Scorers: Issac, Keverne
Alexandra Park 8XI 2015/16
Episode 1 – “KebabGate”
“Dear 8th XI. This is your new match-ball. It is expensive. Do not lose it. If you do, I will hunt down every one of you… and grot you in your sleep.” – Dave Macca, 12 September 2015.
And with the annual motivational speech out of the way, the AP 8s were off. Could 2014-15 be bettered? We went up on a technicality. We sang about it a lot. The Sondico Spice Boys were formed. Sam scored a shit goal and never shut up about it. Eric got banned for ages. Crawford twerked in Trinidad. Cass got his balls out… Time to see what joys this season has in store!
The summer had been turbulent, with teenage girls around the country weeping at the callous breakup of the Sondico Spice Boys. We’d been hit hard – Glassar the Wannabe Model had been pinched by the 7s, whilst traitors “two-pints-and- I’m-yours” Korek and “shit-lid” Robson had moved up to perform poorly in the 5s and 6s. Added to this exodus, injuries to Carnival Crawford and Uli Kanyespellhisnameikov left us in dire need of reinforcements. Thankfully, new recruits Farley, Isaac and Kavanagh have established themselves well in two convincing pre-season victories. A late drop out on the morning of the game wasn’t ideal however. Harrison “Slacker” Cass posted in Facebook that he had “succumbed to a dodgy kebab” and was glued to the loo. Selfishly refusing to do a Gary Lineker and shit himself for the cause, the 8s were down to a squad of 13.
We lined up with a 4-4-2. Gus was in goal, with a back four of Spinks, Jamie, Jack and Asim. Rory and Wilson were wide, with Sam and Eric in the middle behind Jenks and Paul up front. Having read Macca’s neverending rant in last week’s newsletter, we arrived at Preston Manor expecting a fox-destroyed wasteland but were pleasantly surprised to find two nets and the best surface we’ll play on all season. Finchleians 7s had won our league last year, so even before Kebabgate it was clear their 6s would offer us a real test. After an even opening to the game, Old Finch took the lead with half an hour gone; a set-piece from the left was prodded low past Gus on the volley. 0-1. But a carbon-copy equaliser wasn’t far away. Minutes later, Spinks whipped it in with pace and Paul glanced a deft header into the bottom corner.
1-1. Game on!
This seemed to rally Old Finch, and before half time we were riding our luck. Asim cleared off the line brilliantly before the otherwise dependable Jack scythed down the striker for a blatant penalty… Step forward Gustavo to get us out of jail – standing tall to palm the ball away out for a corner. Great save! All we needed to do was hold out for two minutes until half-time… but a lapse of judgement saw too many committed forward and their rapid striker took full advantage, slotting past an exasperated Gus. 1-2 at half-time.
Keverne and Kennedy came on at the break to offer us a physical presence and quality on the ball, and the move paid off. Kavanagh (who had been a menace all game) played a great ball through to an onrushing Keverne, who took the keeper by surprise with a first-time shot into the bottom corner. 2-2! The game had become a bit of a battle by this point, with a few cynical challenges and choice words being exchanged. Unfortunately, it was on the back of one such moment that Old Finch regained the lead – a quick free-kick caught AP napping and it was 2-3. Moments later, a direct free kick curled around a questionably positioned wall and it was 2-4 and realistically the game was beyond us.
A disappointing result and frustrating goals conceded, but overall a decent performance against a good quality side. Some standout performances – Jack played well on debut at the back, whilst Isaac battled up top and scored a good goal. Asim and Gustavo had magic moments to deny Old Finch at the back, but Man of the Match went to Rory Kavanagh for his swashbuckling display down the left.
Up the 8s. Spinks.