Monday, 20 March 2017

Two penalties, a sinner and a patron saint

And around we go again, as another week hurtles past and the planet hurtles on its axis and our lives hurtle toward inexorable decay and ultimate demise. Still, there’s always the football, isn’t there?

Two teams of eight this week:

Blues – Liam, Ian Baggies, Andy, Callum, Joe, Danny, Simon Gas, Ed

Yellows – Mark, Tony, Peter, Alan, Steve, Nick (no beard), me, Bristol Paul

With all the usual late arrivals not arriving (because they weren’t playing) we started pretty much on time. I think it’s fair to say there was a reasonable amount to report on this week, including two penalties and five of the Queen’s goals, so I’ll crack on.

The Blue team took the lead as Mark began in goals for the Yellows and someone or other bagged the first goal, upon which I relieved the Scotsman for my customary roller-coaster ride in nets. After a quiet start I conceded the second goal, which was a snapshot from outside the area from Callum or Liam, or possibly Danny. 

But despite this initial setback the Yellow team were very much in the game, with Nick, Tony and Peter all pulling the strings in midfield. And it was the towering Peter who pulled the Yellows back into contention with a fierce low drive from wide on the right hand side of the area which nestled unerringly into the bottom corner. 2-1 and game on.

Then came the first of the two penalties. After a typically scrappy goalmouth scramble the ball squirted toward goal, whereupon Andy – NB: not the goalkeeper – instinctively stuck out his hand to prevent the ball going in, even though it wasn’t going in. Peter made no mistake from the spot. Two apiece.

Up the other end and a few minutes later Steve was adjudged, principally by Danny, to have handled, even though his hands were down by his side and the ball appeared to hit his stomach first. Steve certainly didn’t think it was a penalty, neither did I and I think we can safely say that neither did Tony. The temperamental midfield maestro, who I later learnt is a keen fencer (the swashbuckling variety that is, rather than someone who sells on stolen goods) was incensed for the second time in as many weeks about the apparent gamesmanship from his rivals and made to walk off. 

When all this had eventually calmed down Danny took the ensuing spot kick, which he fired over the bar. Still two all, then. Danny doesn’t strike me as someone who’d deliberately miss a spotkick, but it may well be that he didn’t address the ball with as much preparation and composure as would ordinarily be the case.

And so the game appeared to be meandering toward a draw, with Liam endeavouring to score but not quite getting there and yours truly passing up a great chance following a neat cut back from Mick which I could only squirt horribly wide.

However, with time nearly up I swapped passes with Alan on the left hand side and the Irishman clearly had some sort of canonical epiphany via his nation’s saint as he spied Andy straying away from the near post and rifled in a fabulous volley from a tight angle to register the final goal of the night.

Final score: Yellows 3 – Blues 2

And thus to the Skinners (after we’d had the usual madcap ball retrieval routine, that is), which was mercifully free of Oirish themed nonsense and people wearing comedy Guinness hats.

Conversation among the admittedly small throng touched on Manchester United’s pot-Ferguson era, Paul McCartney’s solo material and particularly Steve’s travel plans as he embarks on a three week sojourn Down Under, complete with the Aiton tribe. Let’s hope the charm bracelet pays dividends, eh, Steve?

Until Friday!

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