Sunday 1st September 1974 (Friendly):

  Box Hill 3  

  Alpine 3  

1 Hooper
4 Armitage         2 Bailey         13 Pygas         21 Irvine
6 Slade         5 Wiffen         15 Burns
10 Parkin         8 Hodgkinson         14 Phillips

Scorers - Burns, Parkin, Own Goal.

  The Alpine lads had heard about our result against Hackness with great interest. They had also kicked about with us at the Tip - rather more successfully than Hackness it should be said - and we had even been back to their base, the Barrowcliffe Hotel, once to arrange this game (although this had led to somewhat embarrassing enquiries from the bar staff as to age of some of our youthful looking squad), and so we came to play them in this, our first ever "home" fixture at Olivers Mount.

  We were rather more nervous about this one, all the more so when we heard them talking among themselves about Chris Hooper: "Look, there's that goalie we were telling you about" - that kind of thing. However, we had rather a stronger side out ourselves, and initially gave as good as we got in a particularly hard fought contest. Even when we gave away a couple of stupid goals, the threatened collapse did not materialise.

  Just before half-time, the game turned quite dramatically. Norman Parkin broke away strongly, and his right-wing cross evaded the Alpine defence, and so it fell to me to tap in Box Hill's first ever goal. After the break, Les Bailey passed to Norman, who turned and crashed in an equaliser from thirty yards. Then, almost unbelievably, a long through ball was chased by Steve Slade and Kevin Phillips, and a jittery Alpine defender put it into his own net. The reaction of the Alpine lads was a joy to behold: Ray Welford went round screaming at his players, "Christ, 3-2 to Box Hill!" Unfortunately, the euphoria could not last, and the hitherto impeccable Chris Hooper was beaten at the death by what was clearly a well-planned lob, for a not undeserved equaliser.

  After the match, Ray took great pleasure in informing us that most of his team had played another friendly in the morning, not that he wanted to take any of the shine off our result or anything...

  Still, a draw was a lot better than what had gone before. Maybe we could yet turn out to be a force to be reckoned with?

Next page, the first friendly against Throxenby.

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