Tuesday, 17 March 2020

Another blog

Hot on the heels of the most recent blog comes… another one!

With the 8/9-0 shellacking meted out last week still fresh in everyone’s minds – an example of the perils of last minute line-up meddling if ever there was one – I was keen to ensure that we had a much closer game this Friday and lo and behold, that’s what happened. Before we move on from the aforementioned thrashing, a word for both Steve and Simon Ink, who were well in amongst the goals (a maiden hat-trick for Simon Ink) and in Steve’s case well in amongst pretty much everyone else, too. 

With the combative Scotsman taking a week’s sojourn this week’s game featured no fewer than twenty people, with all three Kavanagh men playing. (Stan drew the short straw and played on the same side as his Dad. Unfortunately, he left his ear plugs at home.)

Here are your teams - 

Yellows: me, Nick (beard), Danny, Ed, Patrick, Johannes, Morgan, Kanat, Alan and Tom

Blues: Mark (welcome back!), Mick, Stan, Will, Joe, Theo, Nick (smooth face), Yev, Callum and Simon

What followed was a marvellous exhibition of how football can be played despite there being plenty of people on the pitch, with the superior touch and technique of Patrick, Morgan and JoJo on one side and Will, Stan and Nick on the other resulting in a nine goal thriller.

I’ll have a go at recalling all nine goals, but first some general colour. With precious little moaning, complaining or whingeing we definitively Got On With It, possibly knowing it would be the only football we watched this weekend, (or indeed, for some time). The Blue team had a setback on the half hour, as Yev was forced off with a strain, but this only served to redouble their efforts.

The Yellows took the lead through [insert name of rangy six foot plus player with deft ball control] before Yev restored parity. The Ukrainian marksman took advantage of some slack marking from me to nod the ball over Danny from a throw-in on the right. Johannes was once more on the scoresheet before [insert name of rangy six foot plus player who is too modest to reply to the message about who scored] made it 3-1 to the Yellows. Will was left unmarked from a second ball following a corner and made no mistake, before Ed sealed the win for the Yellows after a tremendous run to the by-line from the impressive Morgan and a deft cutback. Mick got the final goal after stealing away from yet more slack marking at another corner and prodding home inside the near post from about three or four yards.

The aforementioned Kavanagh Snr was one of three people to rattle the woodwork; another was Theo, who fired in a viciously dipping shot from the outside of his left boot. The ball span back off the crossbar and bounced down, but the younger Nick couldn’t quite sort his feet out and the ball squirted wide when it seemed easier to tap home. 

Final score: Yellows 4 – Blues 3

And so to the Skinners, which was reassuringly busy. Topics under consideration chiefly involved the obvious, but we did have a bit of chat about Cyprus that was not entirely virus related. Perhaps the best way to end this blog is with a photograph of Spizz from last Wednesday’s Holy Holy gig. He cheerfully told me he can no longer run for a bus these days (rock n roll!), so it may be that his playing days are finally at an end, but it’s good to see he still looms large. Sort of. Until Friday, (fingers crossed).

Sunday, 1 March 2020

Spring has sprung, like a leaky defence

So here it is; a blog. The first of 2020, (will it be the last?) My mitigating circumstances are partly covered by the fact I didn’t play for a month, but I know that you don’t really care about the whys and wherefores – you just want the words.

Friday's game was a nineteen player fixture, with the Yellow team boasting the extra man, although there was some jiggery pokery with the line-ups as we had two Dans listed (one turned out to be a Danny).

Here are your teams:

Yellows: Ian Gooner, Pete, Danny, Parminder, me, Andy, Yev, Simon Gas, Tom, Dan

Blues: Mick, Alan, Steve, Joe, Simon Ink, Ben, Ed, Callum, Geoff (!)

The Blues took an early lead after a goalkeeping error left Simon Ink clear to slot home, before Callum volleyed home from a sharp angle on the right to make it two nil to the Blues. There then followed the only decent spell of play from the Yellows as they sought to make the extra man count with some pleasant triangular passing patterns; however, the decent approach play did not necessarily translate into meaningful chance creation. Having said that, Yev and then Ian were both on the mark to get the Yellows within one goal of the Blue lead, the latter continuing a rich vein of goal-hanging scoring form by hooking home from a swinging cross from Yev from all of about two yards (the big man bagged a hat-trick last week).

With the game poised at 3-2 Alan stole away from his markers in characteristically surreptitious fashion and finished clinically to score the fourth goal; shortly afterwards Ed managed to get in a cut back from the by-line that I should have cut out to leave someone or other with the simple task of steering home past Andy in goals. And then Pete scored an own goal.

The wheels had well and truly come off by this stage, but the Yellows did manage to get one more goal to make it a final score of 5-3 to the Blues.

There were a couple of handball contretemps to discuss – basically, both incidents featured players with their hands high in the air hit by a ball blasted at them from a distance of less than three feet. Going on how these things work in the Premier League, they’d be given as handball if you play for a less glamorous team, but not if you wear a Liverpool or Man City shirt. 

Kudos to, in no particular order, Callum, Dan, and Ed. Joe was his usual imperious self, rolling forwards up the pitch with a fusion of élan and inexorable strength like an armoured personnel carrier with chrome plating. 

And so to the pub!

Topics under discussion included the coronavirus, the unorthodox defence of the crossbow murderer in Wales, Ian’s beautiful new 1974 baby blue Capri, the benefits of playing football in middle age, and… beer. 

Until next time, stay classy.I've uploaded some pictures from the Christmas pork extravaganza to remind of Winter and to prove that Paul made it home in one piece. 

Friday, 20 December 2019

Christmas chaat

Seasonal felicitations, football friends!

It has been a quite the eventful few months since we returned to action in the Summer. 

Way back in September we saw Ian Geary hang up his boots once and for all, presumably to give his lungs a rest from the invasive plane spores that might otherwise have done for him. We miss him and wish him well.

More recently, we have seen James depart for pastures French, along with his (very) heavily pregnant wife, for a new life away from teaching oiks in Grays.

And I think it was this season that saw Tony take a lengthy hiatus away from the fray, presumably to help the Brexit negotiations, with the pressure now very much on to Get It Done.

We also had the memorable bonfire night game, which saw the ‘orrible little scotes who often loiter around Coram Fields aim at fireworks at us... from the opposite pitch. The hopeless and hapless Security guard that evening was as much use as the proverbial ashtray on a motorbike and ended up copping us much abuse off Mick and Ian as the little sods who were aiming rockets at our goalkeepers. It was like being at the Bosporus derby.  

In terms of match reports, obviously they’ve been a bit thin on the ground of late, and by ‘of late’ I mean all season. Sorry about that. I won’t make excuses. 

Last Friday saw an eight aside pre-Christmas match in which our ranks were swollen by not one, not two, but three interlopers / invitation players from an otherwise very sparse looking Coram Fields. Given that we only had 13 players of our own – as on the 6th December, when we ended up with two ringers, one a decent player in his mid-twenties, the other a child who left halfway through to come in for his tea – we are very grateful for their efforts, although as ever with ringers you never have much of an idea as to their relative ability bar reductive assumptions based on age and girth.

The Yellows ran out 8-3 winners: their playing staff comprised myself, Parminder, Mick, Johnnie, Stan and Peter, as well what proved to be two very decent players from the earlier game. The Blues were made up of David, Andy, Steve, Danny, Johannes (JoJo), who was struggling with a hamstring twang, Patrick (NB: all three Kavanaghs present) and a fella called (I think), Roy. Among the goals were Peter, who smashed home into the top near post with characteristic violence, Stan, who also scored from a tight angle, and me, courtesy of an ugly toe-poke. On target for the Blues were Patrick (twice; one beating the keeper* on his near post and once bungling the ball under the falling goalie*) and Steve, via a post-corner melee. 


And from there onto the New Delis restaurant for a pre-Christmas curry and a belated celebration of Simon’s sixtieth. 

As we lurch towards Christmas and another heart-stopping pork extravaganza at the Skinners let us be grateful of another year of health, happiness and football. Lord knows there’s enough other shit going on the world. I’ll leave you with a photo-story of the first few months of 2019/2020.