Philosophy kick off with a thumping win
PFFC 5 Grafton FC 1
On a day when the weather was the main talking point, Philosophy kicked off the season with a performance that was equal parts style and substance.
However, the Thinkers started this first game of the season with only ten men (as did Grafton). This ten was a mixture of experience and youth, with one Philosopher making his debut. A three-man defence of Ally, Andrea and Mario was deployed in front of Kadeem in goal. The midfield was a new mix, with Adam and Joeslyn playing in the two deep-lying positions. The wide right position was filled by Will. On the left, we had debutant Michael Blanks. Up front was where the sacrifice was made, as our usual three-pronged attack was one prong short. Matt started in the number 10 role, playing behind James, the lone striker.
Philosophy asserted their authority right from the kick-off, putting pressure on high up the pitch and making Grafton play the ball long. Both teams tried to use the conditions to their advantage, with Kadeem using his long kicks to pressurise the opposition defence. Throughout the entire game, the wings were where Philosophy's greatest attacking threats came from, and it was here that the first goal was created. Matt was released down the left. With a couple of team mates in the box, he attempted a cross. However, due to the weather conditions (or sheer quality from Matt), the ball flew over Grafton's keeper and into the net at the far post: 1-0 to Philosophy. Philosophy's good play had warranted that goal, and it wasn't long before they had their second. Quick feet by Will on the right drew a foul from Grafton. Adam stepped up and placed the ball beautifully over the wall and into the right hand side of the goal: 2-0. Grafton hardly managed to put any pressure on our goal in the first half, with their only opportunity coming from a corner. Some poor marking led to a header on goal, which was expertly saved by Kadeem - memories of David Seaman against Paul Peschisolido came to mind. With that, the half drew to a close, with Philosophy leading 2-0.
From the outset of the second half, you could tell that there was a renewed aggression and determination from Grafton. They were on top for the first period of the half, but they couldn’t make that pressure tell, as Philosophy broke and scored a third. This goal was almost a copy of the first. Matt was released down the left hand side and he had support in the middle, so he whipped a cross in. However, with a mixture of luck and good fortune, the ball again flew over the keeper’s head, and it was 3-0 to Philosophy. This didn’t seem to deter Grafton; they kept putting on pressure and, finally, their efforts were rewarded. A corner came in and was cleared by a Philosophy defender. However, it wasn’t cleared far enough and the defence didn’t squeeze out in time, as Grafton were able to fired a shot back in from the edge of the box. The shot ended up in the top corner, and with that Grafton were back in the game: 3-1.
It was just after this that Philosophy introduced their eleventh player. Paul Clarke (Clarkey), who had arrived during the match, came on and played in one of the two 'number 10' roles, alongside Matt and behind James. Philosophy had rested somewhat on that three-goal lead and it had been reduced. But Grafton's goal only seemed to spur on the Reds, as for the rest of the match they were ones on top and in control. A fourth was scored when a through-ball was played down the middle towards Matt. With a defender and the goalkeeper charging down on the ball, it stuck in a puddle. This completely threw off the defending team and with them unable to stop their momentum, and Matt still in a comfortable position, he was able to slot the ball home into an empty net: 4-1. Then, a few minutes later came the final goal. Some good play led to Matt being played through on the left. History was to repeat itself once again as the ball was crossed in and flew over the despairing goalkeeper and into the net. With that goal, and not much else afterwards, Philosophy completed a 5-1.
This was a great start to the season, with four goals to Matt and a superb free kick from Adam ensuring that Philosophy made a statement to the rest of the league early on, that we can be a team to be feared.
PFFC (3-4-1-1): Kadeem; Andrea, Mario, Ally; Will, Joselyn, Adam (1), Michael; Matt (4); James
Sub: Clarkey (55')