It was a weary looking Rovers side that took to the field after a gruelling flight from Rourkes Park, South Africa. However, the hailstones soon perked them up and began a game full of incident for the game which strangely was once a local derby.
Rovers Pablo Junior was the first to steer the ball home on 11 minutes after breaking the Hornet’s offside trap, only to see the goal disallowed for offside. Replays showed this decision was spot on from the third official, although Junior can consider himself lucky not to be booked following the ensuing argument – his Latin temperament boiling over at referee Hans Gruber.
Just before the half hour mark and the Hornets get a free kick which Calvin Staunton took. Totally miskicking the ball, he again suffered the misfortune of his bionic leg slipping it’s attachments, meaning the ball was merely tapped to Ronnie McIndoe forcing a wonderful leg save from Rovers keeper Barry Gilmore.
But the goal of the day came from Al Tate, whose curling free kick into the top left corner was Worthy of anything Beckham could have produced. Stand in keeper Daley Fisher could only stand and watch as he was beaten by the super strike.
Straight from the kickoff though, Highcroft equalised when Leon Gregory saw poor Barry Gilmore taking the opportunity to get a quick drink from his water bottle and fired a scorching drive from 35 yards. A bit like Mark Wilson’s when Ulverley played Langley primary in 1976 – one that stays a long time in the memory.
Soon after the restart and Pablo Junior was again shouting his mouth off after being judged offside putting Edgar Felix through to score. This time however, he had a point – it was certainly close, with the referee choosing to go with the crowd, who were particularly vocal today.
Gerry MacDonald was the first to have a go on goal with a cheeky back heel which bought out a fine reflex save from Gilmore. But it was left to Joan Valcarce to seal the game in the Hornets favour with ten minutes remaining – today wearing tight hot-pants and figure hugging Lycra shirt; latching onto Norman Huntington’s firmly struck cross to the near post.
Regular keeper Roger Klinjhout will have trouble getting his place back with Fisher playing as he is, denying the superb Al Tate with two minutes to go to keep the points staying at the Highcroft Arena.