Sunday, 7 December 2014

Taking Care of Business

Friday saw the return of Muswell Hill’s answer to Phileas Fogg as Simon Gas was back again and taking care of business. His three week sojourn in the Americas had left us with what turned out to be an eventful interregnum and it was good to bring some sort of ballast back to proceedings. These are the teams he picked – 

Blue: Mick, Patrick, Dave, Daniel, me, Paul, Yev, Nick

Yellow: Simon Gas, Tony, Vitali, Will, Ian Gooner, Phil, Danny, Simon Ink

As is custom, the two Kavanagh men arrived slightly late, (the younger later than the elder), while Yev and his compatriot Vitali arrived just after kick off. Still, two decent eight aside teams there.
I started off in goal for the Blues and we were three nil down quite quickly. The first came from a free kick, with no-one picking up Tony; I believe that Phil grabbed the second and Will scored the third, with a calmly passed shot into the bottom right hand corner. I’d knacked my right thumb by this stage by tipping a typically fierce shot from Phil over the bar, (this is what happens when there are no gloves and the temperature is just above zero).

At this stage a fearful shellacking looked like a distinct possibility, but Mick brought some organisational nous to the Blues and along with his son and the attacking prowess of Yev the Yellows slowly got back into the game. Trouble was that despite Yev’s goals the Yellows were always playing catch up and although we got back to within two or three of the Yellows, it never looked likely that we’d get back on terms, let alone take the lead. 

Will, Phil and Vitali proved a real handful, with all three breaking from deep and switching sides, which left myself and Dave with a headache in terms of knowing which man to track. Things did improve with Nick and Mick alternately dropping deeper and over time the yawning chasm in the middle of the field, which had hitherto been dominated by the Yellows, was more evenly contested.
I am trying to recall more of the evening’s eleven goals – Yev got at least two of the four Blue goals, one a nice header from a deft cross, and Vitali may have bagged a hat-trick – but to be honest all I can really remember is a chance that a tetraplegic terrapin with its fins stapled together could have scored but I have somehow contrived to steer wide of the post from a distance of about five yards. As Vitali said, it was a “100% chance”. I found the missing 0%. Soon after I steered a header onto bar when I should have got more forehead than crown on it, which capped off a relatively miserable evening.

Still, good game and all that – Final Score: Yellows 7, Blues 4

And onto the pub, where, as feared, we have arrived in the demi-monde of the Christmas Party. There was a veritable carnival of herbertry in the Skinners on Friday as two separate groups of drinkers out on works do’s happened to support different Scottish football teams and after around two hours of foreplay there was eventually a minor contretemps that was swiftly and expertly snuffed out by the landlord who, being of Caledonian extraction himself, had probably seen this sort of thing a hundred times in the past. 

The drunk and angry blokes then departed into the December night to be replaced by some bearded hipsters and some other younger people and as the clock pushed past eleven we all enjoyed the advent of the Christmas drinking season, (pun intended). Mick, Ian, Yev, Vitali and myself shared some English, Irish and Russian jokes, while I demonstrated my peerless skill at accents and impressions with a rendition of the traditional Ukrainian mating cry, much to Yev and Vitali’s delight. We also had a tremendous anecdote from Vitali from the very frontline of the Ukrainian secessionist struggle.  

I’m off to try and relive more of my youth next week, as NewModel Army are playing The Forum, so see you in two weeks for the 2014 Coram Fields Christmas Party.

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