It's not always so easy
PFFC 4 Sporting Tooting 1
Sunday morning deep in the heart of Madness country, and the PFFC baggy-trousered bandwagon rolled on with a speedy rematch against the recently vanquished Sporting Tooting. Judging by the number of new faces in the opposition line-up, sport is enjoying something of a renaissance in the Tooting area, and early indications were that this would be a far harder game than the ten-goal drubbing handed out on the Somme-like fields of Clapham a couple of weeks earlier.
Matters were fairly evenly balanced in the first quarter until Keir stepped up from the midfield, cut inside his marker and unleashed a shot with venom and accuracy that belied his Scottish ancestry. Not knowing how to celebrate scoring, however, reminded us all of his roots.
However in the best Socialist traditions of the club (don’t tell Al, he thinks we’re on a fund-raiser for the Tories) we conspired to share our spoils by gifting an equaliser to Tooting. No blame at all could be laid at the feet of Ian in the nets who was left without a chance as the defence failed to close down a Tooting player whose backlift took the older ones amongst us back to the glory days of Superstriker and left us looking skywards to see if we could find the enormous hand that must have crashed down on his head to hit the ball so hard.
The match was, as ever, enlivened by the running Polish commentary given by Tooting midfielder Woitjek [shurely not the Pope? – ed.], who had I think played a similar role when Neil and I took our partners to see My Fair Lady – suffice to say there wasn’t a ‘Wouldn’t it be lovely’ to be heard until Neil James picked up on a rapier ball from the back (mine) and in one small gazelle-like movement dispatched the second goal.
Cornish Al marked his return to form with a well-taken goal just before half-time to give the all important cushion at the turn-around.
The second half was a quieter and yet somehow more satisfying period for PFFC. The midfield combination of Ally and Kieran really took a firm grip of the centre of the park. Neil and Gibbo started to work very well as a pair and both were unlucky on numerous occasions not to add to their tally. At the back Lawrence made an excellent debut and his cultured left foot and powerful heading were a great addition to the defence. Got to do something about that hair though.
The fourth and final Philosophy goal came after a period of sustained pressure and quality passing and movement which culminated in Cornish Al hitting a far ball cross which tested the bravery of the keeper and centre forward. Neil used all of his spring to get above his 5 feet 7 inches and head home an excellent goal which further cemented his position as the Grafton League’s leading goal-scorer. But for the closure of the transfer window the Chairman’s commitment to hold on to his best young(ish) players might have been more severely tested.
All in all, not the best we’ve played this season, but an efficient and committed performance to beat a dramatically improved and (very) Sporting Tooting.
PFFC (4-4-2): Ian Coyne; Lawrence Taylor, Brian Bannister, Paul Kayley, Owen Mather; Keir, Kieran, Ally, Cornish Al; Gibbo, Neil James.]