Palms uprooted by red hurricane

PFFC 5 Finchpalm 0

Dan, 11 February 2004


While Wembley is rebuilt, the crumbling concrete and rotting wood stand at Willesden is the only seat in north London home to top-notch football. Since November that football has been played mostly by PFFC but recently we have been stopped in our tracks, suffering an abrupt, confusing lesson.

It is often said the true measure of a team is in its response to adversity (the slogan for next seasons third strip, perhaps?) and from successive, perhaps surprising, defeats, Philosophy found itself facing this test.

Tonight it was Juventus look-alikes Finchpalm.

The league has seen great inconsistency in results, such is the even balance of the competing teams; our opponents occupy the lower reaches, yet had taken 4 points from TNT and having lost 6-0 to the BBC beat them 3-2 in the return. Tactics? Best to concentrate on our own game …

In the absence of Damian our own game included recalled ex-skipper Paul Kayley in defence, alongside Vipul, Bruce and Lele. Philosophy started slowly and for ten minutes the midfield battle swung in favour of the Turin impersonators. All was soon to change.

The deadlock was broken with what was arguably PFFC’s goal of the season to date. Following quick interplay, Lele was released down the right flank for yet another foray into enemy territory. Skipping past another challenge he curled over a cross. With his back to goal ­ and tightly marked ­ Dennis controlled the ball on his thigh, swivelled and hit a volley beyond the keeper into the far corner. “Which side look like Juventus now?” should have been heard from the stands.

As is so often the case, a goal changed the pattern of the game. Now clearly in the ascendancy, Philosophy sought to bring their passing game to the table. Dennis soon added a second and an acute strike from Dan before half-time was too strong for the keeper to save. As it inched towards the goal-line Kieran smashed it in from 20cm with the predatory art of the goalpoacher and, by contrasting so markedly with Dennis’s goal, also proving the cliché that “they all count for the same”.

The second half saw even further dominance from the Reds. Finchpalm were visibly wilting. Calm assurance at the back was offering the ‘Finchie’ strikers little more than scraps and the midfield was patrolling with such command the absence of our captain Ally was, briefly, forgotten. Indeed, the humble opinion of the narrator is that in their keenness to each get on the scoresheet, the Philosophy players forgot the short passing football with which we have graced Division One. Thus a goalkeeper own goal/Dennis hat-trick, and the first of the season for Ronan, was our scant reward in the second half.

So, back to winning ways, relieved smiles all round and 3 points. Is the good ship Philosophy back on course?