Red men left red-faced
PFFC 1 Arup 9
Last season we completed the double over Arup with comfortable 5-2 and 4-2 victories. However the Arup team we faced this season are a very different proposition from the team we scored those nine goals against last season, a difference which is reflected in their league position this year. With the Gaffer making the long trip down we were eager to put a halt to our recent poor results.
As in recent games we were slow out of the blocks, in fact we were still in them as our opponents raced to a 3-0 lead within 5 minutes, and that was with a strong wind at our backs. At 3-0 down and facing the prospect of playing the whole of the second half into the wind, if it was a boxing match the referee would have called a stop to it there and then.
But we did fight back and were in fact on top for long periods of the first half, creating a number of half chances. Khan tried the keeper with a header from a corner, Rob C blasted a long-range effort over the bar, then finally I got the breakthrough, connecting with a great free kick from Dan with a neat left-foot volley to make it 3-1. However, Arup then added a further goal before half-time to make it 4-1. We knew we faced an uphill battle to get back in to the game but we were not yet beaten and had played well in spells during the first half, so we thought we could at least make a fight of it. The second half was, however, a disaster. I was going to write that it couldn't have gone any worse but to be honest we were lucky to get away with only conceding five. We barely got out of our half, only Dave’s cannonball goal kicks getting the ball in opposition territory.
I woke up on Monday morning faced with the prospect of writing a match report of our sixth straight defeat and, according to Owen’s little black book, our heaviest ever loss in the modern era. With the memory of the 9-1 defeat still fresh in my mind and faced with another five long days of toil before the weekend, my mood was at its blackest. My initial report focused on the negative – what we did wrong, why are we so rubbish – but I didn’t finish it on Monday and was away on Tuesday. On Wednesday I picked it up again and, reading through it, decided to remove the negative and try and replace it with something positive. Though we are on an awful run of results (35 goals against and only four for in the last six games) we should be cheered by the spirit in the team. Even though we conceded nine goals, there were no hissy fits or toys being thrown out of prams. Even at the end we were still trying to encourage one another and though we walked off defeated and dejected the majority of the team retired to Tayyab's for a most enjoyable post-match meal, where injuries and injustices were put aside for drinking, eating and merrymaking.
We lose together as a team and when we win it will be as a team, and those wins will come because of that very same spirit which is keeping us together now through these dark times.