This article was originally posted on the England fans FA site but thought we’d share it with you here…
Thursday, 17 Nov 2011
On a day packed with drama, tension and emotion, englandfans FC came out on top in a nine goal thriller against their Spanish counterparts in a see-saw of a game, played in perfect conditions, at Wealdstone FC’s St George’s Stadium.
All the pre-match publicity surrounding the wearing of poppies on the Home Nation’s team shirts had little effect on this England team as all the players were resplendent in the white home shirt of the Three Lions, complete with a poppy proudly emblazoned in the middle of the shirt. After entering the arena to the FIFA anthem, led by mascot Darren Snarski, an impeccably observed minute’s silence was held in memory of Robin Chatterjee and for fallen military personnel from past and present conflicts.
A Hollywood script writer could not have penned a more dramatic and emotional encounter than the one that was in store. The game had everything, including two hat-tricks, six first half goals, two yellow cards and one player carried off the park. A very emotional and fitting hat-trick scored by Robin’s son Roy deservedly grabbed the headlines though as englandfans secured bragging rights with a breathtaking victory.
Playing in a 4-4-2 formation, englandfans took the game to Spainfans and their early superiority was rewarded with a well-taken goal from Roy Chatterjee who latched on to a cross from the left by captain Mark Tighe.
Spainfans gradually got back into the game with their skipper, Guillermo Rubio, pulling all the strings in the middle of the park. This player was to have a say in all three goals his team scored in the first period. However, the englandfans two in the middle of the park, Stan Stanfield and Ian Allsop, certainly made their presence felt with a couple of crunching tackles which caused Ukrainian referee, Ihor Lemishka, to have words with the pair of them. The pace of Spainfans striker Vidal Buika was proving problematic for the home defence and two goals in as many minutes, from Buika, turned the game on its head.
Prompted by debutant, the tireless Rob Russell, englandfans soon hit back when a very alert Tighe snapped up a rebound after the visiting ‘keeper could only parry a snap shot from Chatterjee.
Two-all and the clock still hadn’t reached the half-hour mark, and there was still plenty of action before the first-half drama was far from over as Spainfans, prompted by the ever-dangerous Rubio, broke away and went back into the lead. The goal was mired in controversy and bad luck as Buika looked suspiciously offside when he received the ball and although englandfans ‘keeper Russell Rainbow was quick off his line and down at the strikers feet to block the initial shot, the ball bounced up and hit the retreating Matt Davies and flew into the back of the net.
With a large squad at their disposal, The Three Lions made changes as Ian Allsop was replaced by Alan Murray and centre back David Thompson was replaced by Greg Howell, allowing both subs to make their englandfans debut. The fresh legs gave the side a lift, and as the game neared half-time, Roy Chatterjee drew englandfans level for a second time with a left-foot screamer, from outside the box, which beat the Spanish ‘keeper all ends up. Having picked the ball up inside the Spanish half, Chatterjee ran at his opponent, dropped his left shoulder and scored the goal of the game. An end-to-end first-half ended when the ref blew for half-time shortly afterwards and englandfans went into the dressing rooms the happier of the two sides.
Wholesale changes at the break saw debuts for Paul McKay, Richard Serowka, Shane Jackson, Craig North and Dan Stevens, and they were joined by Michael Harte, who replaced Lewis Robson, who once again belied his years to put in another mature performance for his country.
The second period began in much the same fashion as the end of the first with the home side in the ascendancy. Second half skipper, Rob Russell, who was now wearing the captain’s armband, was beginning to dictate the game from his central role, and it was only a matter of time before his team took the lead.
Playing more of a patient passing game this half, the ball was played to the right wing to the feet of Harte. Whether what followed was deliberately done or whether it was a mis-hit cross was the subject of much debate afterwards, but from his wide position, Harte floated a cross-cum-shot, which totally deceived the Spanish ‘keeper and sailed right over his head into the far corner.
The Spanish team rallied and were still playing a pressing game, however the English defence mostly stood firm and cleared the majority of attacks with ease before the englandfans struck again to stretch their lead in a moment few there will ever forget.
The scorer was none other than Roy Chatterjee, who completed his hat-trick with a cool finish inside the box to make it 5-3, leading to emotional scenes with his team mates, on the park and in the dugout.
Further substitutions saw Paul Johnson, Dan Bell, Adam McDaid, Liam Hegarty and Nathan Wooley enter the fray as the game reached its final stages, and they were forced along with their team-mates to withstand some heavy pressure from the visitors who deserapetely were trying to get back into the game.
Despite some valiant defending, the English backline was eventually breached as Spainfans scored a fourth to set up a nervy finish. They almost grabbed an equaliser too as the ever-dangerous Buika saw his shot come back off the post before being scrambled away.
With a few minutes remaining, Roy Chatterjee left the field to a well-deserved standing ovation and was replaced by debutant striker, Michael Lister.
Soon after the final whistle blew and the emotional scenes that followed will live long in the memory, as will the game itself. There couldn’t have been a more fitting tribute for Roy to pay his father Robin than to give this man-of-the-match winning performance and three quality goals.
Afterwards, in the boardroom, as the trophy was presented to victorious captain Mark Tighe, the englandfans FC group paid tribute to Robin Chatterjee and bade a fond farewell to a true gentleman, friend of englandfans FC and a fanatical Wolves and England supporter. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house.
The 25 man squad all played and gave everything they had together to ensure that Roy took home the Robin Chatterjee Memorial Trophy to his family. The squad even gave him a guard of honour as he left the pitch.
The togetherness of this squad was there for all to see and there is some real young talent beginning to emerge.
E nglandfans: Russell Rainbow; Samuel Shethran (Paul McKay/Paul Johnson), David Thompson (Greg Howell), Matt Davies (Richard Serowka), Dave Wooley (Shane Jackson/Dan Bell); Rob Russell, Ian Allsop (Alan Murray/Liam Hegarty), Stan Stanfield (Craig North/Adam McDaid), Mark Tighe (c) (Dan Stevens/Nathan Wooley); Lewis Robson (Michael Harte), Roy Chatterjee (Michael Lister).
Manager: Garford Beck.
Assistant Manager: Brian Robson.
Team Administrator: Andy Snarski.
Englandfans Mascot: Darren Snarski.
Englandfans Photographer: Jez Tighe.
Chris Cox is co founder and chairman of the DDCWWFCSC.
All posts by Chris Cox