No rash tackles, just a tackle rash
After their exit from the cup from the week before, the 5’s were determined to get back to winning ways in the league. After the previous week’s personal advice of not turning up late, skipper Andy Burwell caused early anxious moments by turning up 20 minutes late. Fear not though, we had tonnes of time to make to short journey down to N21.
The game kicked off and AP’s new centre back pairing of Steve and Pat was under instant pressure, but after about 15 minutes the storm had effectively been weathered and AP edged their way back into the game. Playing in his new position of left back the AP skipper Burwell started his career as the ‘Roberto Carlos’ of AP football club. Power in the tackle is something we have come to expect, but a drop of the shoulder? An injection (of albeit very slow) pace and runs down the wing were all among the qualities being displayed. Suddenly AP were in this, Sam confidently breaking up the midfield play, Pete, playing with one working boot constantly looking for the through balls and John ‘the powerhouse’ Gatenby bulldozing his way through the N21 backline.
The next 5 minutes demonstrated the fine lines in football, Gatenby drifted past a couple of defenders in the box, got hacked, did he go down? No, he stayed on his feet and powered the ball against the crossbar, as Jack came charging in on the rebound his face was nearly taken off by Dodimead’s 79th attempt at a bicycle kick that season. Sadly the chance was gone. Winchmore went down the other end and from about 25 yards out their humongous number 10 volleyed the ball into the top left corner. Towards the end of the half the 5’s skipper had to take himself off, swelling of the arm, rash of the body, collapsing of the lung, was it the extra required exercise of the new position? Was it the pizza eaten before the game? Was it the kit that Brad had left in his garden as mysteriously couldn’t play this week? Nobody knew, but he was replaced by effectively a younger, healthier model, complete with bright boots.
The second half started and whatever Mo had at halftime meant that he could effectively kick the ball the length of the pitch, this meant that AP’s play became quite ‘direct’, it seemed to work though, a huge punt downfield led to confusion at the back, Gatenby shrugged off the defender, got in the way of the keeper and slotted the ball into the empty net. Game on. Rich replaced Jack on the left and the 5’s had their skipper watching from the side lines. Admittedly he had put himself in the recovery position, as he waited for Londons best known cab service, an ambulance. Back on the pitch the game had become rather dull as a spectacle, both teams going long and hoping for that lucky chance/moment of magic. Unfortunately, it was Winchmores lucky chance, as the ball came through to Mo he looked up to see if Gattenby and Dodimead were ready for a long ball counter, sadly he had forgotten to collect the ball during this process and so it went through his legs and presented the easiest of chances.
As this goal went in Burwell was being heaved into an ambulance; it’s still unknown whether he was given adrenaline due to the rash/swelling/collapsing throat, or due to disgust at the goalkeeper he had so very nearly put out for the season with a spot of ‘snow wrestling’ the week before. Either way AP were flagging, looking for that lucky chance/moment of magic. And here it came, Pete (boot wrapped with gaffer tape) glided down the wing and executed the cross of the game, whipped in between the two defenders on to Dodimead’s head. The keeper in no man’s land was already heading towards the back of the net to collect the ball, for unknown reasons though Dodimead decided to execute (what was later described as a ‘calm backpass’) the weakest of headers into the goalkeeper’s arms. As AP pressed the balls got longer and various free-kicks/ corners came to nothing, and then came the chance, Steve with the easiest of chances decided rather than head the ball into the back of the net that he would follow the Dodimead’s lead and gently caress the ball into the relieved goalkeepers arms.
AP huffed and puffed but frankly to no avail, getting the ball down on the deck must surely be the aim next week, as a team we have enough skill to be able to outplay the opposition we meet. A bit more composure and surpassing last years 5’s points total should be well within reach.