Red man prevail

PFFC 1 Inter Aztec 0

Chris, 18 November 2001


This was the clash of the early season leaders: high-flying Inter Aztec against that team of intellectual distinction, PFFC. The inevitability of this coming-together was that one winning streak would be snapped; the only question was: which one?

Inter Aztec had tallied 26 goals in their first four games and featured the somewhat mysterious ‘Savill’, scorer of 14 of those goals. PFFC possessed a stingy defence that had conceded a paltry 2 goals in two matches. Prolific goal-scoring versus a tuned defence ­ a classic encounter. So, did the old adage ‘the best defence is a good offence’ hold true? Quite simply, it did not. On that day, the best defence was, in fact, a good defence.

Rob the Cat was back between the posts after giving himself a late medical clearance (wonder if he gives prescriptions too?). He was immediately back on form, and this had the benefit of allowing Ian to move to centre half. Both played strong games and Ian distinguished himself as man of the match.

The game started with more adrenaline than skill, as the ball was whipped around by two teams trying to come to terms with a slick artificial surface. There were tense moments at both ends: Stefan’s swiftness for PFFC versus some slick moves by a slight, yet seemingly dangerous Aztec striker.

Despite these threats, the breakthrough came in the form of a Clarkey run which ended in his close inspection of the Astroturf. Penalty. Up stepped Ian, and calmly struck the ball in to the lower left-hand corner ­ much to the chagrin of an Aztec team not used to falling behind. From this moment on, PFFC showed a dogged determination to defend that narrow lead by holding form, communicating and ­ perhaps most of all ­ outworking the opponent. Despite protecting a lead, PFFC came closest to scoring next­ a desperate goal-line clearance by a defender the only thing stopping Chris’s hopeful shot.

The second half saw similar struggles as the teams battled each other and the slick surface. Tension rose as it became increasingly apparent that one goal might be enough. As the game progressed, one sensed that Inter Aztec was beginning to taste something bitter; it would prove to be the taste of defeat. In a bizarre mirror-image incident, at that exact moment Brian was buying himself a bitter after showing up at Regent’s Park to no philosophy and no football.

With dangerous minutes left, Keir and Richard came on to relieve the front two. And it was not long before PFFC came oh-so-close to scoring, as Richard’s teasing shot from 40 yards out rolled just wide of the post. The substitutes were very much involved in the play ­ evidence of the depth of PFFC.

The closing minutes introduced a new foe ­ a cheap watch worn by the referee. In an incredibly tense 8-minute injury time, Aztec threw all they had at the men in red. Thankfully, and justifiably, PFFC’s stalwart defenders held the prodigious goal scorers of Inter Aztec at bay.