Tuesday, 22 September 2015

One flew over the goalkeeper’s head…

Another good turnout for the early rounds of 2015/16 season last Friday, with a grand total of na-na-na-na-na-nineteen players, (yes, I know I’ve done that one before). These are the line-ups I came up with:

Blues: Joseph, Steve, Peter, Nick, Ross, Liam, Simon Gas, Mark, Simon Ink, Geoff

Yellows: Jaime, Bristol Paul, Danny, Alan, Mick, Tony, Ian Baggies, me, Callum

The Blues had the extra man, as you can see, and actually kicked off two men to the good as Callum was running slightly late, although on a scale of Late-to-Yev he was positively punctual, (the Ukrainian hitman was still banjaxed with a bad knee and took no part in proceedings).

With Danny starting in goal for the Yellows the Blues should have taken an early opportunity to press home their numerical advantage, but it was the Yellows that seized the lead via Callum, who blasted home from inside the area following some nice approach work. I relieved the Fylde Coast Beckenbauer – as goalkeeper, that is – and the Blues were soon back on terms as I struggled to claim a centre from a corner and someone taller than me, (probably Peter) nodded home an equaliser from all of about four inches.

The Yellows regained the lead, however, with Alan, I believe, getting the next goal. If my memory is somewhat fried, this will be as a direct consequence of what happened next. One moment I was in goal, spying the play far upfield, the next minute the ball emerged from the glare of the floodlights worryingly closer than I would have predicted. I heard a plaintive cry of “Keepers!” and moved – fatally – nearer the edge of the area, whereupon the ball pitched and leapt, maliciously, over my head. I desperately back pedalled and managed to claw the ball off the line into the rapidly advancing gait of Peter, who gleefully smashed the ball over the line from around a foot out. Truly, truly awful.

Despite this defensive calamity, I think I have sufficient cognitive faculty to recall the remainder of the game. Somewhat incongruously, this goalkeeping disaster spurred the Yellows on and they retook the lead – a bullet header from a Jaime via a corner – and then grabbed a two goal advantage with Tony calmly collecting the ball after a couple of rebounds and steering home.

Sadly, this was as good as it got for the Yellows, as the Blues’ additional player and slightly lower average age saw them roar back into contention. Suddenly, everything which came down the Blues’ left hand side was coming off and both Liam and latterly Ross scored from close range, cueing much whoopin’ and hollerin’. Alan had a decent chance late on to equalise after what I thought was a nice left footed cross from myself, but Simon Gas was marshalling his defensive cadre expertly and the evening’s action was at an end.

Final score: Blues 5 – Yellows 4

And thus to the Skinners. It is probably fair to deploy the adjective ‘rammed’ to describe the pub’s appearance last Friday; this was due in no small part to the inaugural game of the Rugby Union World Cup, where Fiji took on the hosts, England. I’m not a big fan of the egg-chasing, but I was even more confused than usual by the fact that England seemed to be playing a Fijian side containing a surprising number of people of European descent. Conversely, England had many more black players than I’d realised. Reader, imagine my confusion at learning the two teams had decided to wear their change strips. And I thought the offside rule in rugby was weird!

I didn’t stay too long as I had work the next morning, a decision hastened by the noisy arrival of what I would wager were international students about to spend their parents’ hard earned cash at the various august seats of learning in our capital city.

That’s it for this week. Goodbye. 

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