most amusing was the first time thump by Wilson hitting Pete square in the face causing his left ear to swell. Fellow 100 cap achiever Tricker was full of sympathy and numerous belly laughs riled the veteran.
With the game being 12 days old I have a list of scorers but only remember certain goals.
The Hat forced one in from a tight angle and after a poor back pass by Skins Curry rounded Hunt in goal before finishing well.
At the other end Ridley and the Hat can hang their heads in shame after some dreadful keeping although Ridley complained that Virgo had fouled him just before.
The other goals were from Brenchley, Tricker for bibs and Hunt & Wilson scored two apiece for Skins.
MOTM – Tom Hunt – Another strong performance from the young midfielder.