All of the 5s knew that today was going to be a challenge. We were playing the team currently at the top of the league, and has a famous reputation for playing youngsters with endless energy.
So after the inspiring team talk (the noticeable phrase being “This is the one, not next week, this one, now”) out we went and took our positions for battle to commence. Play was very much end to end, but Epsom were waiting for the ball to come to them rather than moving to it. This resulted in many a time the energetic Teenage opposition intercepting and moving rapidly down the pitch, keeping the defence on their toes,
There was some nice play up front, and some good crosses, but despite best efforts we failed to get it into the net, instead just outside despite two of them on open goals (think this was Darren?? And no, he didn’t get TFC for that)
Half time, we were 1 – 0 up and looking the better team, but needed to focus on accurate passing and moving to the ball.
Carlos had another break and Carlos was allowed to continue his attack. He passed the defence line with his right and left wing at his sides. The 3 continued towards the goal as a unit, the goalie comes out to challenge Carlos. Surely Carlos would just slip it to one of his wingman to take it around the lonely keeper . . . . but no. The goalie goes down, and Carlos is able to move the ball to the side and takes it around the keeper to push it into the goal. 2 – 0.
Play continued, and into the final quarter the Purley teenagers energy advantage started to take effect, and to be fair their heads had not gone down either, despite this unusual situation for them. Their first goal was not strong, with Dave at centre back hesitating, allowing the striker to shoot (no TFC here either!). Unfortunately this was soon followed with a second shot from near the edge of the D which with the number of players in the circle left the goalie blind to the incoming low level projectile. 2 – 2. Surely Epsom were not going to drag defeat from the jaws of victory.
We are now into the last 10 minutes of the match (well, according to one umpire at least). Epsom were determined not to loose this match, especially when having been at 2 – 0, and Purley were hungry for the win as well to give them the league win.
Epsom broke and attacked. As our forwards moved up the pitch my watch pinged to signify that the time was up. Meanwhile our forwards entered the oppo ‘ 25 metre, and into the D. Our umpire blows – a short corner awarded. Encouragement shouted from the defence, we need to score on this. Our umpire holds play and talks to Iven to question the time remaining as according to him the time is up, but Iven insists that there is still a few minutes left. I chip in saying that my watch has signalled for end of time as well, but no, Iven has the time. Still at least it is only 2 minutes extra he is after, last year he added more than 10 minutes when we were one goal ahead, and had 2 of our players sent off!!
So the short corner routine is played without the whistle to signify final play. Carlos receives, drags it left, takes the shot but it is blocked. It rattles around in the D like a ball in a pinball machine and starts to head out to right of centre. Olli collects, strikes, and scores. 3 – 2. A fantastic result. We knew that Purley would come back hard now, and we would be exposed to the slightest mistake being penalised by a certain whistle. Our keeper calls for ‘half court play’ for the final (well, possibly) final 90 seconds. And we did. Finally the closing whistle was sounded followed by cheers from the Epsom team.
A good play by Epsom, and a pleasant game with the oppo. A massive thank you to Mark for umpiring the game. And talking about decisions, TFC – this is one that our own team made. I can only assume that it was the effect of Iven on the team. Normally TFC is given for poor play, or bringing down team play. Today is was awarded to myself for wearing a sports vest, which I was doing because of standing outside a go kart track from 8am until 9.30am, when the temperature was a mere 4 degrees, and then going straight to the pitch. The fact that I man marked a speedy 16 year old all game who never escaped me (resulting in me over heating with said vest!) and stopped multiple attacks was clearly never considered. But this is not a complaint, it is in fact one of the reasons I love playing for the 5s. The banter, commoradery, and team spirit is great in this team, and I always look forward to my Saturday game. Well done this season guys, it looks like the 3rd place is ours, and we have enjoyed ourselves getting there. And thank you also to Carlos for steering the Ship of 5s, and agreeing to take the helm next year.