Bute Fc 3 - 0 Sportsfriends
With the title in the balance, we knew this would not be easy. If anything we knew only having to avoid defeat would put more pressure still upon our weary shoulders. Our injury list is growing, Glasgow has claimed yet another player for yet another game. This was the only team to have beaten us since April. This season each game became more important than the last. This one had us positioned touching distance from the metaphorical trophy. The pressure proved too much for some, Carlo nearly deciding to cry in the library as the minutes ticked away on his chance to become top goal scorer, Faris actually bottling it and claiming he had too much work - which seems fair because he is the only one studying medicine after all (#calledout).
This game started much like the previous fixture against Sportsfriends. We had 70-80% of the possession, switching the play effortlessly and not allowing the opposition to enter our final third. We dominated through the midfield, moving the ball towards our front three with ease. A fluid attack rotating positions found time and space to shoot again, and again testing the goalkeeper far more than we usually do.
With 10 minutes left in the first half Ben strode forward from central defence into the opposition half, playing a pass towards the edge of the box. A clever dummy from Carlo let the ball roll past him and find the feet of Michael. A poke past the opposition defender to put himself clean through on goal with only the keeper to beat. Opening his body, he fooled the keeper sending him to the right as he placed the ball into the left corner. The relief was massive. The “crowd” went wild, we would take the title if we maintained this.
The half time whistle blew. We went into the break under almost exact opposite circumstances than the return fixture. Our good play had been rewarded and our dominance justified by good play. There was little to be said at this respite. We knew the task ahead, how fragile a single goal lead can be, how many we’d seen overturned amongst our cumulative years of Sunday league football.
Ushered words of motivation spread from mouth to mouth as we lined up again to restart the game. We had earned the result in our grasp over the 9 previous games, now we just had to take it. Sportsfriends “got friendly” at half time and came out revitalised, putting more pressure on us than we had seen in the first half. Their midfield finding a foothold in the game for the first time. A substitution to protect the Glass man (Fortis) had left our midfield missing our rock, or should I say Boulder (#bringingitback). A reshuffle brought him back on and we again settled back into our dominant rhythm.
We are now midway through the second half, our 25th corner of the game. This one from the right, Elliott "top off" Taylor stood over the ball. The delivery was still just under the cross bar inside the six yard area when it reached the back post. Ben met it with a perfectly timed leap above everyone in the box powering the ball into the roof of the net. A goal for each team over the two fixtures is an achievement not many can boast.
Needless to say the relief was dramatic. We would have to concede three in the remaining 15 minutes to be robbed of the title on this day. There were shouts for a goalkeeping switch, to send our number 1 to play as a number 9. They knew of his exceptional conversion rate whilst playing outfield, in the Sunday league, for Bute FC (manipulation of statistics at its finest). They urged him to to experience scoring once more, but the sweet nectar of a clean sheet was more tempting.
Sportsfriends’ first and only clear cut chance fell not much long later. A sloppy loss of possession gifted the opposition an open man on the edge of the box with only the goalkeeper to beat. He shot to the on rushing keeper’s left leaving him standing helpless watching his clean sheet surely drift away. The ball curled, but not enough, striking the outside of the post and staying in play. The ball was cleared and the danger passed, along with their hopes of claiming anything from the game.
Our final goal came from the most unexpected of places (no offence). Aaron played a sumptuous through ball the likes of which have never been seen. Threading the eye of the needle, like Mesut Ozil with even bigger eyes, he provided the most astonishing of assists. His pass falling into Jonathan stride in the right side of the box and being struck low across the goal into the far left corner. The ball nestled in the net for our 3rd goal of the game and our 8th win of the season.
10 games played - 8 wins, 1 draw, 1 loss, 23 goals scored, 6 conceded, goal difference +17
If you find yourself in the green fields with the sun on your face, do not be troubled. For you are in Elysium.
What we do in life echoes in eternity
Goals: Michael, Ben, Jonathan
MOTM: Ben - After the tragedy that befell us at the hands of sports friends just two weeks ago, he provided us with a sparkling performance. Re-united with Elliott in the centre of defence they were solid throughout the game and were rewarded with a clean sheet. Ben drove forwards with the ball from the back, switched the play from side to side (gave me a few horrible back passes) and cut out everything the opposition could muster. A goal, an assist, a truly impeccable game.
Dick of the day: Faris, Animesh, and all the other non-believers