On a damp PEC, the Rutherford B team again arrived without a football or keeping gloves between the 15 players, until Coach Jelliffe arrived with the goods. Butler were looking very professional in their approach to the warm up; Rutherford, huddled in a corner trying to keep warm, less so.
With one of the worst kit clashes in the IMS calendar, the game got underway with just one linesman. Rutherford started the better with FREEC candidate Noah Bergman crunching into a few tackles down the left hand side. Alex Lothario Rickenbach was in goal for the first half and looked solid enough, well supported by the CB duo of Dan Coxhill and Matt Higgins. How these two aren’t involved in A matches is a mystery. Rutherford went one up after half an hour when a Catlow cross snuck into the far corner, his second cross-goal in two weeks. George Tipping was bombing on well but, just like his beloved Leeds, the team were chronically missing a goal-getter up top and Rutherford’s lead was a slender one at half time.
The changes were rung at the break; Social Sec wannabe Morgan O’Connell was shoved in between the sticks while his nemesis Toby Rich was sent on up front. Rich’s movement was minimal, but it doesn’t help when ‘playmaker’ James Morgan’s passing completion % never went above 10 throughout the match. Rickenbach, now in midfield with Joe Vousden, combined well before Tipping played in Catlow who squeezed in Rutherford’s second and again wheeled away to celebrate on his own, displaying a failure to acknowledge that this is a team sport.
Butler’s riposte was immediate. A game of pinball ensued on the edge of the Rutherford penalty area before a fearsome low strike found its way through O’Connell to halve the deficit.
There have been several terrible misses in both A and B matches for the Cherries so far this term; a Themistocleous ‘effort’ against William Morris springs to mind – but what was about to unfold would top the lot. Decent build up play down the left flank resulted in Abhiraj Singh finding himself 6 yards out with the ball at his feet. Unselfishly, he squared the ball to Rich’s replacement, striker Tom ‘Loved Up’ Hollins. Hollins found a way to sky his effort way over the bar, and Butler were lucky that the football they provided didn’t end up on Epinal Way. Horrendous. There was no hiding for poor Hollins as his blockmates were in hysterics on the touchline; he was hooked off by Coach Jelliffe shortly after.
Mikey ‘Phil Ivey’ Nicholls replaced Morgan on the right flank and did a decent job down the flank with Sport-Sec-In-Waiting Ben Papuca. Papuca proved that he can, after all, last 70 minutes resisting the temptation to take his clothes off. Chances were drying up for Rutherford as panic began to set in, but MVP Higgins kept things tight at the back, helping the Cherries see the game out.
Final score 2-1, and a second win on the bounce for the B team. Butler continue to languish at the foot of the table, while Rutherford’s B Unit will face winless Elvyn on Saturday – providing enough money is pumped into the PEC floodlight meter this week.
Papuca, Higgins, Coxhill, Bergman
Singh, Vousden, Rickenbach, Tipping, Catlow
(Rich, Hollins, Kasap, Nicholls)