Monday, 16 April 2018

Jacket required

With our Chef De Mission once again overseas, this time in Las Vegas, last Friday’s game was in danger of some extraordinary drama – previous Simon Gas sabbaticals have seen helicopters landing on the pitch, fistfights and even the end of our decades-long tenure at Old Street. Thankfully, nothing that alarming came to pass on Friday.

Before I launch into the match report, a few lines about the game on Friday 6th April.

This match saw a debut from Stu’s mate Shez, who has quickly established himself as a very solid and reliable right sided halfback, and a late withdrawal from Nick. I’m struggling to recall the precise line-up of the two teams because they required comprehensive rejigging in the wake of the late changes, but I believe that the Yellows triumphed by something like seven goals to five – the Blue team valiantly fought back from 5-1 down, but a couple of late goals saw the Yellows home (one from Liam when he turned my weary middle-aged legs inside out before slotting home). Suffice to say that with both Kavanagh men on one team, in addition to goal-poacher-in-chief Liam, they were always going to be a real handful. That evening marked the first al fresco drinking of the year (much more of that come, hopefully), as Simon Gas, Ian Gooner, the two Kavanaghs and my cousin John all shared a few pints and some travelling tales.

Onto last week’s game. Here are your two teams:

Yellows: Simon Ink, Stu, James, Ian Gooner, Bristol Paul, Michele, Mick and Antonio

Blues: me, Steve, Nick, Andy, John, Danny, Shez and Patrick

I was relatively confident that these two sides were finely balanced, with eight players each, but a second minute hamstring twang from John reduced the Blue team from eight to seven. The Blue team took the lead through an opportunist finish from myself after Patrick had harried the Yellow defence and seen his initial shot parried, but the Yellows were soon on terms after Mick got in front of me at a corner to nod home. They thereafter established a strangle-hold on the midfield with Michele, Mick and Antonio being first to most of the loose balls. But a tremendous rear-guard effort from Danny, Steve and Shez, aided and abetted by a lengthy and impressive stint in nets from Andy, kept the Yellows (largely) at bay. Antonio bagged at least one – I think he scored the third goal for the Blues which was laid off for the burly Mauricio Pochettino lookalike to stroke home from the edge of the area.

At the other end Patrick was ploughing a relatively lonely furrow, with Danny and Shez storming forward to join the attacks wherever possible and Nick sniffing out any loose balls. I think that the Yellows lead 3-2 at one stage, but the Blue team were nothing if not tenacious and managed to equalise through Danny (?) before I bagged a stuffy fourth goal for the Blues after James dropped Patrick’s shot in front of me leaving the simplest of chances.

Thereafter the Blues just about managed to cling on, albeit by assigning Steve to ‘mark’ the irrepressible Antonio, which he did by wrestling, pushing and gently needling. Simon Ink had a one final chance to level things up, but despite getting his head to the ball from a corner he couldn’t get over it and his header went just over the bar. I spurned about three different chances to bag a rare hat-trick, but given that Mick opined it would have been the worst hat-trick “ever”, perhaps it’s as well I did.

The dogs of war-style effort from the Blues aside, it wasn’t the greatest game of football the world has ever known and one can only hope that this week’s warm weather will see something slightly more aesthetically pleasing.

Final score: Yellows 3 – Blues 4

No pub for me this week, but it sounds like there’s a story to tell as Simon Ink left his jacket in the Skinners whereupon Steve apparently seized on it and embarked on a drunken odyssey with Yev which ended up with him dancing with transvestites and spending the night at Yev’s place. 

The mind boggles.

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