Sunday, 7 February 2016

of sardines and Simon

Another week rattles around and another match report to write.

Simon Gas sent me the runners and riders for Friday night’s game, with the slightly odd caveat that he would not be included in the two line-ups; rather, he’d patrol the touchline for spare balls and prepare to come in as an impact substitute. As such, here are the two teams, minus the Muswell Hillbilly.

Blues: Andy, Joseph, Simon Ink, Mark Alan, Nick, Tony, Peter and Mario

Yellows: me, Steve, Ian Gooner, Ross, David, Michele, Danny, Mick and Alex

A bit of pre-match drama as Alex confirmed this credentials as a foggy headed academic by managing to forget his entire kit – happily for the Potteries midfield dynamo he managed to beg, borrow and steal an assortment of replacements.

Proceedings got underway and the Yellows were soon ahead, with one of the less elegant goals you’ll see at Coram Fields. A swirling ball from upfield landed menacingly in the penalty area and Michele dutifully chased it toward goal, where Andy was in nets. Taking an almighty swing at it, he managed to blast it straight at Michele’s back, whereupon it looped up into the net. One nil.

The lead didn’t last too long, however – Peter nodded home the equaliser from a corner, making good use of his height. The game then segued into an unattractive stalemate, with fairly rudimentary tactics from the Yellows in particular seeing a barrage of long balls hoiked speculatively toward Ross. The Blues may have had slightly more guile, but once Danny had come out of goal he and Mick did a very manful job of organising the Yellows backline to restrict Mario and Nick to hopeful shots from outside the area.

Back to Senor Gas. Having changed, primed to enter the fray should there be any injuries, he took up position on the far side of the pitch, ostensibly as ball-boy. However, given there is about 5 yards between the touchline and the fence his role was somewhat surplus to requirements. An exhortation to take up position on the touchline adjacent to the neighbouring pitch, where his presence may have been more effective, fell on deaf ears, but it became a moot point once Mark had to hobble off following a clash with Alex. Simon Gas was on the pitch.

There were two further goals, both for the Yellows. Ross’s tireless running and impressive persistence eventually yielded a score to make it 2-1, before a rare spell of accurate passing between the Yellows saw Danny fire home to complete the scoring and make it 3-1 to the Yellows.

Not too much else to report; Ian Gooner was struggling following some ropey sardines scoffed the previous evening and spent much of the game in goal, where he exuded a Cech-like calm on the Yellows’ defence. All in all a competitive game, if not exactly one for the purists.

To the pub then, where this week space was very much at a premium. Highlights included Bangers and Mash (for me), Chicken Wings (for Simon Ink) and lashings of beer all round. In addition to Arsenal’s current travails, conversation also alighted on the topics of the decline in ‘white rock’ music, as described by Ross, and an in-depth analysis of the game that Gary Neville would have been proud of.  

Onwards and upwards.

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