Creditable Thinkers crunch bankers
PFFC 3 Merrill Lynch 1
In front of the backdrop of the Linford Christie Academy on a blustery evening, it seemed bizarrely fitting that the weather would set the tone for an enthralling match. Indeed a forlorn table perched pitchside provided the smile that reminded one soul reading him for the what did not at first appear to be representative of the beautiful game.
A steady start to the opening half saw the home team exert some early pressure. This good work was undone, however, by an error at the back which was quickly punished by the Merrill Lynch striker. Our faces, beaten by rain, were etched by determination rather than discomfort as we sought to redress the balance.
The conditions and slick surface played havoc with our attempts to control possession, the ball zipping off players and ground alike. Tidy interplay beginning with the full-backs stretched the Lynch forwards, only for the move to break down, with the ball being returned to the opponents for them to harass once more. Yet, as the half progressed, PFFC’s midfield energy became more focused as they adapted to the opposition’s hustling style. The Reds started to bring players in more effectively, finding team-mates in space, and this finally resulted in a goal from Bryan.
The second half began with a high tempo, PFFC keen to impose and work both ball and opposition around the park. Width, which was a constant factor throughout the game, began to create space for the Philosophy midfield as they pressed forward, supported by the full-backs. The Red strikers tirelessly drew the Lynch centre-backs across the back line, causing confusion. This, combined with movement and crisp passing, resulted in a goal and the lead for PPFC. The ball was played along the right and squared into the box by Kieran for Conrad to dispatch calmly.
Lynch strove for an equaliser but, as they pressed forward, their attacks broke down more frequently. Sensing the possibility of more goals, our defence looked to prompt an attack where possible. PPFC increasingly put Lynch under sustained pressure, and after a few such moves, the ball broke to Bryan, who took the ball and weaved past two Lynch players. The onrushing keeper was deftly beaten with a seamless change of direction and a simple finish.
Not wanting to sit back, PPFC maintained pressure until the final whistle. Tiredness was offset by a victory born of team resilience, belief and great finishing. Width, interplay and solid direction had inspired the home team against the dank and dark cold evening.
PFFC (4-4-2): Matt; Owen, Andy, Damian, Ronjon; Tom, Bryan, Lukas, Mauro; Conrad, Kieran.
Goals: Bryan 2, Conrad 1
Man of the match: Bryan Green