After last week’s disappointing performance, which you can read about here, it was with outstretched arms that the Turbo GTF welcomed back some seasoned performers to its ranks. One could argue that the GTF put out their strongest team – though without the still injured Danny – and it felt electrifying to be back with the complete GTF, all the original members together (Gomersall there in spirit) and missing nobody. This was the real GTF, no denying it.
On the comeback trail were the irrepressible Griffith, ‘Pele on his left-foot, Jason Cundy on his right’ Jack Sturgess andNick Robbins. In the period between this and the last match report (the Dark Ages), there have been plenty of changes at the GTF. Jon ‘The Beast’Butlerhas stripped off his keeper kit and squeezed himself into a rather fetching blue number to lead the line, with Ed ‘Three attempts to reverse bay park’ Newey donning the gloves. It’s a change that suits both players, and rest assured, even when he’s not in goal, there’s plenty of material for the Butler Files.
Perhaps it was for the best that this game was a friendly against a new team to the Powerleague and it was an opportunity for the boys in blue to get used to playing with each other again. From the off Butler displayed his touch – it was like his foot and the ball were magnets, though unfortunately they were of the same polarity and repelled each other with a force rarely seen on a 5-a-side football pitch.
The game quickly settled into a nice rhythm for the GTF, withButlerslowing easing himself into the role of target man and Evans and Eaton being instrumental in the build-up play. There was an increased desire to shoot from range, and on the greasy surface and in the drizzle, the opposition keeper was susceptible to being beaten. Evans repeatedly found space to slot home, but it was Sturgess who, after eight weeks off, was stealing the show. Playing as an inside-out winger and cutting in from the right wing, his driving, angled runs were too much for the opposition defence and his cool finishing with his cultured left foot was responsible for many Turbo goals.
Robbins marked his return to the fray by falling over off the ball and hitting the tamest shot ever seen on the Powerleague Astroturf within a minute of coming on the pitch. But even he looked to be in half-decent form.
The game was physical with out being overly aggressive, thoughButlerfelt aggrieved when he was clattered into the boards. He got his revenge seconds later by doing the same thing to who he thought was the same guy – but obviously his anger had got the better of him, because I think the intended recipient had been subbed off. However, things threatened to boil over near the end of the first half when Robbins was penalised for a push in the back into the boards. The opposition player then turned round and gave Robbins a swift punch in the ribs, but on the referee’s blindside. Robbins was sinbinned for two minutes and, being incredibly English, apologised for being punched.
A man down, the GTF knew they would have to defend hard to stay in the game, despite being a few goals to the good. But the work ethic was there, and with Evans, Eaton and Griffith on the pitch, it barely looked like the team was a man down.
After half-time, and back to full strength, Turbo continued to stretch their lead, the goals flying in from distance. Eaton, clean through, managed to hit it sweet as a nut, but off the bar, andGriffithcontrived to round the keeper, miss the open goal, fall over and yelp in one delightful move.
Unofficial man of the match, given out by the referee, was awarded to Tom Eaton for his lung-busting runs, sharp passing and cool finishing. Unfortunately the ref decided to give this award seconds after Tom had screwed a volley into the next pitch… sideways and backwards.
Butler’s game had improved immensely and was typified by a great defensive effort to sneak in between two players waiting for a cross, move the ball upfield and claim an immediate assist. Robbins crashed home from the halfway line by hitting it straight at the keeper and Ed Newey probably saved about 30 shots, including some stunning work down at the attackers’ feet.
The final score was 14-8, and we can only imagine how much more that would have been if Turbo had been at full strength with Gomersall in its ranks. But, with Danny, the only person missing out, it was fantastic to see the old Turbo GTF spirit back in place and people playing with a smile on their face. Apart from Jon, who is even angrier outfield than he was in goal.
Credit must also go to Ed for ranting at Jon. Apparently this was the catalyst for the big man’s improved performance.
Man of the Match: Jack Sturgess
Dick of the Day: Tom Griffith