For the second week running, Anns harvested some votes for his calm distribution and sturdy defensive work.
Saturday evening. A 4.30pm pushback delayed by previous games. Every other team in the club tucked up at home in front of the fire, feet up, a sherry on the go. The sun fading. The rain having set in. It was a glorious time to be alive and to be in the M2s.
Cambridge Nomads had made the trip across town to Long Road for the late push-back. Casting a glance across to their arrival, we greeted several familiar faces and then dived into the changing rooms to hide from the elements.
Once coaxed back outside, our warm-up climaxed too soon, as per usual, which at least gave us time to fully appreciate the Nomads’ huddle and shout of their own name, like we used to do before binning it off for being a bit weird.
We had fielded a particularly esoteric starting XI, with five centre backs supporting three centre forwards, a left winger and Asbo Dom. What followed was not necessarily fluid.
Our visitors certainly held the territorial advantage, and it was somewhat against the run of play when Ash Artaman flicked us into the lead from a short corner. Tom Anns, who was stick-stopping and calling the short corners, grinned across at me, clearly claiming sole credit for the goal. It is a curious thing, the Tom Anns grin. There is a definite cheekiness, combined with a more general sense of two hairy caterpillars having an argument inside a pillow.
The second period began with more Nomads pressure, and it wasn’t a surprise when they slotted home an equaliser, albeit from an attack that we might have liked to defend better.
Returning to the side, Jason Mann was called into action a couple more times, sliding out of his goal well to nip out danger. Jimmy Wood was also in the thick of things, bravely running down a couple of corners and taking a meaty blow to the foot for his troubles.
Up front, Jack Chalk was nurdling around for space and furtively prodding us up the pitch, bringing to mind a slightly drunk scarecrow, scuffling across fields in the fading darkness, grabbing bunches of slightly stale straw to stuff up his sleeves.
Jack was involved in our second goal, manoeuvring Tom Steed up the field so that he could glide the ball past a helpless keeper.
We would have loved to have hung on, but with just a few minutes to play, Nomads thumped home a short corner goal of their own.
In truth, a point each was probably about right from a competitive game in which both teams gave plenty but never looked that likely to bang in several goals from open play.
Three games into the 2018/19 season and we remain unbeaten, holding more points and a higher league position than this time last season. Keep the faith.