Sunday, 1 February 2015

My Left Foot

From feast to famine in seven days; for the first time in 2015 we were really struggling for numbers on Friday, with a late rash of sick-notes arriving at Simon’s Muswell Hill mansion. This left us with just thirteen players for the evening game, (seven less than last week). 

Simon welcomed back Caledonian magic man Liam and put him alongside fellow Jocks Mark and Steve in, appropriately enough, Blue bibs.

The rest of the line-ups for you…

Blues: Liam, Mark, Steve, Yev, Tony, Specialist goalkeeper Phil

Yellows: Danny, Simon Gas, me, Ross, Ian Gooner, Paul and Bristol Paul

I don’t think I was alone in thinking that the teams looked unbalanced, but Simon was banking on Liam not quite being at full fitness to offset the younger – and more energetic  - legs of his Blue team-mates. Nevertheless, the Blues roared into a rapid fire four goal lead, with Steve forcing home the second from close range following nice interplay on the right and Tony passing one home with his trusted left foot, (of which more later). Naturally, Yev was also in amongst the goals.

At four-nil came the best passage within the game as the Yellows regained some shape and really ought to have got back in contention. Tony and latterly Liam were, however, in inspired form in goal and coupled with Steve’s thou-shalt-not-pass school of defending chance after chance went begging.
The Blues then grabbed a couple more – both trademark fierce shots from Yev, I believe – to make it a tennis score. However, at this point in proceedings came the two incidents that sadly defined the evening. First Simon Gas put in what was commonly adjudged to be a fair, yet firm tackle on Yev that saw him win the ball and then catch the Ukrainian on the follow-through. Yev was unable to continue owing to the ensuing strain on his calf and a free kick was awarded - for handball, (Simon had ended up handling the ball as he lay prone on the astro-turf). Tony was positively scornful at mine and Ian’s exhortations that Simon had won the ball and this seemed to sour his mood, which is never exactly sunshine and lollipops at the best of times. 

Soon afterwards the Hampstead auteur took exception to some perceived slight, (Danny had the temerity to tackle him) and an already angry Tony threw his arms up in rage and disgust and promptly exited the pitch and the match, Blue bib cast asunder. Given that his team were winning six nil and Simon had apologised to Yev for the challenge mentioned in the previous paragraph, it was hard to see what could have piqued his ire to the extent that a run of the mill challenge provoked such an extreme reaction. Perhaps it was Danny’s earlier calls to his Yellow team-mates to jockey Tony onto his right foot, as it is allegedly weaker than his left. ‘My right foot is better than my left’, insisted the north London cineaste. 

No matter – the Blues were now down to four men, (although Paul Guvnor did cross the Rubicon to make it five aside), yet the Yellows still made very heavy weather of getting any goals, Ross eventually nodding home the one consolation after a myriad of misses, none more glaring than mine when I failed to poke home a rebound from all of about four yards. It is probably fair to say that we’d strayed into the realms of farce by this stage and following yet another miss from myself (blazing over the bar from just outside the area) we called it a night before the next crowd had even come on.

Final score – Blues 6: Yellows 1

Obviously, following such an almighty strop Tony didn’t stick around at the Skinners, table or no. Yev had applied some ice packs to his sore leg in the changing room and duly joined the rest of the crew in the pub for some post-game refreshment and analysis. Topics under discussion included (ahem), ‘marital relations’, football (as ever) and the chances of seeing Tony next week (slim).

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