Immediately after the pushback I knew that we would be swimming against the current; only we would not be as successful as Wild Alaskan Salmon during mating season. The club captain took the ball accidentally on the foot and cleared it without a blow of the whistle within the first 30 seconds. To rub salt in the wounds of missing out to a free hit, the umpire called across “I saw that Paul”…um, then blow your whistle! This set a precedent within the 1st fifteen minutes of the game where 3 more “foots” were missed (all of which where in the D…ho hum!).
The first half was a hard fought battle and it was rather tangible that we all were holding back just a little bit given that we are all from the same club. From time to time, there was the odd bit of breaking down play in the midfield which the umpires quickly put a stop to with a series of green cards (that doesn’t mean that you have to go off Adam!) with yellows soon to follow. Towards the end of the half, we managed a hard-fought short-corner (getting awarded one of these seemed as rare as rocking horse s*** on the day) which resulted in the goal…a start we had dreamed of.
Generally we were looking much better than last week’s pre-season warm up game and felt pretty confident that we could beat Dan and Adam (oops, Freudian slip); I mean the 6’s.
The second half brought with it a little more “passion”, with a series of yellow cards (now you can go off Adam) being handed out. A series of breaking down play and poor tackles seemed to be the catalyst for these cards. The odd “not understanding” the rules also resulted in a few more cards (like not getting 5 on a free hit)…funny that…not understanding the rules…pot, kettle, black #justsaying. Then they struck. Adam’s celebration off of a sweet shortcorner strike showed just how much passion the 6’s had, confirming that it did not matter that we were from the same club; they wanted the win and rightly so!
This brings me to the reason why I am TFC (and hence writing this). The ball was passed into the D, it struck the defender on the foot, he then stumbled over the ball again with his foot, and given that no one was within 10 yards of him the umpire called to play on. Whilst this is fine in the field of play, it does not apply in the D and it did disadvantage us. I questioned the umpire on the decision and he was, rightly so, adamant that he was not going to change his mind. I was wrong in telling him that it was a “crap decision”, which earned me a yellow card and 10 minutes on the sideline, putting my team under even more pressure! I acknowledge that mouthing the umpire is unsporting. Riddle with guilt, I consulted a colleague of mine who is a national league umpire, and well, it seems I was right, it was a crap decision #yesimstillbitter. Sorry for mouthing though ump!
Towards the close of play, Adam struck once again to put us 1-2 down (again off of a short corner). It seems it was never going to be our day, with Jack and I hitting the post and me missing out on a one-on-one with the keeper (admittedly I need more practice).
Well done to the 6’s and I am pleased to report that it was not nearly as unpleasant and out of control as it was a year ago.
I’m now off to church now to think long and hard about learning to keep my mouth shut and if I do want to be honest, to do it in the right fashion.