Mother versus Mather
Mother 2 PFFC 2
Bob Dylan sat down with his guitar in 1975 and produced possibly his finest collection of songs, which re-established him as a songwriting great after his mediocre (by his standards) output of the early 1970s.
As I travelled home after PFFC's encounter with Mother, I wondered what Mr Dylan would have made of this match as his namesake (Dylan, the Mother captain) got Tangled Up In Blue (flaring up to PFFC players in their Pasolini kit) in his attempts to leave Blood On The Tracks.
Sadly, at times, this game was about as pleasant as a guided tour of Birmingham with Robbie Savage. But PFFC managed to keep their composure and showed great experience and spirit when Mother had completely lost theirs.
Owen’s welcome return after 6 weeks out with a broken finger saw him playing on the left side of midfield. He played alongside the new central midfield partnership of Dodo and Ally, with Giovanni on the right, behind the front pairing of Eric and Mauro. The ever-reliable Marco was in goal behind last season’s familiar back four of Vipul, Ronan, Filippo and Damian. Andy was on the bench.
After some early exchanges in the centre of midfield, PFFC had most of the possession and created a couple of half-chances from free kicks. The majority of the play, however, was occurring in midfield; the Mother central midfield partnership were particularly keen to leave their mark (mainly bruises) on any member of our team. But Dodo, Ally et al did well and didn't rise to the bait.
A shock opening goal came for Mother towards the end of the first half when one of their forwards latched onto a through ball just outside the area and neatly lobbed the ball over the onrushing Marco and into the net. I say shock because up to that point Marco had had less work to do than a Man United Fan Locater in Manchester, and found that his first touch of the ball was picking it out from the back of the net. 1-0.
Moments later, Mauro's terrific turn and shot from just outside the box was turned round the post by the Mother keeper as PFFC piled on the pressure.
The second half began with Andy replacing Giovanni on the right and PFFC knowing they had to lift their game slightly and find Mauro and Eric more frequently, as they were causing havoc among the Mother defence each time they received the ball.
But then, when a header which should have been cleared landed at the feet of the Mother number 9, he quickly turned and shot a ferocious left-footed half volley from outside the area past a helpless Marco – a truly fantastic strike. 2-0.
As has become the norm now, though, PFFC did not give up. Filippo, absolutely inspired, took hold of the game and pushed into midfield, driving Philosophy forward in waves, and kept Mother penned in their own half with help from Ally and Dodo. We were, it has to be said, also aided by the frighteningly bizarre behaviour of the Mother captain who, after a tackle from Owen, seemed to lose all sense and grabbed Owen round the throat, gesturing he was about to throw some punches at him. After players from both sides calmed things slightly, the referee only gave him a yellow card. He was clearly not the same after the incident and spent the rest of the match in a furious trance, threatening Owen at every opportunity as well as putting in bad tackles on Dodo and Damian. The ref gave him a 'one more and you're off' warning after his challenge on the latter.
However, this behaviour seemed to affect his whole team, and Philosophy upped their game with inspired play between Filippo, Ally, Dodo and our strikers. It was not long before we pulled a goal back. A blatant hand-ball in the area led to a penalty, which Damian sent past the keeper. 2-1.
Philosophy were now camped entirely in the Mother half and were causing problems with every move, particularly with free kicks which, due to the nature of the game, were fairly frequent. Finally, after intense pressure, Eric and Mauro combined from a free kick for Mauro to put the ball into the back of the net to level the score. 2-2.
With every PFFC player running back to kick off with determination etched on their faces, the Mother team were left to look to their captain for inspiration. However, only moments later, he was sent off for yet another bad tackle.
It didn't end there though, as he still felt a need to threaten Owen as he walked from the pitch – even continuing his abuse from the left touchline until he was told to leave the pitch by the referee. With a look at his eyes you could see that he had quite literally lost control. And it so nearly affected the result; his team only just managed to hold on until the final whistle.
The Mother captain still wasn't happy though; he confronted Owen yet again on the touchline, minutes after the match had finished, but he finally – albeit reluctantly – accepted Owen's offer of a handshake.
Finally, outside the changing rooms, Filippo – who had influenced the second half surge – had a few choice words to say to the referee. We had just found out that he was also in charge of the Mother team. The ref, however, found the words as well chosen as a Jim Davidson joke book, and reported Filippo to the FA.
So, overall, an epic encounter – and one that was more action-packed than a Michael Bay DVD box set. It's a shame that the needless violence and petty squabbles on the pitch will perhaps be remembered more than the spirit and good football shown at times by PFFC, as there were in fact many positives to be taken from this game.
So perhaps, in the end, Saint Bob had an influence on both sides. No Blood On The Tracks, thankfully, but from Philosophy at least, no shortage of Desire.