Part-time keeper holds Reds at bay

PFFC 2 Grafton FC 2

Andrew Finnerty, 25 March 2012


There are many mysterious things in life: the jinx, Villas Boas's team selections, Ally not liking Prince ... but I digress, so on with this week's match report.

The previous week's game, our return match against Sporting Tooting, sadly had to be abandoned at 1-1 due to a serious injury to one of their players.

So it was a welcome return for the first time since January to our home ground, South Park in SW6. We started in a 3-4-2-1 formation with Andy and Rob as subs. This was a slight variation on our formation the week before, with Davide up front supported by twin goal machines (see table below) Henry and Matt. We started slowly in all senses compounded by our ref getting lost/inability to adjust his watch/dog ate his A-Z (delete as applicable) so yours truly did the honours for the first 25 minutes until the ref turned up.

Davide pulled up with an injury after just 15 minutes, so Rob came on to replace him. Grafton had the better of the opening half and scored from a dipping 25 yard shot. PFFC rallied and quickly followed this with a well worked move finished by our Spanish number 10, Angel. The play remained fairly even for the rest of the first half, and we cam off with the score at 1-1.

Grafton were rotating their goalkeeper every 20-25 minutes so started the second half with their third keeper. Andy came on for Owen just after the hour and the Reds started to press more, moving the ball quicker and opening the game up. One move forward ended with Davide put in the perfect cross to Angel, who scored his second on his farewell match. Grafton came back at us and their South African striker pounced on a mistake and slid the ball past Kadeem to level the score at 2-2. The Philosophers continued to press but Grafton's fourth keeper of the match proves equal to our efforts, saving a chip from Andy, a point-blank volley from Henry, another volley from Matt, a cross shot from Andy and a penalty from Will, breaking his 100% record: the curse of the 'jinx'. Michele stormed forward from the back three in the last minute and shot just over the bar to complete a frustrating second half.

Our post-match session in The White Horse, Parsons Green saw the squad saying a fond farewell to Angel (¡hasta luego!), discussing the merits of Owen's new position of 'holding wing-back', making predictions for our forthcoming fixtures and the shock revelation that Ally doesn't rate Stevie Wonder! The singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and record producer, not to be confused with any footballer who shares the same name. As an aside, one of the funniest chants I've ever heard on the way to a football match was from a Spurs fan before the Chelsea v. Spurs Carling Cup Final in 2008. To the tune of Prince Charming by Adam Ant: 'Prince Boateng… Prince Boateng…Premiership is nothing to be scared of…Don't you ever, Don't you ever...Put your head up, Pass it to a teammate…'

As Ally reported this was a tough match, especially as the Thinkers were without Damian and Mario, and then lost Andrea at half time due to injury. We could and should have won it, however, and if one of the many chances we created in the second half had gone in then we would have won comfortably, but it just wasn't to be. For a non-keeper, Grafton's fourth man in goal was an outstanding shot-stopper and easily MotM.

PFFC (3-4-2-1): Kadeem; Andrea (Rob' 45), Michele, Ally; Owen (Andy' 60), Leandro, Angel, Will; Matt, Henry; Davide

Subs: Rob, Andy

Scorers: Angel 20' 65'