Injury Prone United Drop Like Ninepins

Steve Brown

Who plays football at 9am on a chilly windswept Sunday morning? The brave Doncaster United Legends, that’s who – a rugged, tough no-nonsense full of nonsense team prepared to fight through the worst of conditions due to their love of the beautiful game. Well, almost true as it was a struggle to field 11 men from the extensive Doncaster Legends player pool and a couple of ring-in’s were required to lend a hand.

So the team lined up as McCulloch, Machin, Snowball, McLoughlin, Whan, Kearney, Attwood, Shaw, Muscatello, Jenkins (M), Brown. Bench initially Saffioti and Singh with the late arriving Gough (faulty GPS) joining them. Boyte, recovering from flu elected to run the line rather than kit up thinking that 3 on the bench would be more than enough.

A positive start saw United combining well down the left with Muscatello and Brown winning a succession of throw ins and Snowball getting good distance on them and putting the Ashburton defence under some early pressure.

Jenkins, who had surpassed his game time from the previous match against Ashburton from 40 seconds to 4 minutes, then collapsed in a heap in the middle of the pitch with some back spasms to become the first victim of the day and he was replaced by Singh.

Next to drop was Kearney who was felled and landed awkwardly on his shoulder but as stoic as ever he did not utter one word of complaint and wouldn’t hear of the ref penalising his assailant. He left the field to be replaced by Gough.

In between all the injuries there was a bit of football being played but unfortunately it was by Ashburton and they stole the lead with an outrageous cross from the right which caught the wind drifting it over McCulloch’s outstretched arms and McLoughlin’s desperate lunge could not prevent it from hitting the net.

United tried to get back into the game with Machin doing some forward raiding down the right hand touchline and Singh hit a sweet shot which rattled the side netting and Muscatello blazed over after Brown had forced a hurried clearance from the keeper.

Next on the injured list was Whan, copping one in the unmentionables which had him draped over the side railings gasping for air and he was replaced by Saffioti for the last few minutes of the half.

Shaw, the soft northern git, who publicly announced that he’d rather have a Sunday morning long-lie was also in the thick of the action, sporting a bloodied knee after a trip on the tarmac like surface in the middle of the pitch. But the trooper that he is, at half time he got patched up, washed the blood off, smeared himself with Vaseline (he certainly seems no stranger to that substance) and hauled himself back onto the pitch for the second half.

With the casualty list growing, Boyte, who got out of his sick bed to run the line in the first half then decided it would be warmer to run around in a soccer shirts and shorts, so he threw caution to the wind and kitted up for the second half which started with United eager to get back into the game and causing a bit of mayhem up front resulting in Brown heading a perfect Gough cross just past the post with the keeper stranded. However, it wasn’t long before the breakthrough came when Singh closed down the keeper and his lay off to the full back was intercepted by Gough who waltzed in on goal and coolly slotted it past the keeper to level the scores.

The game was there for the taking but Ashburton are a steely team and they started to press forward again and a cross from their left into the box was watched by three defenders (no names, no pack-drill) and an Ashburton player just glanced a header into the net to restore their lead.

Another injury occurred when Attwood found his calf giving up on him midway through the second half and he was replaced by Boyte. Muscatello also exited the game at the same time and Whan came back on.

Shaw was penalised for handball on the edge of the box and the free kick on goal was punched clear by McCulloch but it fell to an Ashburton striker whose firmly hit, but off target shot, was deflected into the goal via the back post by Snowball to make it 3-1.

United were determined not to let this game slip away and continued attacking with vigour and should have reduced the deficit when McLoughlin’s precision pass split the Ashburton defence and Brown honed in on the goal but his little dink over the outstretched keeper just went the wrong side of the post.

And so, the game ended with yet another loss that could easily have seen the scoreline reversed had United taken their chances, but a good solid team effort nonetheless.

MMM Muppet Moment –  Guest player, Frank Muscatello, who elected to leave the game early to eat the pizza that had been delivered for his breakfast.
MMM Memorable Moment –  Steve Gough’s goal & (lack of) emotional response and celebration
BMW BoP  The wounded warrior, Glenn Shaw, who commanded the midfield like a genital general


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