Scorers: Angelo, Dodimead, Burwell
How to win against rugby players – a lesson for the Scots
Well Dave was understandably disappointed in his boys in the 2s this week and equally I’m more than impressed with the lads in the 5s – quoting Dave…arrive together, change together, warm up together, have a team-talk together, play together and for each other, change together, eat after the game together…win together.
After a couple of ‘I didn’t realize the meet time’ hiccups we all arrived at Owens by 2:10. Pitches looked immaculate and after changing in a shoe cupboard the boys were raring to go.
The game started hard and fast, Owens bullied us off the ball through very heavy challenges and it looked as if AP would be steamrolled over. As the game progressed though we showed a bit more composure, passing the ball swiftly and moving across the midfield to good effect.
None the less, the half was Owens to win and some resolute defending by AP across the park was rewarded by a goalless first half, despite valid penalty claims being dismissed for both teams. Against the run of play Astroboy had two glorious 1:1 chances but we won’t dwell on those.
The second half started in a completely different fashion than the first. The 5s took control, dictating the tempo of the match. Owens responded by trying to take even bigger chunks out of some of the smaller lads, Liam and Astroboy in particular getting abused for being better than the opposition. One such foul on Liam resulted in a freekick at the top of the area, Astroboy stepped up to the plate and with Thrale creating a gap in the wall neatly curled the ball into the bottom left corner. The celebration made Nnamdi’s last week [see Chapter 2] look timid and shy. Screaming, sprinting in circles to the half way line, shirt nearly coming off…the striker looked relieved to score.
The half was still on a knife edge and then Robinson, who had been solid all day, took a nasty tumble when challenging Marik (don’t ask) for the ball and crawled off the pitch in agony. Whilst the skipper berated him for ‘running it off’ on the sideline rather than up front, the game continued and a corner won. A rather agitated skipper therefore took his anger out on the ball, using his head to thunder a delightful Tom White ball over the man on the post into the top corner of the net. Celebrations were muted, Owens were in shock, AP regained composure.
Subs were made, Nnamdi, Ditmar and Krefting coming on for Liam, Astroboy (exhausted after his celebration) and Robinson, with Rae dropping in at the back.
The fresh legs and renewed pace continued to tear Owens a new one and White’s ball over the top smacked Dodimead in the back of the head and kindly chipped their centre back allowing Doddy to calmly take it round the keeper and slot home, game over.
A bit of late pressure from Owens threatened to unsettle the party, Doddy and Piner with clearances on the line. The clean sheet was spoiled with five minutes to go as their shot took a deflection off the sliding skipper to just evade Bardgett’s hand, their first shot on target all day!
All I can say lads is quality second half. We showed heart to continue to play our passing football in the face of adversity and came out with a strong win from one of the toughest games in our season.
We won’t mention Robinson’s prematch criticism of the skipper for warning the boys that we were in for a big physical contest – Owens were going to be“small and skilful”. Hope you get better soon mate as you are an important cog in this ever improving 5s machine.
Team: Bardgett, Piner, Robinson, Burwell, Thrale, Coughlin, Rae, White, Kralik, Dodimead, Astropalitis, Krefting, Nnamdi, Sulimajni