What happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object? Nobody was going to find this out when two above average amateur football teams met at the Fred Knight sports ground, but it sounded like a relatively thoughtful introduction. Park met Old Aloysians in the last 8 of the Middlesex and Essex Cup, a team sitting top of the second tier of the AFC having only dropped a couple of points.
It was a bit of a hike up to Fred Knight. Not masses to report pre game, Chris Simpson did his back at a Zumba class, so Mike O’D came up. Egan turned up draped in a table cloth he had swiped from an Italian restaurant. The pitch was a bit of A Rebecca Loos, looked decent from a far but was actually a bit ragged. I have never met Rebecca Loos, I just imagine she would fall into that bracket.
Neither side had leaked many goals, so WE were envisaging a tight game. The plan was to turn them for the first 20 and impose ourselves as best possible. We actually played really well first half. The passing was tidy, Gunyon and Nicholau were excellent in front of the back four. We had quite a few half chances, Kelly and Hughes lifted a couple over the bar on the run. Morris had one turned away at the near post, whilst Egan had a header off the line.
Aloysians were well organised and tried to play the right way. They had a lively left winger, but Lee ‘the Rolls Royce’ Carlin shepherded him to the point of no return. We should have really gone in to the break leading but our final ball was well below par.
We tried to replicate our territorial dominance in the second half but it became a somewhat different game. The pitch at Fred Knight went to pieces and at the rate balls were flying onto the railtrack, Bob Crow will be lobbying TFL for some sort of North London danger pay (topical).
To be fair, Aloysians raised it a notch and marginally edged the second half. It turned into a war of attrition and I for one was absolutely knackered. We probably deserved to give a penalty away over the course of the second half, especially given how whistle happy the official was being in other areas of the pitch.
Extra time was a stalemate, we defended well and Mike’s handling was top class under pressure. The oppo rattled a post with a fine strike but I think on balance neither side did enough to win in it. We could have played on all day without a winner, so penalties would decide it.
Great moment when the gaffer asked for volunteers, 5 required, 5 hands go up. The gaffer, acknowledges 4 of these. Only John will know if he heard Lee Carlin. Banter will dictate he did in any future recollection.
The quality of penalties was high and we missed our 4th which sent us packing. Gutted to have missed out on a semi final against Winchmore Hill but I can’t fault the effort. It demonstrated again that we can mix it with teams playing at a higher level. It also showed that the margins of victory are particularly narrow at this level, therefore for the love of Wilkins please make every effort to get to training. It could give us that extra few percent in these situations
This leaves the focus on the league. It’s in our hands and we need to kick on at Stationers.
MOM : Morris/Patterson. Two hardworking, good quality performances of a very different nature.
Team : O’Donnell, Carlin, Patterson, Egan, Thrale, Gunyon, Nicholau (O’Leary), Gunyon, Morris, Kelly, O’Leary (Kenga), Hughes.