Monday, 12 January 2015

Acceptable in the 80's

Welcome back. Rather predictably, given the traditional January desire to burn off the Christmas calorie intake, the first game of 2015 saw a bumper crowd, with Simon Gas feeling so flush with players that he had the luxury of turning away not only the Guv’nor, but also Ian Gooner, who turned his ankle on an errant paving slab on the way to Coram Fields. Camden Council can expect a writ.

With such a bountiful haul of people to pick from, the Bristolian Commander In Chief went for the following two sides -

Blue team: me, Nick, Steve, Ian Baggies, Mick, Yev, Spizz, Alan, Simon Ink, Ross

Yellow team: Simon Gas, Tony, Kiwi Nick, Patrick, Alex, Daniel, Danny, Bristol Paul, Khalid

The Yellows saw plenty of the ball in central midfield throughout the game, chiefly because they had fine touch players like Alex and Daniel who were more able than most to retain possession of the ball and to find team-mates with short passes, despite the presence of so many pairs of legs on the pitch. The Yellow team took an early two goal lead, seizing on two avoidable defensive mistakes in ruthless fashion – sadly my memory failed to record the two scorers, probably because I was too occupied with the noisy post-mortem that followed both goals. 

The Blues were bolstered soon after kick off by the traditional late arrival of Yev, who joined Spizz up front in the sort of big man / little man striking partnership that was acceptable, nay de rigeur during the 1980’s. The chief consequence of this was that the Blues dispensed with any notions of passing in the midfield and instead went very direct, with Nick and Mick filling in either flank, along with Ross and Simon Ink. This tactic was moderately successful, with Spizz pulling one back, but the equalising goal for the Blues came via more aesthetically pleasing play, as Mick played a long pass for someone on the left to touch on and into the box where Alan ran on and deftly tapped home off his left ankle.

What I felt was the key point in the game came while the scores were locked at two apiece; Danny went on a characteristically surging run and cut inside on his right foot and unleased a peach of a shot that flew into the top right hand corner of the net. Even with the extra man the Yellows couldn’t seem to get back into the game after that, although Alan smacked the outside of the post and I missed a highly presentable late chance to make the score 4-3 to the Blues – by this stage Alex and Patrick had combined for the former to prod the ball home for the Yellows’ fourth goal of the night.

Happily, very little in the way of controversy or gamesmanship this week, although Ian Baggies was likened to a traffic warden by Spizz as a result of calling loudly each time the ball went out of play. Yev and Tony also enjoyed a running duel that narrowly avoided fizzing over into something more exciting, although the year is yet young so this could be one to watch. 

Final score: Yellows 4 – Blues 2

Any notions that the pub would prove far quieter in the wake of the abominable dry January and the usual post-Christmas lull were shattered by the presence of large groups of young people in the Skinners, what with their beards, card payments and vibrant social lives. The crowd eventually thinned out and discussions turned, inevitably, to the terrorist outrages in Paris as well as more pastoral subjects such as how we all spent the festive period and the fallout from the Christmas football fixtures. Until Friday…

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