Scorers: Charles, Fox, Spencer, Osyindu, Arowosafe
On a freakishly hot Halloween Saturday, the 4s, appropriately representing pumpkins in our famous orange jerseys, faced a well-rounded Old Lyonians in the league – eager for three points and to ‘get our season going’.
We started brightly, with Arowsafe and Osindyu ghosting past defenders on each wing, Diao and Spencer full of tricks and treats down the middle and our back four goblin up anything that came our way. However, despite shot after shot and chance after chance, there was a familiar haunting feeling that we simply couldn’t seem to stick the ball in the back of the net. There was no doubt we had Old Lyonians spooked. Playing down the hill, we broke through their back four on numerous occasions and looked particularly threatening from set pieces, but still there seemed a curse on our heads and the elusive first goal simply wouldn’t come.
After a lengthy delay which saw their ‘keeper nearly collapse due to fatigue – which they put down to diabetes but I think was because he feared our attacking prowess – the inevitable happened. As the opposition scrambled away yet another purposeful corner and punted the ball up field, their wide player, an all but invisible man for the first 30 minutes, crossed for their skeletal striker to blast the ball in the back of our net, leaving Jayden in goal absolutely aghast.
One nil down at half-time, we had a discussion that is becoming all too familiar with the 4s this season – just compose yourself in front of goal and we’ll win the match. Wilson was particularly vocal in reminding our forwards that – in the words of Football Manager – you don’t need to blast the ball to score a goal…
As the second half began, we again began to threaten. Within 5 minutes, Wilson had a chance to show the team how it was done. After a phenomenal turn from Diao which left the defender standing for dead, he picked out Wilson just 5 yards out from goal. With his own words ringing in his head, he side footed the ball with purpose. A good connection, straight wide of the post to leave the team still one nil down. The team were left mystified, standing like zombies in disbelief at such a miss.
To make matters worse, just minutes later, in a rare corner for the away side, the smallest player on the pitch beat his marker and – all credit to him – directed a perfect header into the top corner of our net. Two nil down, with the opposition having two shots all game. Yet we did something that in previous weeks we have been guilty of not – we didn’t panic. In fact, with captain McGlogan’s tactical tweaks and motivation, much like Frankenstein before him – a monster of a team was created. First, like a bat out of hell, McMorran charged forward to win the ball at the back post from a Spencer freekick, leathering it back across goal from an acute angle. There were banshee-like screams from the side-lines that it’d gone in, and either way, the follow up from Fox (in the box) was clearly over the line and the comeback was on. Shortly after, Emmanuel, having rested since half time, then returned to haunt their tiring back line, chasing a back pass, beating the ‘keeper to it and bundling the ball home. 2-2 and then we’re on the ascendancy.
We then took the lead with a beautifully taken header from Spencer who climbed higher than the centre backs to head the ball into the back of the net. Despite the physical challenges, Spencer remained as ghoul as you like to nod us into the lead. While we celebrated, Old Lyonians looked as though all the blood had been sucked from their bodies. Charles added a fourth after lovely work from Lanigan and Smith, with the comeback well and truly complete after Osindyu picked up a delightful crossfield ball to curl one into the back of the net – a truly wicked strike.
The game was over, a five-two demolition of a good Lyonians side. Despite the nightmare start, the team rallied together, remained calm, patient and kept to our football to win the game. If we can do that more often, there is every chance we can do well in this league.