Betfred Sport

Diary of a Sunday League club - Tommy shows 'em how it's done

Total Football's adopted Sunday League side Barely Athletic went on the rampage as Rebellion went flat. This was a match all about the irresistible force that is Tommy Trenchard, as the chillaxed striker stole the show with a hatful of goals.

Barely Athletic 5 - 1 Rebellion FC

It was to be our second consecutive cup game (the cup is played in a Champions League style group format) and our first home game.

Inexplicably, skipper Fred Saugman had chosen Hurlingham Park, near Putney Bridge, as the venue on a day when both Fulham and QPR were at home and the District Line was closed.

I cannot speak for the rest of the team, but Ben Payne and I ran frantically from the Fulham Road, stopping only to ask directions of a well-meaning but infuriatingly indecisive local.

We arrived at one minute to 2pm to find the opposition ready to kick-off but just seven other members of Barely present. Fergus Pack, debutant Alex Snow, 'keeper Dave Watkins and crispy ringer David Wright, fresh from the St Paul's protest, were all missing.

We did at least have the talented ringer 'Geordie', while James Goodall, with many advanced apologies was forced into goal. With nine men, we got the match underway.

Crumpled heap

After hardly a minute, two things happened simultaneously. Watkins arrived to take up his position between the sticks and Geordie fell in a crumpled heap, his knee no longer able to support him. He crawled off, sadly unable to continue.

We continued with nine for five more minutes before Snow (officially on as a sub for Geordie) and Pack arrived in quick succession to take up their positions at RB and CF consecutively.

With a full compliment, Barely soon began to purr. Freddie Meakin, John Menzies, Saugman and Payne were winning every ball in the centre and we quickly established total dominance.

Dan Kilpatrick's cross was met with a bullet header by Trenchard, only for Rebellion's 'keeper to make a fine save. From the resulting corner Saugman headed just over.

Moments later, Kilpatrick and Trenchard linked up again, the latter reaching his winger's speculative long ball first and slotting home cooly for 1-0.


Trenchard was clearly in the mood and it wasn't long before it was two. A poor goal kick was met first time by Pack, who expertly cushioned the ball through to his strike partner. TT made no mistake, finishing in the corner from 18 yards.

Rebellion were growing frustrated and increasing resorted to the long ball but Watkins' positioning was impeccable as ever.

An away player did almost make the scoresheet - at the wrong end - but Rebellion's left-back saw his skewed clearance well caught by his 'keeper, as it headed for the top corner.

Strangely, it has to be said, the ref deemed it a back pass and from the resulting indirect free-kick, Payne saw his shot cleared off the line.

We emerged for the second half with renewed purpose and Trenchard was immediately in the thick of things again. Max Harrison crossed and Trenchard looked to have reached the ball first, only to be bundled over by the defender. Penalty. The number 9 stroked home with ease to  claim the match ball and make it three.

Well-earned breaks

Sensing blood, we introduced hippie-ringer Wright, who had turned up at half time fuming at having only found out the location by asking in pubs, and George Williams. Pack, who's lungs had collapsed, and Goodall took well-earned breaks.

Trenchard completed his personal rout, tucking in a diagonal ball as the 'keeper rushed out, before Rebellion pulled one back with a fine lob over Watkins from 18 yards.

As the game descended (Sunday League so often does) into a sequence of fouls and dodgy first touches, there was still time for two sublime moments amongst all the ridiculousness.

First, Trenchard chested down with his back to goal and sent a stunning bicycle kick towards the far corner, only to see Rebellion's brave 'keeper palm it onto the bar. It would have truly put the shine on the cherry of his considerable cake.

But then, in perfect Ronaldinho style, Saugman's angled free-kick from 30 yards sailed into the top corner for 5-1. Like the bucktoothed Brazilian, he is refusing to disclose whether or not it was intentional.

The game belonged to Trenchard, who pointed out afterwards that Barely have now scored 2, 3, 4 and 5 in theor first four games of the season.

By Dan Kilpatrick

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