In scenes better suited to a tawdry mud wrestling event involving two young statuesque ladies with large hair, southern U.S. accents, wearing brightly coloured bikinis (although I'm no expert), Tattenhall Vets succumbed to two late goals from Frodsham Park Vets to record a loss in their first group stage game of the CWFL Tarvin Precision Chester and District Veterans' Cup at Frodsham Saltworks on Saturday afternoon. The result heaped further pressure on beleaguered manager Stu Taylor, whose position now looks more precarious than the Russian athletics team's pharmacist. Putting a brave face on events, Taylor insisted that he hadn't lost the dressing room and that as long as the F.A. ceased persecuting him and referees stopped being afraid to award decisions Tattenhall's way, he could still turn things around.
Tattenhall started brightly enough and, while conditions still allowed passing football, dominated the early stages before taking a deserved lead on 20 minutes when Tim Whitehill (formerly on the books of Everton), spotted the well-timed run of Ben Erwin (formerly on the books of Coventry City) who calmly put away the one-on-one with the Frodsham keeper. But, as the weather quickly transformed the pitch into a Glastonbury quagmire, the M56-siders came back into the game when the Tattenhall defence failed to clear a speculative ball which became stuck in the gloop and was eventually squirted into the Flaccaboy's net. The flat-footed back-four, who were managing admirably without the giant presence of the absent Lee Everett (formerly on the books of Ipswich Town), were left with mud on their faces.
The game then descended into the sort of dull, attritional, malaise that could easily have caused those watching to turn to other forms of entertainment. But, before the temptation to reach for the loom bands became too much, Frodsham somehow fluked a 25 yard pin-point tracer bullet of a volley into the top corner of the Tattenhall net. With two minutes left, and the Tattenhall former-invincibles throwing everything into securing a deserved leveller, Frodsham rubbed Saltworks salt into the wound by fashioning a channel in the mud just wide enough to allow the ball, now the size of a prize pumpkin, to trickle across the Tattenhall line.
It was game-over in Frodsham and, not long after, Taylor's detractors were questioning whether it was game-over for the Chosen One. Teflon Taylor however chose to concentrate on the positives. He was delighted that Ant Rouse (formerly on the books of the 43rd Salford Cubs) had been given clearance to play from mother-in-law Cecilia, 59, after missing the last match with a nasty cold. He was thrilled with the form of Chris Marshall (formerly on the books of Jossy's Giants) who wasn't directly responsible for either of the two goals conceded during his 10 minute stay on the park and also the return after injury of Nathan Chorley (formerly on the books of Colin and Marios Curly Perm specialist hairdressers) who had used the six-month lay-off wisely to increase his physical presence on the pitch (for which particular thanks go to Alison's Country Kitchen and Kim's Chinese Takeaway).
The Vets season continues with a home league match against Ashton Vets on Saturday 28th November.
Victor French (Football and niche interest minority American Sport Correspondent)