Sunday 5 January 1975 (Friendly):

  Hackness 2  

  Box Hill 2  

1 Hooper
8 Weaver         5 Wiffen         13 Pygas         6 Slade         21 Irvine
20 Cranston         12 Toal         2 Bailey
10 Parkin         14 Phillips

(Unused sub - 15 Burns.)

Scorers - Cranston, Toal.

  Having once again a few weeks without a league game, we arranged a friendly against our old pals Hackness. Being without Steve Ward and Graham Armitage, two of our founders, I decided to experiment with a novel formation, five at the back (Box Hill were, in many respects, way ahead of their time!), and even, to universal acclaim, left myself out.

  Although admittedly it was against a Hackness side that was well below full strength, there was something of a revelation about our performance. In particular, the defenders Chris Pygas and Dave Irvine, generally thought of as squad players, were outstanding, and gave me great cause to regret their frequent unavailability, while Andy Wiffen, moved from one position to another like a nomad in recent months, suddenly seemed a tower of strength in the middle of a five-man defence. It wasn't just individuals, though, the whole team seemed to play with a better attitude and far more commitment. Yes, we could do it when we wanted.

  Box Hill were twice in front. Kevin Phillips may not have scored many (OK, he didn't score many), but today he turned provider again, laying on Pete Cranston's opening goal, while, but for a late equaliser, Steve Toal's mazey dribble and crisp finish might have won us the game, and by no means undeservedly at that.

  Some of the players, quite reasonably, pleaded with me to keep the same side for the next league game. Emotions at this time were running particularly high, and a couple of misguided and misinterpreted exchanges of correspondence brought about a totally pointless and, thankfully, quickly resolved row between certain of the club's leading lights on the subject. In the event, the unavailability of Chris Hooper, Chris Pygas and Dave Irvine for the next match meant that all the absentees from this game could be accommodated, although quite why everyone was so keen on playing against the TA is anybody's guess.

Next page, the League game away to TAFC.

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