Sharp rise in London park muggings
PFFC 5 South Indies 1
Anyone suggesting, just weeks after their performance in Zlatníky, Bohemia, that PFFC could brush aside the previously undefeated league champions with a controlled display of counter-attacking football would have been offered King Lear’s faded and flower-strewn shirt and a period in secure accommodation.
But miracles do sometimes happen. In leafy Maida Vale, PF met South Indies and inflicted on them their first, startling, reverse of the season.
This fast-improving Philosophy side, though weakened by Ian’s absence to a recurrent neck injury, was fired with belief after a string of recent victories. “It’s a game we can definitely win”, the Gaffer had confidently predicted early in the week, and his willing squad responded with one of the team’s finest showings.
Despite the final over-whelming margin of victory, South Indies had the best of the opening minutes, but the Thinkers weathered this early storm and retaliated in the best possible manner, with a crucial goal from Al on the quarter-hour.
Nor was this just a minor set-back for the champions, because fifteen minutes later the popular Cornishman did it again, to underline just how much Philosophy Football were determined to impose themselves on this fixture.
It was vital to retain this narrow advantage until the interval, since to have conceded anything in the closing minutes of the half may well have handed the initiative to the opposition, but in the face of intense pressure the back four held firm, and Rob was faultless in goal.
Even at 2-0, after the break nothing was taken for granted. Sitting back would have invited retribution. But after a first half chasing shadows, Stefan finally got his chance and capitalised on a great opportunity to fire in a third.
South Indies were now in desperate trouble and threw everything forward and Philosophy needed plenty of resolve as the hour approached to retain their hard-won advantage.
One goal was conceded and South Indies struck a post, but chances were kept to a minimum and the tide turned. Now the champions themselves were penned back to defend a series of corners and free kicks.
Filippo and Stefan had run themselves into the ground and with 25 minutes remaining were replaced by Joe and Sola, a double substitution which kept up the pressure on opponents who were beginning visibly to crack.
Throughout a keenly contested match, the defence was rock-solid, with Filippo, Paul, Brian and Owen vacuuming up all danger like a set of red and black Dysons.
Midfield could not afford a single lapse in concentration until the final satisfying minutes when two crisply-worked counter-attacking moves were finished by Keir and Al to crush the last hopes of the opposition. Throughout, Raj was tireless, and with Jez snapped ferociously for the loose ball, Richard caused panic with his throws and all supported each other valiantly.
The front runners converted their chances at regular intervals to deny South Indies any opportunity to recover.
At times the passing movements between these elements of the team, using pace and the full width of the pitch, were little short of mouth-watering.
At the whistle, the broad grin on the face of the sometimes taciturn Gaffer told its own story: that organisation and spirit had memorably won the day.