Black day for Red men
Eastern Promise 6 PFFC 1
This game got off to an inauspicious start when the Gaffer’s prediction that we would have a near full-strength squad turned out to be ‘unlucky’. The evening began uneasily as news filtered through that new star keeper Marco Quattro had flu. At kick-off we had just about mustered 11, with Ronan appearing later to make an impact from the bench.
From the whistle, Eastern Promise tore into the heart of the Philosophy defence like a pack of rabid, though admittedly highly skilled, dogs. We found ourselves struggling to compete both physically and technically, and it was not long before the goals began to seep in. There was no deluge, but a constant drizzle over the 75 (sic) minutes of the encounter, with the final tally being 6-1 (so the stats tell me, although must admit slightly losing count): a harsh reminder that there is some work to be done if we are to compete with the better teams in the league.
The Gaffer was away for this encounter, and had handed the reigns to the technical director. Beginning with a 4-4-2 formation, only 10 minutes had gone when, at 2-0 down, it became necessary to switch to a 4-3-3 in an effort to salvage something from the game. Andy moved from left wing into attack to unsettle the Promise defence with his runs. While this strategy definitely improved Philosophy’s performance, it remained a tall order to make much impact on a stubborn opposition back four. Mauro did well, as ever, especially in holding the ball up and winning his fair share of the aerial encounter. The writer’s main intervention was to lodge Eastern Promise’s ball halfway up an adjacent conifer in a fit of frustration.
In midfield, Ally and Kieran competed well but, not surprisingly, also struggled to contain the waves of attack. It was encouraging, though, to hear cries of ‘Alger’s up!’ from Philosophy’s midfield tyro, a sign that he had put the crowd abuse of Rome behind him. Cornish Al provided some trickery up the right flank, although reflected afterwards that he had felt his full 33 years out there, fair enough when he, along with some others on the team, were old enough to have fathered some of the opposition.
Defensively, Owen gallantly stepped into the breach left by Marco’s absence, perhaps not knowing what a busy time he had in store. Across the back Dodo, Damo, Fil and Vipul also had a difficult time, but it was good to see the passion which lurks beneath the Philosophy shirt when Damo was spotted disconsolately trudging the streets of Maida Vale after the final whistle.
No report of this match would be complete without mention of Philosophy’s consolation goal, scored deep into the second half. Filippo, straying momentarily from his position at centre back, popped up on the edge of the Eastern Promise box to drill unerringly into the bottom left corner of the opposition net, probably accompanied by a cry of ‘Hoof!’. So at least Philosophy can take away the positive that Fil has recovered his goal-scoring touch. Better times lie in store in 2006.