Apologies if there are large gaps in this report… I’ll be honest, my memory of this perfect end to the season is somewhat hazy. I was shepherding a ball back to Gus, got a push in the back and the next thing I knew was greeting our Portuguese stopper’s knees with my face. I daydreamed my way through the last 15 minutes.
What’s impossible to forget is the sheer commitment and hard work that earned AP a fantastic win against arguably the strongest team in the division. Southgate have reached two cup finals this year (winning the AFA Cup against teams divisions higher), and with many games in hand still have a real shot at promotion and the title. On this display, there’s no reason AP can’t look forward to next season confident of similar success.
Our fantastic team spirit, built throughout the season and hardened through bountiful chanting at the awards dinner, won us this game. We defended from the front, the midfield chased, tracked back and harried and the defence repelled a siege to earn a brilliant clean sheet. Oli joined Uli at centre-back to form the most confusing first-name partnership of the season and both were brilliant. Spinks, Asim and Wilson all put their bodies on the line. Gus made a brilliant save. The list goes on.
Going forward, we created chances with real quality and the winning goal, coming early in the first half, was a peach. Somebody whipped a ball in (sorry, this is cloudy) and it fell to Louis Glassar on the edge of the box. Taking the ball on the volley, the 8s talisman smashed a volley low across the keeper….. It screamed into the far corner. An absolute worldie! His celebration however, definitely wasn’t. Vetoing himself of Man of the Match nominations, Spice Boy (Posh?) subjected teammates to a Galloway-esque topless kneeling bow that was like something from Gladiators. He was rightly booked.
Southgate pressed and pressed but the 8s battled and battled, with Wilson, Cass and Varrall (continuing their fine form from the weekend) pivotal out wide. In the centre, Heath, Korek and Cowen WANTED IT. The warrior Tom Keverne was back up front, as valuable winning headers and linking play as the antiques he sells on Channel 4. Emmanuel and Spice Boy led the line superbly.
The win sees the 8s rise to 2nd for the timebeing, with all 18 games played. 34 points is a decent tally, bettering last year and in the unlikely event results go our way in the next week could yet be enough to take the 8s up.
Regardless of whether that is the case, playing for the 8s has been an absolute pleasure this year. A couple of avoidable losses early in the season (Old Lyonians and the 9s without a keeper), mixed with a bit of bad luck (Vamps away and Winchmore home) will probably prove decisive in the promotion hunt, but if the squad stays together the title is ours for the taking in 2015/16. The camaraderie in the camp is second-to-none.
A pleasure to sign off with our best team performance of the season.
Up the 8s.
by John Spinks