Willand vs Mousehole
When I attended university, sometime in the early 1990s, the band James was at the seeming height of their fame.
The band actually formed in 1982, part of the Madchester scene that also spawned the Inspiral Carpets, the Mock Turtles, and the Farm, but only made their breakthrough in 1991 with the re-release of their single ‘Sit Down’, slowly followed by ‘Laid’ and ‘She’s a Star’ over the next six years.
The band has continued to release albums (10) and singles (27) up until last year, but the foundation of their success will always be the sing-along anthem that is ‘Sit Down’.
I’ll sing myself to sleep
A song from the darkest hour
The meaning of the song is pretty clear but is best summed up by James guitarist Dave Simpson, who explained in 2014 that ‘Sit Down is one of those songs that encourages people to put their arms around strangers.’
The 1990s interpretation, though, at least in the vested main hall of Crewe and Alsager College, was a little more literal: We sat down.
It was nothing new, of course, simply a rehash of earlier generations’ interpretations of ‘The Boat Song’ and ‘Oops Upside the Head’, but at the time we would have been convinced that we were at the cutting edge of popular culture.
Once sat down, we inevitably waved our arms from side to side, swaying in time with the melodies as Tim Booth told us again and again that whatever we were doing should be ‘in love, in fear, in hate, in tears’, and fueled by nothing more than the absolute belief that we were indestructible, and lager that cost a single English sterling, that’s exactly what we did.
One day, out of the blue, my housemate (let’s call him Paul) turned to me and asked if I thought it was weird that we sang a song celebrating a dictator. Seeing the incredulous look on my face, he went on to explain that he thought the lyrics were actually ‘Oh Saddam’ and that the sitting and arm waving were a Middle Eaten prayer that we were all, somehow, emulating. It would be fair to say that we never quite let him forget that particular faux pas.
Which brings us to today’s opponent, Mousehole.
The Cornish team travelled with an impressive number of fans to Silver Street, and I took the chance to talk to a couple of them before the game, asking how they felt about what must be the constant mispronunciation of their name. They smiled cordially at me, and I was surprised to note that they took it in good spirits. ‘Mouse hole’, ‘Mowzel’, ‘Mow Zoul’, it didn’t matter to them; they seemingly found it more amusing than annoying.
But don’t ask them about teams that complain about the long trip to the end of Cornwall once a season, a trip that they, of course, complete in reverse for every away game. They may get a little huffy about that!
Willand began the game with a team that had a familiar look to it, with the same starting eleven and bench that were on duty for the last league game against Westbury, while the visitors sported an away kit that matched Willand’s own reverse strip in terms of green that I’d choose not to wear.
The first chance of the game fell to Willand in the 8th minute, following good work from Camilo on the right. His cross found the feet of Moyes, whose shot was well saved by Chenoweth in the Mousehole goal.
Camilo was at the heart of the next Willand chance as he forced another good save from the Mousehole stopper, this time from a free kick minutes later.
Perhaps spurred by talk of another Brazilian in Mid Devon, Camilo finally gave Willand the lead in the 19th minute, showing some excellent footwork in the box before placing his shot from the corner of the penalty area past Chenoweth and into the back of the net.
What followed for the rest of the half was a series of missed opportunities. Mousehole continued to play some excellent football from defence, catching Willand on the break and earning a number of free kicks in dangerous areas without ever troubling the home goal.
Ford missed a header from in front of the posts before Calver hit what I assume was a shot high and wide for the visitors, and Burton was finally called into action as he tipped a fierce shot over the bar as the half concluded.
Half Time – Willand 1 – Mousehole 0
Willand extended their lead 9 minutes into the second half when a corner from Camilo swung into the box, where it was met uncompromisingly by Howe, who towered over his marker, making no mistake with his powerful header.
Despite the attractive nature of their football, Mousehole nearly pulled a goal back with a long ball that evaded the Willand defence, the Mousehole forward putting his shot over both the keeper and the bar to the relief of the Whites faithful.
As the away team pushed on, things began to get a little feisty, culminating in a melee between a number of players, some of whom had to run quite a distance to join in, before the brandishing of several yellow cards seemed to calm things.
Mousehall continued to play both from the back and into trouble on occasion, with the Willand forward line seemingly enjoying the hustle and hassle that their opponent’s style of play afforded them.
As the sixth of six additional minutes ticked over, the visitors pulled a goal back with a quick corner routine, catching the Willand defence napping and Symons steering the ball past Burton.
That said, the referee still somehow found time for Willand to win two corners and force a decent chance before the referee finally blew the whistle.
There will be a lot for David Steele to take away from the game, most notably 3 points against an excellent side, but he’ll also be pleased with another solid display from his defence and be delighted to see Howe’s name back on the score sheet.
Full Time – Willand 2 – Mousehole 1
Todays man of the match was Ross Edward’s selected by Match sponsors S&G Transport thank you for you support
We would also the to thank ball sponsors The Cully Posties