On a warm apparently ‘Winter’s afternoon’, we have the enviable task of taking on current league Div 1 leaders club Albion, a squad of 17 whittled down to 13, with luckily Stef coming back from a well earned trip to Japan, apparently Roppongi mainly, refreshed & raring to go, my pre match formation strategy totally blown to pieces, end up playing a traditional 4.4.2, with Bertie in goal, back 4 of Olivier,Scottie,Mike V & Stef, midfield of Jeremy,Rob,Jay & Rob, with Hull city Psycho Andy & Macca up front, with the snake & Coombes unlucky to be on the bench but raring to go.
We start off well, plenty of running, quite a lot in fact & as we all like running except Andy B, who has a clump foot, but he reckons that’s useful for making hard tackles, luckily he had a lunch date, very nice, well I was thinking of sitting in the comfortable seats in the shade & view the match with a cool drink, but made the wrong decision to tramp up & down the line helping Joe warm up & making sure he stretched those troublesome calfs of his in the blinding sunlight.
Anyway Albion were dominating possession in 2/3rds of the pitch but were constantly finding it hard to get through our back four & on certain occasions we were troubling them with Macca’s & Andy’s movement, which was giving them plenty to think about & gave us a break at the back. We started to pass the ball well & a belief went through the team that we could compete at this level was evident to see.
We continued to defend well, with Scottie, who apparently hadn’t gone out the night before, looking like cannavaro, but with the girly maldini haircut stopping everything, Mike V winning all the balls in the air & being a physical presence, while Stef & Olivier solid & helping set up counter attacks, backed up by Bertie who collected everything was calmness personified, we were looking good.
By now Joe had warmed up & Rob had sobered up we created some decent chances & with Jay, not 100% fit, was putting in an awesome shift & didn’t stop running & closing down some talented players all afternoon, if we had just got a few through balls to Macca a bit early we would of seen him bearing down on the keeper & with current form.could of been interesting.
So Half time is near & there are few more rewarding sights in football, than a silky skilled player in fancy boots tear arsing into the box, unfortunately it was our box & we were 1.0 down, then the ref blew up.
It was a bit of a blow as we had really put in a lot of effort in that 1st half, but the attitude was positive & we all thought we still had a chance if we continued to play the same way, chances would come.
Game restarts,with the coombes coming on for Jeremy, start off a bit slow & maybe we didn’t clear our lines too well, with a mixture of one of their players falling flat on his arse under no challenge whatsoever, a freekick is awarded & deflected in off the wall, a further blow, competing so well & over a handful of minutes 2 down, but i suppose that’s Div 1 football, would this be the start of a capitulation, would it fu*k.
Throughout the remaining 30 minutes we battled well, with Jake coming on for Andy & Joe moving up front, for the rest of the game we pushed forward & Macca & Joe were causing chaos in the albion area & with a bit more composure really deserved a goal for all our work, Olivier our Anglo-French right back got kicked square in the face, by, which was a surreal moment, Olivier, their just plain french left winger, all I can remember was Olivier getting up spitting blood on the floor & saying something rather derogatory in french, Bertie will translate i’m sure.
I was really pleased with the character of the team in this game, as I said we do raise our game for the big matches, the commitment & pressure at the right times was excellent, we could of been a bit more aggressive at times, but that might just be me, we used the space well & moved the ball quickly to create chances, we won’t play a team better than that for the rest of the season, if we can keep that intensity going forward we are going to cause teams a lot of problems & that will mean more points & a higher position in the table.