Invisible prove invincible
PFFC 0 Invisible FC 4 (Winter Cup)
Philosophy Football, unbeaten since joining the LondonersFC League, arrived at the magnificent, almost derelict Willesden arena for a late kick-off against their toughest opposition since leaving the Camden league: the ironically named Invisible FC.
Ironic because you can't really miss this lot. A few athletic looking footballers with the rest of the team comprised of 70's football relics, shipwrecked sailors and one absurdly large bloke whose mobility and skill would prove to be a surprise for the Thinkers.
Philosophy were forced to start the game without their talismanic captain, the blonde-bearded Ally Clow, but welcomed back experienced midfielder Cornish Al who returns to the side after a trial at Torquay (He's a barrister... he wasn't actually trying out for Torquay United).
Kieran, fresh from being sent off for foul and abusive language in a friendly in Devon at the weekend*, stood in as captain until Ally's half-time arrival and Bruce took on the goalkeeping mantle in the absence of both Rob and Adrian.
Philosophy also welcomed, thanks to brief negotiations between the gaffer and a shady agent, Ricardo who can be described as a loan striker. According to his agent (who acted more like his pimp) he's played at a semi-professional level.
The opening twenty minutes were fairly unremarkable as Philosophy doggedly battled to prevent Invisible, who are top of the LondonersFC Premier League, to get a foothold on the game. Few chances were carved out for the top flight team as PFFC forced them into long range shots. The thinkers managed to launch a couple of attacks on the break which generally resulted in wayward shooting.
Despite Philosophy's efforts in containing Invisible, the breakthrough came for the Premiership club about halfway through the first half when a well placed shot from the edge of the box found it's way past the diving Bruce into the bottom corner.
A second goal was to follow before too long. Philosophy dwelled on the ball in the defence and failed to clear gifting Invisible the ball and allowing them to nick in and slot the ball past Bruce.
The third goal came from similar calamitous defending but in fairness resulted in a superb long range volley from the most visible of the Invisible players. Bruce, with the help of his defenders, managed to clear the ball up the field but it landed right in front of the man, who ate all the pies, who wasted no time in wellying it into the back of the net.
The half-time whistle went and it soon became apparent that the stranger on the touchline wasn't a U-boat captain after all but was actually skipper Ally Clow who was to replace the world's number one footballer and winner of seven Nobel peace prizes, Gibbo.
The gaffer rallied the troops and Philosophy set about their task in the second half with heads held high. Despite an early goal from the visiting Invisible, PFFC were far and away the better team in the second half, as has been the case in both the Thinkers' league games in the midweek league this season.
Dan took on somewhat of a free role and the superb Ronan overlapped down the left and helped create a few openings. Philosophy pushed on and it looked like Edgar might be rewarded for his tireless running.
A few free kicks and quality corner crossing brought PFFC close. Dan saw a shot that looked destined for the back of the net go agonisingly wide and Kieran got on the end of a cross and could only force the slippery ball into the hands of the waiting keeper.
The final whistle went and Invisible offered their plaudits for a terrific battle. The scoreline was not a true reflection of the game and the more these Philosophy players play together, week in and week out, the better they'll get.
According to the Londoners website PFFC have now qualified for the knock-out stage on goal difference, beating the BBC to the second slot in the group.
PFFC (4-4-2): Bruce; Danny, Ronan, Vipul, Brian (Due); Gibbo (Ally - 45mins), Kieran (c), Dan, Cornish Al; Edgar, Ricardo
* I was at the game and I can tell you in all fairness that the sending off was a travesty of justice. I overheard the whole affair and at the most a verbal warning should have been issued. In a recent statement Kieran declared 'I am not a rude and abusive person, I just love my fucking football'.