Salisbury Legends 6 Pompey Legends 4
Roger Emms' Charity Match
Sunday, 7 May 2017
By Alec Hayter
A mixture of current players and past favourites - or should I say “past it” favourites (sorry, a joke, and maybe a bit harsh!) - turned out to provide an entertaining day to raise funds for the Prospect Hospice, and they gave a truly legendary display. Salisbury crowds are used to goals and they were not disappointed with the net being tested on no less than ten occasions in this match. The array of talent on show was truly mind-boggling, and I have to confess that really only the Salisbury Legends were known to me although, at one stage, the Pompey Legends had more Leighs on the pitch than would find lees in a brewery after fermentation! To explain, the three Leighs were Ashton, who is still on Salisbury’s books, his dad Steve, and his brother whose first name escaped the attention of the non-existent team sheet. In addition, Pompey Legends included the famous, or maybe infamous, pie-man, Wayne Shaw who seemed to make a meal of conceding six goals. It seems he can make a meal of anything! If he sees this it's a good job for me that he's got a wonderful sense of humour!
He is currently not involved in football following his press exposure – good experienced goal-keeping coach anyone?
This game was certainly not like the new craze "Walking Football", but towards the end of a full 90 minutes it almost became so. Before that however it was a very competitive match, and the action started with a bang when Matt Tubbs opened the scoring with the simplest of finishes after only three minutes. That lead was doubled four minutes later when Paul Sales, still showing his poacher's instinct, scored from a Chris Ferrett cross.
The home side were reined in on 13 minutes however when the young legs of Ashton Leigh got him in the right position at the right time to score from close range, but the jubilation was short lived as Tubbs again converted another simple one-on-one chance to make it 3-1 with only 20 minutes gone. After that there seemed to be a lull in proceedings - possibly so that the players could get their collective breath back. That lull, possibly combined with a couple of substitutions, might well have supplied the extra energy to the Salisbury Legends but unfortunately didn't as Marc Bird bagged a second for the visitors on 43 minutes, strangely enough shortly after Matt Holmes came on!
It was 3-1 the break but these games are never like league games, as you never really quite know what is going to happen next. I'm sure that sometimes goals are conceded out of sympathy to put the outcome of the game in doubt, but often also scored with pure, mature skill, but whatever was the case, on 50 minutes Tubbs made it 4-2 with a hat-trick goal to once more put a little distance between the sides. A little distance may be, but for only a very little time, as 6 minutes later a Darren Hines rocket shot hit the back of the net to make it 4-3. Almost everyone from both sides applauded, with maybe one exception, Kevin Sawyer, a proud man.
On 66 minutes Hines grabbed his second and Pompey Legends' fourth to try and tighten things up once more, but then step forward Ian Savage. Although I did not immediately recognise Ian on arrival at the RayMac I certainly recognised him on the pitch and, as it always was, he was today Savage by name, and savage by nature, showing by words and actions from midfield an intensity, that perhaps didn’t fully rub off on others! It didn't take him long to get the bit between his teeth, and not long after Hines' second goal he restored the Salisbury Legends' lead with a left foot finish.
It just seemed as though it had to be that a sixth goal would arrive, and it was again Savage who netted with a low right foot shot past Kevin Sawyer to complete the scoring. Ten goals therefore in all shapes and sizes (and I’m not talking about players, although I could be, I suppose) to entertain the crowd who surely will have been pleased with what they had seen.
Some in the crowd might well have compared Paul Sales and Matt Tubbs playing in tandem to the present incumbents Justin Bennett and Tommy Wright, both of which combinations are and were "to die for" in their respective eras. We also had the pleasure of seeing Andy Cook, who looks no different at all from when he played here, and hardly any age effect seemed to have affected Robbie Harbut, Scott Griffin, Darren Lush, Simon Browne, and Aaron Cook who, along with Andy Cook, I believe played the whole 90 minutes. A certain amount of guesswork is needed to make that statement though because substitutions happen rather rapidly and very frequently in these types of game! I won't even attempt to tell you who replaced who and when, because I don’t really know!
The current Portsmouth FC’s success in gaining promotion meant unfortunately that some of the household names in their Legends side were engaged elsewhere and again it is difficult to even list out their side, but Stuart Doling, Darren Watts, Bill Cook, Rod Clark, and Shay Newman all appeared for varying amounts of time, along with the Leigh family.
I must not let this account pass without mentioning fans' favourite Roger Emms, who seemed to glide through the game with the greatest of ease (not too quickly, but, it seems, always in the right place!) For all of the veteran players it must been a test of strength and will to get their legs working but of course, Roger has another stern test yet to come when he takes on the task of climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, once more for Charity.
We know he will succeed and I hope that we hear from him when he's done so, and that he will also give us an account of what it's like to reach those heights (sic!). He is on a mission, and I'm sure we all wish him success, and know that he'll get to the top with the type of peak (!) performance he always produced for Salisbury City Football Club.
Roger, we wait to hear from you!
Everyone on the Salisbury side knew that they had to produce the goods today because in charge were Geoff Butler and Neville Beale, and when you report back it’ll be your chance Roger, to give your assessment of their performance as well!
And before I forget, it was a very good day all round for the Salisbury teams on show, as in the first match, which was almost finished before I could make it to the Mac, Salisbury Supporters demolished Winchester Gate FC 4-0, with a hat trick from Man of the Match Max Harris, and one goal from Nick Edwards. Thus there were no less than 14 goals to savour on the day!
Perhaps after reading the above, about the Legends, players of both Supporters’ and Winchester teams will be glad I was late!
Officials and captains...
Tubbs in on goal...
... Tubbs scores, surprise surprise!
Sales gets the second
Little and large - no contest
Kevin Sawyer launches a goal kick
Referee Conor Malone laughs off the Pieman's threat
Marc Bird scores for Pompey Legends
A contented Paul Sales leaves the action
Hat-trick man Matt Tubbs
Simon Browne doing a Swan Lake
Steves (Leigh and Richardson) opponents, but best of friends