Fellow Yellows – Debenham Leisure Centre FC

Eastern Counties League, Division 1
Debenham LC FC v Haverhill Borough FC
Saturday, 12th April 2014, 3pm
Entrance £5, Programme 50p
Distance 105 miles, Attendance 42
As the delightful young lady serving replied amiably, “Ask the man in the bar; the one with a beard and a hat.” I doubt she could have understood the true value of her words.

140412 ECFL D1 Debenham LC v Haverhill Borough (59)w

I’d left home hoping The Hornets – this mid-Sussex variety – could finally put to rest the debate over shorts colour at Vicarage Road. A win would’ve seen black top the table; anything else gave red the accolade.
Arriving by car – probably the only way to reach this pretty agricultural area – I’d paid my dues, got my bearings and, headed out for a pre-match coffee. Engagingly as she served, we talked about the club and particularly the badge I seen on a jacket lapel. “Where can I get one?” I enquired.
140412 ECFL D1 Debenham LC v Haverhill Borough (61)wArriving back in the bar, “the bearded one” – with an astonishingly familiar name – recounted wonderful anecdotes of growing up in Leicester; a school friend of (our) Eddie Plumley’s son. Having opened lines of communication which I hope to one day return to, I appreciatively relieved Steve of one of his own badges and, headed out to the greet the emerging players.
On the nearside stood a colour-coded stand whilst, the other three sides were bordered by practice pitches and appropriately colour-coded fields of rape.
Arriving from the corner of the pitch, the teams both had chances to go ahead in the first minute but, soon settled down to an evenly balanced fixture. The away team were pushing for promotion; the Hornets were playing with one eye on the forth-coming First Division Knock-Out Cup Final.
140412 ECFL D1 Debenham LC v Haverhill Borough (83)wWhere the ref was looking was anyone’s guess but, it wasn’t long before he’d completely misread Ryan Weaver’s “tumble” and, awarded the visitors a free kick in a dangerous position. As complaints rang out, both on and off the pitch, I wondered how this pressure would get to the young official but thankfully, by the end of the game most were respectful of him.
140412 ECFL D1 Debenham LC v Haverhill Borough (164)wEven more fortunately, Sam Chivers saved the kick and prevented Haverhill from doubling their lead; he’d had no chance against Ross Elkins’ thunderbolt ten minutes earlier. Taking heart from their stopper, the Hornets picked up the pace and were soon level from an Adam Rickwood half-volley. This in turn drew more out of the visitors with Aaron Forshaw, Jon Carnfield and, Weaver all coming close. The real hero however was Chivers who, time and again saved brilliantly, including a very debatable, last minute Gavin Taylor penalty.
140412 ECFL D1 Debenham LC v Haverhill Borough (133)wProving they were equal to Haverhill – just after the restart – Debenham were also awarded a soft penalty which, they too failed put away. Still, with their tails up – a few minutes later – the “always better playing downhill” Hornets managed to take the lead as Rickwood got his and the yellows’ second.
It could so easily have been three as Ed Cussons struck the bar direct from a corner and, a long range effort was only just tipped over by the unnecessarily verbal Anthony Choat. Frustrated at being behind – despite Debenham being in the ascendancy – Haverhill were soon lunging in, rushing passes and, slicing shots. This would only settle down once substitutions were made.
140412 ECFL D1 Debenham LC v Haverhill Borough (181)wHaving failed to hit the target all half – thanks to some sterling play by long serving Hornet captain Rob Kemp and his team – deep into injury time, Haverhill had one last attempt. As the shot beat Chivers, Tom Fenner (6/5/14 – Sorry Tom. Paul Grainger just informed me it was Ben Green who saw red.) stuck out a hand; a red card was shown, penalty given and, Forshaw tucked it away.
At the final whistle, a handful of children moved their own game on to the main pitch as Debenham grouped to dissect the performance. About me, the equaliser seemed long forgotten; the ever-friendly locals had returned to conversations on life and the forthcoming final. Two hours early, Steve had said “Hope the game meets your expectations”. It had and much more.
Manager Paul Grainger may have admitted after “Conceding a last minute goal for the second Saturday in a row is so frustrating…” however, he clearly omitted that watching a wonderfully family-friendly, yet humble, Hornets club compete ably throughout the match, in a beautiful location – a club with a fan called Steve Sherwood, who went to school with one Gary Plumley – it doesn’t get much better than that.
shorts league
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Initially appearing in the 2013-14 Watford FC matchday programmes, consequently these reports will have a delayed publication on here.
140412 DebenhamLC (1)


This entry was posted in 2013-2014, Eastern Counties League, Fellow Yellows and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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