Heroic Magnums (almost) pull off Christmas miracle against old foe Reading

Magnums v Reading 16/12/23

report by Clifford Peck

A directive from the league meant that this match , [postponed on the 2nd of December] had to be played prior to the restart of the season on 13th January 24 .

Reading turned up with 14 players ( one arriving during the first half) , full of individuals that currently / have represented their respective countries at vets / super vets / masters age groups ( their squads average age was around 65 ).

Magnums on the other hand had 12 available from the Men’s 8’s and Magnum squads combined . Yours truly came down with man flu so we were down to the bare 11 with an average age of 70.

From the off Reading attacked our ‘D’ relentlessly camped in the Magnums half for most of the first half . Some heroic defending from Nick , Martin , Tim and Jonny plus anyone else to hand ,coupled with astute goalkeeping from Dickie the scoreline after 25 minutes stayed at 0 – 0 .

A quick ball out from the left of our defence found RBL ( making his Magnums league debut ) who proceeded to make inroads through the Reading midfield / defence , deep into their 23 . He slipped the ball across the ‘D ‘ to an on running Colin Warne who had the prescience of mind to round ,a static ( current England O60 ‘s) goalkeeper and calmly stroke the ball into the right hand corner of the net , 1 – 0 Magnums .

Normal service was resumed as Reading kept up the pressure , a wild hit from their forward resulted in Martin being hit on the head by the ball in our ‘D’ . The Umpires quite rightly paused play to check on Martins well being , ultimately deciding that , where there is no sense there’s no feeling ( only joking , Martin said he was good to continue , asking which of the two balls should he hit from the resulting 16 ).

Following the pause in play concentration within our defence suffered when a series of short passes around our ‘D’ resulted in a close range slip shot/ deflection between our left post and Dickie produced an equaliser.

1 – 1 at half time.

Half time provided respite for our players to regroup , with a rousing confidence building briefing from our on field Captain Tim ( and others) , plus a slight tweaking of our tactics prior to retaking the field of play to commence the second half.

Magnums were a different animal this half , taking the game to Reading more and more , pushing them back on multiple occasions . Chances from both sides were thwarted by some resolute defending throughout the half , Reading were now getting twitchy knowing that there were truly in a fight for the points , the final result could go either way.

Late into the match a Reading shot was deflected up into Dickie’s chest pad ,then on to his glove where he proceeded to ‘juggle’ the ball in the air finally ending in a long corner which was cleared by our defence .

Reading kept up the pressure , following a series of short corners they were able to breach our valiant rear guard ,slipping the ball between Dickie’s outstretched right leg and the right hand post , 1 – 2 Reading.

Magnums continued to penetrate Reading’s 23 in search of an equaliser , with around 2 minutes to play a delightful cross field ball found RBl but he was unable to get enough of a touch to turn it into the net between the keeper and the post , the ball slipping a fraction past for a 16 .

The final whistle came shortly after , with Reading’s 14 man squad relieved to have hung on , thankful that they had escaped with the three points. Whilst the eleven Magnum players, to a man came off the pitch knowing that they had given 110% against a very strong opposition , feeling that they deserved at least a point from the encounter.

MOM … the entire squad.

Cliff Peck