After two cricket matches on Sunday and Monday, the final day saw the traditional end of tour football match. The venue was Southampton Common and as ever the teams were split according to age with the Old Gits taking on the Young Guns which amounted to roughly Over 30s v Under 30s.
The old timers came into the match as warm favourites protecting their unbeaten run which spanned several tours across the length and breadth of England.
The stadium was prepared with “jumpers for goalposts” and the old gits were quickly into their stride. Ex pro Daryl Godbold showed that class is permanent bagging a quick fire brace including a towering header. At the other end Coulson was marshalling the Gits’ defence superbly rendering the Young Guns’ attacks impotent. Chris Elliott put the Gits 3-0 up after more chaos in the Guns’ penalty area but from there the Guns mounted a mini-comeback to trail only 5-4.
Tour coach driver Nigel showed his versatility by keeping goal for the Gits and he pulled off a stunning save flying to his left to preserve the Gits’ lead. Tackles were flying in – Moxon flattening the nocturnally-prolific Olly Phoenix and Neal Clarke proving to be a rugged and sharp-elbowed target man. However, as a succession of balls were pumped into the Gits’ half Mike Phoenix and Steve Clarke dominated the aerial battle. The Chairman was another driving force turning defence into attack while Lee Whiddett shook off his bedraggled breakfast appearance to make many a telling interception.
There was little that could be called creativity from the Guns but as they strove for an equaliser they were ruthlessly picked off on the counter. The Gits front two of Daryl and Jason made hay, the latter proving to be a real predator bagging five goals, each with a different part of his anatomy. Godders swept in to complete his own hat-trick. Marcus made a good one-handed save – unfortunately he was not the keeper and so served a 10 minute sin bin while Moxy stroked the ball past hapless keeper Chef to extend the Gits lead.
Paul Stearman’s energy and pace was keeping the Gits firmly in control and as the final whistle drew close the Guns were humiliated once more. As a benevolent gesture the Gits sat down for the Guns to score a consolation goal. However, Matt Clarke, showing a characteristic moment of shedness, threw the ball straight into touch.
Game, set and match to the Old Gits then. As their years advance, like fine wines they mature and improve leaving the Young Guns to reflect on their worst beating in the fixture’s history. So Southampton is added to the long list of venues proud to have hosted this vintage side. Bids are already coming in from cities keen to see the Gits Xl on tour in 2012, it is to be hoped that the Young Guns can make it more of a contest next time.