Reds get back to winning ways
Arup 2 PFFC 5
Filippo had mentioned in one of his recent rallying emails how everyone should experience playing proper English football under darkened skies and cool rainfall. The Philosophers’ spirits were not dampened by playing a training session under a torrential downpour two weeks ago; in fact, considering the temptation to take one look out of the window and stay in bed, it was extremely well attended. Such was the euphoria of our aquatic football practice that it led Andrea to proclaim: “We exist!” Ally’s theory, expounded in the Edinburgh Castle after the match against Arup, was that it was this very training session that strengthened not only PFFC legs but the bonds of unity between the players.
Certainly the victory was down to a great collective effort in which everyone played their part and everyone was on top of their game. PFFC dominated the early exchanges, passing neatly and allowing both league debutants – Lawrence and Will – to find their feet, which they did with aplomb. Arup managed to put forward a few long balls, which led to at least two squandered opportunities when the opposition strikers fired wide, onto adjacent pitches. PFFC soon capitalised when a cross from Lawrence caused havoc in their defence. Conrad used his strength to shield the ball long enough from marauding defenders to allow Owen to nip in, take the ball to the by-line and cross for Matt to volley sweetly home at the near post.
A second goal followed soon afterwards when the excellent Dodo sent Matt clean through with a precision pass from the half-way line. Newly signed Argyle fan Matt slotted home like a young Tommy Tynan. PFFC were in control, which was more than could be said for the bookish referee who let play continue after some highly dubious challenges flew in; the one he did see fit to penalise was a questionable trip by Will in our area. Marco prepared himself on his goal line as the ball was placed on the penalty spot, then dived athletically and pushed the ball out to his right with both hands. A scramble ensued as Arup strikers and PFFC defenders flooded into the box: the ball was finally crossed back into the six-yard box, where an onrushing striker struck the ball squarely against Owen and then fired the rebound high into the roof of the net. Very tough on Marco after an excellent penalty save. 2-1 at half-time.
The talk at half-time was to try and get the next goal to finish them off and not to be bullied by some of their more questionable tactics. PFFC soon carried on the way they had begun with Giovanni replacing Dodo, who had been injured. PFFC conjured up some good fortune of their own as Francesco swung in a pinpoint back post cross only for a bewildered Arup defender to lose his bearings and accidentally head past the onrushing keeper into his own net. The Philosophers were now enjoying their football: our midfield duo, Matt and Ally, displayed some tight tackling and, after some slick passing from PFFC, Matt completed his hat-trick with a well timed shot in the area, kindly assisted over the line by an Arup defender.
Arup caused a brief scare when they struck opportunistically against the run of play from a corner, but it was PFFC’s day and they were to have the final word in spectacular style: Conrad powered his way forward into the penalty area, shrugging off the attentions of at least two defenders, and unleashed a rasping shot into the top corner. Comedy talk-show host and sometime sports presenter Alan Partridge once proclaimed: “He’s got a foot like a traction engine!” This would have been apt for Conrad’s strike.
Special mention to our three debutants – Lawrence, Will and Giovanni – who all had exemplary games. Long may it continue.
PFFC (4,4,2): Marco; Will, Damo, Vipul, Owen; Dodo (Giovanni ’35), Ally, Francesco (Isaia ’70), Lawrence; Matt, Conrad.