Scorer : Fletcher
A Friday night downfall equivalent to the heavens opening and a game scheduled to be played Albert Road 99 times out of 100 usually means one thing – Postponed. However in this rare blip Albert Road was playable and confirmed via the Alexandra Park twitter, it was game day.
As the team assembled at Albert Road there was a real sense of optimism despite Old Stationers challenging for promotion. A fresh set of new players for the tens drawing on school friends to make up the numbers this week. So for once knowing a bit about each other’s game.
Before the game there was still no sign of the ref at 3:05 and panic started to ensue through the teams. However after a call from John Morris Max had been assured that the ref had gone to the Racecourse rather than the home of football that is Albert Road.
On the refs arrival he did inform us that the halves would be 40 minutes each as he had a date later that evening. Much of our amusement he insisted in checking all our body parts for jewellery (bit embarrassing if you’ve got a Prince Albert – ed) and a speech fit for hundreds about how the game should be played..(move over Howard Webb)
Once the game finally kicked off we really got stuck in and our defence was arguably the best we had fielded all season (your old man not being there was purely coincidental – ed). We were creating chances and winning the 50/50’s in the middle of the park and pressing high. Unfortunately when your luck is out it’s out – an Old stationers midfielder picked the ball up about 40 yards out andwith a toe poke which could only be described as a freak accident we were 1-0 down, much to the despair of our goal keeper Ruari who hadn’t put a foot wrong.
Our heads didn’t go down and a great press in the midfield led to Alex Yiassoumis slotting in the marksmen that is Chris Fletcher for goal number 300+ of his AP career. Halftime lead to more optimism and we came racing out the blocks and a ball knocked from deep and flicked on by Fletch dumbfounded their goal keeper the onrushing Alex hit the post, and some brilliant last ditch defending from Old stationers managed to get the ball away. Unfortunately there is a saying that lightening doesn’t strike twice. This however isn’t the case at Albert Road where the pitch can be a huge decider on who wins and looses. A harsh free kick against John who was brilliant at centre back all game was taken and huge bobble off a divot on the uneven surface led to the ball looping over our keeper. We could only to stop and watch the hilarity of a truly comical goal against the run of play. Despite this we rallied and pushed for an equaliser. We were finally rewarded as Dominic Santos struck a free kick against the arm and we had a penalty.
What happened next could only be described as an event that is still keeping me awake at night. A player making his debut for the tens ran to the ball and picked it up and cradled it. Tom D’lima assured me if a man is that confident he couldn’t possibly miss. Lo and behold after replacing the ball about ten times on the spot as it kept moving he put it wide and all our hard work was undone. More pressure was piled on by us and the kitchen sink was out and in our last ditch to grab an equaliser a defensive error at the back led there undeserved third.
All in all as first game as skipper it was a great performance. We deserved to arguably win but no one who played can be dispirited with the way we played. Thanks to everyone who came down and especially the debutants for the tens we look forward to see you in the shirt again soon.
Man of the match: John Puddlephat and the rest of the AP defence with Reece Jackson being a real revelation at left back.