The ring of confidence

PFFC 7 Phoenix B&G 1

Owen, 3 November 2002


During the week up to this Regents Park showdown, the collective memory of the country had been on Bill Giles and his infamous weather report in which he told the nation that a woman had rung the BBC to enquire about a monstrous hurricane about to batter these shores. Giles dismissed this claim with a cheery quip, not to worry, and hinted the woman may have been insane! Cue the worst storms to hit the UK in 150 years. Last week was only second to that apocalyptic episode, so it was with some surprise and relief that PFFC took to the field of play at all!

After a well fought draw with Strollers it was time for PFFC to get back to winning ways, and they started the match with a 20-minute spell of dazzling pass and move football, recalling the old Anfield ethos of letting the ball do the work! Phoenix B&G were outplayed and found it difficult to match our pace, and it was through a well taken Neil James goal that PFFC took the lead. However, we then seemed to take our foot off the gas and allow B&G more time and space and, on a pitch that was becoming a little heavy, PFFC gradually surrendered control. B&G equalised after we lost possession in a promising move to give the opposition a two on two situation with Paul and Brian back-pedalling furiously. Rob, through no fault of his own, slipped trying to adjust his position and their striker rifled into the bottom corner: 1-1. PFFC were not too downcast – Brian instilled confidence with various rallying cries – and just before the interval, Cornish Al whipped in a perfectly flighted corner met by a bullet header from Ian that John Hartson would have been proud of. PFFC's training-ground routine had paid dividends.

The second half began with Chris taking Stefan's place, and PFFC attacked with renewed confidence. Neil, ever a thorn in the side of B&G defence, was judged by Cornish Al (who was officiating by now!) to have been pushed; Ian converted the penalty with a mighty thwack of his trusty size 17s! Wave upon wave of PPFC attacking had to be dealt with by a tiring B&G defence, which continued even after Chris was injured and PPFC were down to 10 men (Brian now reffing, come on, keep up!). Sheff and Ally controlled the middle of the park, displaying a wide range of distribution skills, while Puskas and Owen provided crosses aplenty for our hungry strike force to devour. It wasn't long before Neil had added a fourth and was unlucky to hit a post after an inch-perfect through ball by Kier. Sheff added a fifth after a corner was headed back across goal by Puskas and rebounded off the bar, and the evergreen Stefan also was full of running and got onto the score sheet. PFFC took the second half to B&G after they seemed to wilt in the cauldron atmosphere of pitch 2. Neil completed a superb hat-trick after an almighty punt from Rob bounced once and was cleverly flicked over the oncoming B&G keeper. The best display of route-one football you'll see this side of Selhurst Park.

Hopefully we can take heart from a well deserved collective effort and possibly start a cup run next week. A special thanks must go to Chris, Cornish Al and Brian for refereeing, with great skill it must be said, a possible career once the boots have been hung up? Overall a job well done for PFFC and our march towards retaining our championship crown continues ...


PFFC (4-4-2): Rob, Puskas, Owen, Paul, Brian, Sheff, Ally, Ian, Cornish Al, Neil, Stefan.

Subs: Kier, Chris