Holloway we go ...
Dukla Holloway 0 PFFC 4
The Dutch called it Total in the 70s. Ruud Gullit called it Sexy in the 90s. Today, in front of a packed stadium in Chiswick, it was called Philosophy.
The team arrived to find that the premier pitch (The Stadium) had been laid out for PFFC's visit to Dukla Holloway in the cup, and the travelling support (three adults, one juvenile*) weren't to be disappointed.
On past cup form, Dukla were pre-match favourites, having dumped PFFC out of the cup last season, but with fresh faces in both teams, the bookies wiped the form board clean and a new battle would commence. The pitch was in good form, although a little heavy from the week's rain.
Both teams started brightly with strong challenges going in which resulted in the ref blowing for most tackles, fair or otherwise. It was PFFC who broke the deadlock, however, when Ian powered home a penalty after Marco was brought down in the box. 15 mins, 1-0 to Philosophy.
For the remainder of the half, both teams threatened but couldn't capitalise on some nice build up play. Half-time, 1-0.
The second half resumed with no changes (no subs contributing to that statistic) and PFFC faced a stern test of character if they were to gain their first cup victory of the season. Dukla, however, came out determined to turn their fortunes around, but some fine defending from the back-four-plus-one-more resulted in their efforts staying out of the net. This defending excellence eased the pressure for the midfield and allowed them to play the only way they know how with flair and insightful penetration. The crucial second goal came from a lovely free-kick from the right which Puskas pounced on when Dukla failed to clear. 55 mins, 2-0 Philosophy.
The third goal followed quickly with lovely play from back to front. Owen interchanged passes with Ally, who did likewise with Marco and the ball found its way to Puskas who fired home from thirty yards. As soon as the ball hit the back of the net he yelled “Ronnie Radford”, and it was a goal that the great man would have treasured. 60 mins, 3-0 Philosophy.
Dukla began to buckle after this with at least three of their players asking the ref “how long to go?”, their minds obviously beginning to drift despondently to work on Monday and rush-hour congestion. The fine PFFC performance was rounded off in great style when Keir found his shooting boots to chip the keeper deftly from 18 yards and kill off Dukla completely. 88 mins, 4-0 Philosophy.
The performance was such that all eleven men played outstandingly and refused to let Dukla play their own game. The telepathy on that field was electric and I know we did the Gaffer proud. If PFFC dare to perform like that again this season, the hallowed words ‘cup run’ just may be uttered without fear and dread.
*official stats courtesy of Motty.