Yesterday I had the privilege of managing the Derby County Community Trust Adult Cerebral Palsy Team in their first two national league fixtures of the season, held at the David Ross Sports Village, part of Nottingham University.
The weather could be best described as bracing as the players ‘warmed up’ for the first match against Chelsea Blue. Despite wearing three t shirts under my coat I was still chilled to the bone.
Once the action got under way I got to witness an excellent performance from the lads as they ran out 5-1 winners. Debutant Dan Hardy scored a fantastic opening goal from a long way out before Andy Riddle helped himself to four of his own as Derby dominated for long periods. Even so our goalkeeper, Freddie Lamb had to be at his very best to prevent the opposition getting back into the game.
Following a welcome hour-long break when we were able to keep warm from the elements in the dressing room, we played our second game against Chelsea White who were actually wearing a vibrant orange kit!
Again, the team were a credit to the shirt and created numerous chances in the first half but somehow, we only lead 1-0 after another fabulous strike from Dan.
The second half saw more of the same and Harry Shaw’s sweet shot nestled in the net before Andy made it 3 with his fifth goal of the afternoon. With seconds left Chelsea were awarded a dubious penalty from which they scored but as the referee blew the final whistle, nothing could stop the boys from celebrating what had been a most enjoyable afternoon of football.
Driving home I reflected on my managerial debut, which really couldn’t have gone much better. However, having been involved in football for as long as I have I know that the game is nothing if not unpredictable and that next time I may not be sporting such a wide smile.
Cerebral Palsy Football is a 7 a side form of the beautiful game with no offsides. It is played on a smaller pitch with smaller goals. From a throw in the ball can be launch overhead or the player may roll the ball into play.