Sunday, 22 May 2016

The unstoppable force meets the immoveable object

Welcome back, footballers.

Simon sent me no fewer than twenty names to sort out this week and this is what I came up with, Player Attributes Selection System notwithstanding:

Yellows: Tony, Steve, Bristol Paul, me, Peter, Alex, Liam, Chris, Andy, Mark

Blues: Simon Gas, Joseph, Paul of the Antarctic, Will, Danny, Mick, Patrick, Ed, Simon Ink, Mario

Plenty of people, but as the main man says, quality players will find their own space.

After last week’s goal-scoring bonanza, this Friday saw a far more sober and grown-up match, with just the four goals. Peter opened proceedings by ramming in a trademark fierce shot from wide on the right, but the lead wasn’t held for too long. 

Tony spent virtually the entire game in goal for the Yellows as he continues his recovery from injury, while Steve and Bristol Paul were on sentry duty at the back. Simon Gas spent much of his game in goal at the other end, where he was ably protected by the twin defensive sentinels of Joseph and Paul. As such, with both defences in good shape, the real contest was in midfield, where Alex, Chris and Peter vied for supremacy with Will, the Iniesta of the Fylde Coast, his fellow Lancastrian Danny, and young Patrick, playing a rare game in tandem with his old man.

Up front, Liam ploughed a very lonely furrow for the Yellows, as he struggled to do very much with the relentless bombardment of long, high, balls, particularly as he was being marked by Joseph, who has around five inches in height on him. At the other end Mario was lurking at the edge of the D, looking to seize on anything loose which he could despatch with characteristic accuracy and violence.

It may well have been Mario who scored the Blues’ first goal – for the life of me I can’t recall – but having threatened to take advantage of some rare defensive confusion between Tony and Steve, very much in the ‘after you, Claude’ vein, Bristol Paul was mugged in defence and duly punished. Worse was to come for the Yellows; Tony was so busy barking orders at his defence that he failed to spot Simon Ink advancing through the midfield with all the stealth of a Chieftain tank, and equally failed to pick up the ensuing ‘shot’, which bounced and trundled through the assorted defenders before skipping across the line as Tony stood and stared. 2-1 to the Blues.

The Yellows thereafter spent the remainder of the game trying to get back on terms, although despite the not inconsiderable talents and athleticism of Alex and Peter, the Yellows continued to hold firm. While Chris looked the most likely source of a decent centre from which to equalise, it was eventually the shaven-headed Tottenham fan who got the all-important fourth goal, capitalising on my efforts to get past Ed to slam the ball home past Simon Gas in nets. Two apiece.

With the clock winding down there was one final talking point. What happens when the unstoppable force meets the immoveable object? Well, now we know. Steve had eyes only for a loose ball which he wanted to head clear, but between him and this objective lay the rear of Danny’s skull. Cue what looked very much like a broken nose for Steve, and a Tweety-Pie style lump on the cranium for Danny.

As both players groggily departed, the final minute of the game meandered to an honourable draw.

Yellows 2- Blues 2

And thus to the Skinners, where the weather was (just) warm enough to drink outside. Having caught up with Andy on the subject of the afternoon’s play at Headingley, I spent most of the time outside with Liam, Mark, Simon Ink and Will discussing rekindled romance, local psychos and popular TV before things began to descend into Al Pacino and Roger Moore impressions. With Simon Gas acting as two pint pacemaker, I departed into the night before I could end up over the driving limit.

Until Friday, impending paternity permitting.

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