Stade Municipale de Perly – Saturday 17th May 2014,  11.00

A match report by Anthony Fabb

The tourbus entered the Pearly Gates (I’m here all week) to a frenzy of media and cameramen (Richie Hancock). This gave the players a great opportunity to emulate their professional footballing heroes by donning oversized headphones exiting the coach. David Bowie’s words “We could be heroes, just for one day” rang through our minds and it felt like we might realise our dream in a beautiful Alpine setting under clear blue skies.

After a warm welcome from the Perly boys the team descended into the depths of the Stade Municipale de Perly. A light out in the changing room was either clever off-putting tactics from Perly or a telling premonition of what may have been to come.

We were roused into life by Keith and told to wear the AP shirt with pride and we confidently strolled out onto the excellent Perly turf – Albert Rd and ‘The Slope’ this was not – the pitch was flat, bobble-less and had an even covering of grass previously un-experienced by AP’s finest.

A series of photos with the physically superior oppo followed but did not dampen our spirits. A professional warm up and team huddle served as extra spice and anticipation for the game. Vive le parque alexandre!!!

Moments before kick-off, Matt Piner’s comments that we could not lose to a team with Comic Sans font shirt numbers was well justified, but how would the game actually pan out?

Starting XI:-

Lloyd “The Cat” Edwards

Matt “Liam Gallagher” Piner

Pat “Teetotal” McGlogan a/k/a Judas1

Chris “Aussie” Thurston a/k/a Judas 2

Liam “Bodie and” Doyle

Robin “Tardy” Law

Jimmy “The Legs” Lambert

“Swiss” Tony McGilvray – a/k/a Judas 3

Anthony “The Colonel” Fabb ©

Jon “Roy Walker – Say What You See” Gallaway

Banny “Welbeck” N’Gola

Rotating Subs:-

Chris “Still Got It” Allen

Tom “Taxi Dodger” Clark

Nick “Bruce” Lee

Mike “Bardgie” Bardgett

Perly play in Swiss National Division 5 and are all ex-division 1 players with rumours of an ex-USA international who played in the ‘94 world cup so we knew we were in for a tough afternoon.

We made a really good start for first 15 minutes gliding the ball around tika-taka style, getting into a number of good wide positions and looking more than a match for our more esteemed opposition. If anything was letting us down it was our play in the final third, where possession was being given away a little too cheaply, but we were up against experienced and well drilled defenders.

I don’t recall many clear cut chances by us but a free kick from Banny was excellently struck into the far corner which, had it been one yard further in the corner, would have beaten the keeper.

To be fair, the oppo started running us a little ragged in midfield, as the half progressed and we desperately tried to close them down in the midday sun, but they started picking the passes into gaps in midfield and getting into our back four, as we were finding it hard to press as a midfield unit. They were comfortable with the ball at the back and often had players stepping up into midfield but on the whole we weren’t overly troubled as the defence were well organised and Chris and Pat at centre back were solid.

The best move of the half came just before half time from Perly but Lloyd was more than equal to it pulling out a worldy to keep it 0-0 at half time. It was a solid, shapely first half performance where everyone had worked hard and we went in for a well deserved rest in pretty hot conditions, cue half time hot tea from Philippe.

The half time teamtalk centred around keeping the ball a bit better in midfield and in the final third. We acknowledged that our midfield had thankfully stopped chasing down the ball down so much and that we had a better shape against their dangerous three man centre midfield. We spoke about playing the easy ball whenever possible and slowly build ground through possession, no need to move ball swiftly to the front in 2-3 passes as this resulted in losing possession up the field and being liable to the counter attack.

The second half got underway and within five minutes came arguably our best chance of the day when the colonel played the ball square to “swiss” tony who spotted fabb’s continued run into the box and he slipped a good through-ball between centre back and full back into fabb’s path, who hit it first time from 20 yards out with a decently struck effort which bounced just in front of the keeper but sadly didn’t squirm under him.

Banny came back on for Bardgie and offered us a stronger, more physical presence up front and we started to get some joy when Banny was laying the ball off and we worked the wings.

Sadly, after 55 mins the breakthrough came and we were undone by a decent cross from the left wing into their big centre forward who rose above Pat and Chris to head home from 6 yards out.

We huffed and we puffed until the end and got behind them a few times but sadly the goal wasn’t to be. Perly’s second goal came when we failed to clear a corner and the third, right at the death, was a break and emphatic finish as AP piled forward.

It was a well contested, and not uneven game played in a good spirit and we look forward to the visit of Perly Certoux to AP for the rematch next year.

One of the highlights of the day was the presentation of the number 14 shirt by Banny and Pat (who incidentally added a certain ‘je ne sais quoi’ to the trip as French speakers) to Perly for their wonderful hospitality. The shirt was promptly hung not far from an Orange Barca shirt.

Hopefully, the orange kit of AP will bring Perly happy memories for years to come for all those who played and were in attendance that day.

We thank you Perly Certoux FC and we would especially like to thank all those who made this trip possible – Philippe Wick and Ray Gerlach. I cannot think of any way in which the tour could have been bettered…..well, actually I can, her name was Celine in the Chat Noir but that’s another story…..not that there’s much to tell.


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