Chips laid down for Philosophy
Athletico Chips 3 PFFC 1
It should have been a case of out of the fire and into the frying pan when Philosophy took on fellow Premiership new boys Athletico Chips on Wednesday night, but the Thinkerers were on the end of another battering as any hopes they had of ending their current run of poor results were dashed during a stop-start 3-1 defeat at Maida Vale.
Going into the game just two days after a battling 2-0 defeat at the hands of reigning champions Invisible, Philosophy had every right to be confident of getting a good result against a team they beat 4-1 in a pre-season friendly.
The Thinkers were without a number of key players with skipper Ally, the dynamic defensive duo of Damian and Max, and Clarkey all absent. Marco Tre was also still not fully match fit after coming back from a hamstring strain. Philosophy's new boss, Ronnie Barker, put concerns about his on-the-run son to one side as he was forced to do more tinkering than he would have liked. Philosophy once again fielded an unfamiliar side. Kieran stepped into the centre of defence (strictly a one-off!) alongside Filippo while Jamie came in to strengthen the central midfield alongside Cornish Al.
Despite the enforced changes Philosophy made a strong start, reproducing some of the passing football that saw them give the champions a run for their money on Monday night. At the same time Athletico Chips looked little improved from the previous encounter and the early signs looked good for the Thinkers.
The initial optimism proved well founded as Philosophy capitalised on their bright start to strike first. Dennis latched on to a Cornish Al corner and his turning volley was fumbled by the keeper, leaving Kieran to force the ball home from all of 2 yards. After the goal Philosophy continued to threaten and had numerous chances to extend their lead. However, as the first half progressed Athletico Chips began to get more and more into the game, pressing an increasingly panicked Philosophy side and exposing some defensive frailties, especially from set pieces.
Eventually, a break on the left wing earned the Chips a corner. The ensuing in-swinger from the left went across the goal completely unchallenged. The swerving ball found Gibbo at an awkward height on the far post and he could do little to prevent the ball ricocheting off his upper body and dropping over the line. Ten minutes later the Thinkers defence was once again caught napping. A neatly chipped free kick from 5 yards outside the Philosophy box found two Athletico Chips runners unmarked on the six yard box, one of whom slotted home to put them 2-1 ahead.
Almost immediately after Chips' second goal, Philosophy were hit by a third blow when goalkeeper Brian sustained a thigh injury that immobilised him for the remainder of the match. With Brian's injury a major problem, Filippo was forced to make some tough decisions at half-time. Brian decided to battle on while both Marco (coming on in the midfield alongside Jamie) and Owen (slotting in at left back) joined the action.
The second half saw Philosophy pushing on in a bid to grab the equaliser but it was clear that a second game in three days was taking its toll on the legs of most of the team. Excellent battling performances at the back from Adam (forced to left back at half-time) and Vipul helped keep Chips at bay for most of the second half. However, as the game became more stretched and with Brian struggling, albeit bravely, with injury, Chips increasingly looked the more likely to score.
It was a credit to Philosophy's spirit that it took Chips most of the second half to finally get their third. In fact, despite the continued misfortune, Philosophy worked hard all over the pitch and handled the sudden changes and disruption very well. Unfortunately they just lacked the final killer blow that could have, and should have, earned them their second win of the new Premiership season.
Following the pattern of previous matches, the game was brought to an abrupt end when once more Hani forgot to put 50p in the meter, and the lights went out early on another disappointing evening for the Thinkerers.
PFFC: (4-4-2): Brian; Vipul, Filippo, Kieran (c), Gibbo; Adam, Cornish Al, Jamie, Ronan; Dennis, Mauro. Subs: Marco (45), Owen (45)
Crowd Attendance: 2 (Gibbo's friend Angela, all the way from Washington, and a mysterious girl who seems to like Marco!)