Saltash Baptist Church (SBC) v Plymouth Christian Centre (PCC)

Sunday 17 October 2021

It was an unseasonably warm October afternoon as the sun danced off the brilliant white of the smart new SBC football shirts. Most players arrived with plenty of time to spare examining the pristine Plymstock playing surface, but those coming straight from the morning service were a little later as Tim Parkman’s service drew on longer than necessary…

There was a real optimism in the air as SBC had a well-drilled unit thanks to the regular turnout of the players at training and each player was proudly sporting the emblem of local children’s charity Jeremiah’s Journey. Captain Scott showed true leadership when the referee failed to arrive, he quickly decided to take charge of the game itself.

With quite the cohort of supporters in tow, and young Beth and Joe livestreaming the game to the SBC Facebook page, this felt like quite an occasion – and Scott’s pre-match team talk was about making a statement. After a quick pre-match prayer from the opposition captain, the game itself started with a certain amount of tension, neither team wanting to concede the first mistake in what was a cautious opening few minutes of cat-and-mouse. Alas, it was PCC who undeservedly took the lead with a wicked deflection off defender Jordi Barton, leaving goalkeeper Tim Parkman helpless The first goal allowed SBC to take the shackles off and create chances of their own with Josh Vickers and Jordi Barton having a couple of long range efforts. It was while pushing for the equaliser that Saltash found themselves 2-0 down as PCC caught them smartly on the break and despite some resolute defending from Crump and Pete at the back found themselves further behind.

It was testament to the defence and midfield that the score was only 3-0 after half an hour, with James Parnell using all of his experience and nous on the left of defence to marshal the opposition winger. SBC pulled one back shortly afterwards. A lofted ball into the area was met with a rasping volley from Josh Vickers which the keeper did well to tip over. The resulting corner was a superb delivery from Noah Crump, and following a scramble, fox in the box Ollie O’Meakin pounced first to divert the ball past the onrushing keeper. As half-time approached it gave SBC the chance to regroup and try a change of formation – Jordi acting as a centre forward with Will partnering with Patrick, Pete and Ollie at the back. The second half started poorly for SBC with a couple of quick-fire goals putting them further behind. Credit to the lads themselves, they never once let their heads drop and forced the issue, with Noah’s pace and guile causing problems. Josh covered a lot of ground as he fought for every ball and Jay Vickers brought a calmness in defensive midfield, keeping the ball ticking along to set up attacks and bringing an all-round handsomeness to the game.

SBC showed they were made of stern stuff as first Jay and then Josh were clattered to the ground in poorly timed challenges that showed SBC were getting under PCC’s skin. Joe and Matt, wingers on either side were tireless runners who never gave up anything as they had to feed on scraps with PCC playing a 5-man defence. Credit to them that they enjoyed more possession in the second half, creating chances that on another day would’ve given SBC a fighting chance. Man-of-the-match Tim was in fine form, producing some spectacular saves and keeping the score respectable. 

With ten minutes remaining, Viking stalwart Aaron Fryer came into shore things up in defence and showed great composure. As the game came to an end, it was just a stretch too far for brave SBC, who went over to greet their travelling fans. Despite the defeat, the optimism remained…………

…………. after all, there will be a next time.