Reds get off to a 'winning draw' start
PFFC 2 – Husaria 3 – Aesthetico Athletico 2
The first game of the new three-sided football league saw some new rules, a new league game and even a new name for the venue introduced. The Luther Blissett London League will play out with six teams competing for the Luther Blissett Trophy (which will, allegedly, be presented at the end of the season by the former Milan star himself) all played at Deptford Green, the renamed Fordham Park. Is this some kind of revisionist strategy designed to attract even further acceptance into the mainstream world of football? We shall see. Some excellent changes have also been made to the points system used in the league, especially in redefining the concept of a draw. On the D3SF website, league founder Mark Dyson states:
In keeping with Three Sided Football’s principle of allocating victory to the team which concedes the fewest goals, there will be no points for a win, one point for coming second and two points for conceding the most. If a game is fully drawn (i.e. all teams concede an equal amount of goals), a single point will be allocated to each. If there is a winning draw (i.e. two teams concede the same amount and the third concedes more) then a single point will be awarded to the drawn teams and two to the one which conceded the most. If there is a losing draw (i.e. two teams concede the same amount and the third concedes less) then two points will be awarded to the drawn teams and no points to the team which conceded the fewest and thus won the game.
As tends to be the case with three-sided football, any new rule or suggestion can at first seem a little complicated but, after a while, the concepts of a 'winning draw' and a 'losing draw' start to make perfect sense. With these changes, and a draw from a hat to see which teams would face each other in the first round of fixtures – which then defines who will play whom in the rest of the season's fixtures – Philosophy Football were pitted against Aesthetico Athletico and our old rivals Polscy Budowlancy, now named Husaria. The match-day squad was a strong one, starting with a kite formation (similar to a diamond) with Rob The 'Gaffer' Cat taking his place between the sticks, fellow club veteran Ally just in front of him in defence, and then a new line-up completing the formation: French Alex and Colin White on the left and right of midfield and Billy Panayi up front. Alfie Adams was sub and Michael was loaned out from Strategic Optimists, playing on the other pitch, to make up the numbers.
The first third kicked off with the Poles in their usual impish and unpredictable mood. Without the silky skills of the two teenage brothers in their team however, they took one hell of a first third beating, conceding three times. Although the Poles fell behind quickly, Philosophy tried to form an alliance with them and began to attack Aesthetico. Colin and Billy had never played three-sided football before and were more familiar with the crease of Sunday cricket (thanks for the ringers Rob) but, with some tactical guidance, began to look for balls from players not in the famous Philosophy red. Although some sustained pressure was put on Aesthetico, their goal could not be breached and the first third ended PF 0 – PB 3 – AA 0.
The second third began with the Reds losing concentration and immediately letting in a goal: PF 1 – PB 3 – AA 0. With Aesthetico in the lead with more than half the game to go, it was clear who would sustain the most pressure in the middle third. The Poles were happy to continue their alliance with Philosophy and, although there were chances galore for both sides to score, Aesthetico remained goalless. Philosophy tried variations on personnel at this stage to try and put different types of pressure on Aesthetico, but nothing seemed to work. This do-or-die approach resulted in a counter-attack against the Reds and another goal being conceded. Having to rely on Husaria as allies isn't ideal, due to their volatile nature. One minute they will support you in attack, the next minute they will bombard you regardless of the score. Apart from the Lithuanian team from Alytus at the three-sided world cup in Silkeborg, who numbered a streaker among their players, they best embody the anarchic spirit of three-sided football. The second third ended PF 2 – PB 3 – AA 0.
Aesthetico seemed to be in pole position and again, the Poles' alliance with Philosophy resulted in many chances but no goals scored. The finishing was terrible from both teams but Aesthetico showed little sign of wanting to attack themselves. This is always a dangerous passage of play in the final third in which each team resorts to defending a lead or to trying to overcome a deficit. With five minutes of the match to go, French Alex played through to one of the Poles, who passed it on to Billy, and finally the Aesthetico goalkeeper was beaten: PF 2 – PB 3 – AA 1. Aesthetico suddenly looked shellshocked, and the momentum swung to both Philosophy and Husaria. There was fear in Aesthetico's eyes and we knew that, so long as the clock didn't beat us, we could still draw the match. The Poles knew they would finish the match as the losing team but seemed to want to score another past the Aesthetico goalie, and so it was in the last minute of the match they played their way wide of the Aesthetico goal and cut it back where Ally was able to rifle a left-footed shot in the Aesthetico goal to level the scoreline: PF 2 – PB 3 – AA 2.
The first example then of a 'winning draw', two teams conceding the same number of goals with the third team conceding more. As it happened, another winning draw was played out on the other pitch with New Cross Irregulars 3 – D3FC 3 – Strategic Optimists 4. Philosophy top the table alongside Aesthetico Athletico on 1 point and 2 goals conceded after one game. Join us for the next fixture on Deptford Green on 5 October when we play Husaria again and another of our familiar rivals, D3FC.