09/08/2008 - Game 14Opposition:
Cold but calm
Unbelieveably the weather actually allowed a game! The first of the postponed lot.
As posted above, hopes were not high of a full team turning up. And when there was just myself, my brother and 2 others about 20 minutes before kickoff, things did not look good. By the time kickoff approached we had cobbled together 7 which meant we had to take the field, then another turned 2 turned up just as we were starting so we had 9 while the opposition had just the bare 11. For fairness, the rules say both teams should provide a ref so 1 does the 1st half and the other does the 2nd, although often the teams might agree for 1 person to do it if they are happy. These guys offered to play with 10 in the first half so one could ref, and we would ref the 2nd half, which was quite generous of them as we were down a couple of players.
So the game began and while they had much of the ball, we were keeping them away from our end quite well. They were restricted to just a few speculative efforts early on and I wasn't tested too much. We were getting into the game and had the better chances, even forcing a couple of corners. But with a man less, keeping possession for long periods was always going to be tough. About 10 minutes before half time we forced a corner, and took the lead from a goalmouth scramble. Straight away they were down our end with a good through ball and I managed to come out and smother it well just ahead of the striker. Things looked good right on half time when we were awarded a penalty for handball. Didn't see anything from my end. Thought it was a goal kick then suddenly we were lining up a penalty, but it was given by their ref with no complaints so it must have been pretty clear cut. Our goalscorer stepped up and sent it high and wide. Inevitably, straight from the goalkick they were down our end and with one defence splitting pass it was 1-1 with the last kick of the half and probably our chance blown. I am still sporting a bruise covering the whole top of my foot which resulted from kicking the post in anger as I walked off for the break.
Fortunately another of our players who has been injured for ages turned up during the first half to watch and agreed to ref so we didn't have to go down to 8. We were able to stay with 9 while they went back up to 11. In the very first minute they got down our end and a bullet volley from about 25 yards out was in before I saw it. Given how the season has gone so far I thought we'd blown yet another match and would end up losing 4 or 5-1. To our credit though, we remained solid. Most of the game was in our half as you would expect but we were keeping them out, and they were beginning to tire. With about 20 minutes to go we got a breakaway and a good through ball went across to the right, my brother ran through quicker than the defender and about 20 odd yards out, on the right of the area he hit it first time and it went up into the top left corner. Absolute screamer and I don't think I've ever celebrated a goal on the pitch as much as that one. We'd defended so well, and to get level with a goal like that, especially with it being my brother was amazing. However, my brother loves nothing more than telling a story and as we setup for kickoff the realisation set in that I was going to have to move out of home, because I'm never going to hear the end of this goal.
5 minutes later they had the pressure back on us. A good shot from the edge of the box forced me into quite good save at full stretch low to the left to concede a corner. From the corner, it was headed out to my brother who was about 30 yards out from our goal on the left. He played a great ball down the line and our left winger beat their defender for pace, got into the box and gave us an unbelieveable lead. How we had turned this game around with 9 men I do not know. It was all them from there, but all they managed was 2 or 3 shots that were quite comfortable for me. 5 minutes from time we got into their half, one of our midfielders played a ball over the top and our left winger got round the back to finish with an awesome half volley to seal an amazing win. In the last minute we cleared the ball to my brother on half way and he outran the last defender to finish a one-on-one quite clinically with a Thierry Henry like finish for his 2nd of the game. They must think he's been prolific this season when in actual fact he's scored just 4 goals, all against them. Result:
5-2 WinPersonal Performance:
Decent. No real chance with either goal and made the one difficult save required in the 2nd half.
I don't know how we won that 5-2 with 9 men. The whole game was in our half. They had almost all of the play and just tired out, allowing us to blitz them with 4 goals in the last 25 minutes.
My brother is the master of telling stories of his football and cricket exploits. In fact even as we got to the ground it was "oh I remember this place, I took an awesome catch here in .... game, and another time I hit the only 4 when we got skittled for 42.........." Every week there's a similar story when we get to whatever ground.
There is one quie famous catch that he often talks about where he took a stunner to dismiss one of his best mates who was playing for the big rival school but noone in the family was there to witness it so we've always assumed it's been highly over exaggerated. He was quite pleased that at least I was there to back up this story and it's going to get more airplay than that catch now!
Anyway, the weather has returned to form and tomorrow's games are all off.