|Posted: 19 January 2017 at 10:32am | IP Logged
Another weekend, another trip down south of the river to play Clapham for what Porter calls his home match…..he still managed to be a half hour late. A fair few of us met up on the train including captain “fantastic” Renaldo, who had a hangover that even Tommy Martin would have thought was rough. Ren turned up with the eyes of Pete Doherty after a sesh, chewing on a solitary dry bread roll with stories of how last night’s Macky D’s was still splattered across a train heading to Cheshunt. I swear if the lad was on his own on a bench, you would have given him and few pennies……
Anyway, onto the football! We welcomed back Rory Brien for the first time since his stint as captain a couple of years ago, and also called up the younger better Barton brother, Jack after some good performances in the 2’s. The team lined up as follows:
Porter, Matty O, Culligan, McDermott
Alex Youngman, Tommy, Nolan
Subs: Rory Brien, Jack Barton
Playing on a 3G surface, we started the game well playing the ball out nicely from the back and knocking it around well in the middle, against what was a very big Clapham team. Eoin O’G was finding the little pockets of space that he likes to operate in, with his older brother Lubs covering the back line well in a role that he is making his own at the moment. Tommy, Alex and Nolan were working well as a midfield three and the full backs getting up in support as much as they could. Despite playing some lovely stuff, when we got the ball up to our lone striker, it just kept bouncing back….i’ll refer you to the first paragraph for the explanation of why…..
After some good play down the right we earned ourselves a corner. Eoin O’G whipped the ball in for his namesake to win in the box and head towards goal. Matty O rose high to win the follow-up and flick the ball over the keeper and in off the bar! 1-0. Two CB’s combining for a wonderful goal…..now that’s what I call an assist, take note Ren.
Our pressure continued with JP seeming pretty bored at the other end, apart from a couple of breakaways which were cleaned up by the defence or Lubs. We ended up winning ourselves another corner which was partially cleared to the edge of the box where Culligan won the second ball and headed towards goal, only for Tommy Martin this time to win the flick on and it go in off the bar! 2-0 and almost a carbon copy of the first.
Half time, and as usual we spoke about how the oppo would come out strong and put us under pressure and press high, and how we needed to be ready for it. One change was enforced at the break as Liam had to come off with his dreaded sniffles again…..we all wish Liam a speedy recovery from what seemed like a horrible “injury”. Rory came on, and Tommy slotted in in front of the back 4. At this point Ren seemed nailed on for muppet, but in the discussions of who to change up for Liam, Dave O’G had a moment of dementia and looked straight at his youngest and said “Jack get changed you’re coming on”……Jack was on the other side of the pitch…..
Onto the second half, and as expected Clapham pressed us high and prevented us from playing the ball out from the back. They had a couple of changes themselves who seemed to be even bigger than the ones they replaced…..Gold’s Gym in Clapham must have been empty Saturday afternoon.
Their press started to have an effect as we struggled to hold onto the ball and work it up the pitch, which eventually lead to their first goal. We lost the ball in midfield and a quick ball in behind the back line let their striker through 1 on 1 which he slotted home nicely. 2-1.
Clapham backs were up, they kept the pressure on and had it not been for a superb performance from JP between the sticks we probably would have been down a couple more. Our very own Darren Randolph had a number of 1 on 1’s which he dealt with well while also wiping out everything in front of him (including his centre backs) when coming for punches.
Despite the great performance from JP, we conceded again. A corner fell right to Ren who decided to……well he decided to do nothing but let it go past him, a couple of ricochets later and a hand ball from their striker and the ball was in the back of the net. 2-2.
Dave O’G made a change in bringing on Jack for Nolan, and the young lad made an impression by constantly wanting the ball and working hard. We were definitely still in the game and Clapham seemed to be tiring. A break away led to Ren battling well for the ball with the last CB and Alex was set free 1 on 1 with the keeper…..all I can think is he must have thought “what would Eoin O’G do in this situation?”, so he looked up and calmly slotted the ball to the right of the keeper and to the right of the post as well…..big chance gone begging.
We had one more opportunity to grab the winner when we had a free kick about 35 yards out and loaded the box. Given that we had scored from two set pieces in the game we were confident. Unfortunately for us, so was McDermott…..somehow our CM turned LB managed to persuade baby O’Grady that the best idea was to square the ball to him for a 35 yard screamer! You can’t knock the confidence, but you can definitely knock the strike…..Yaya Sanogo would be proud mate.
The final whistle blew and it ended all square 2-2. Although we were 2 up and we shouldn’t be losing from that position, I think there are a lot of positives to take. We came up against a team who had won their last 10 games, we played some fantastic football at times, and when it went all square we dug in and held it.
Man went to JP almost unanimously for a great performance between the sticks. Muppet had a couple of shouts; Ren for his best impression of Tommy Martin, McDermott for the shot that is still coming down, Eoin O’G for something I can’t remember but he doesn’t drink so f**k him…..but the accolade had to go to Dave O’G for not knowing his own son.
Next week we’re back at Loyola against Old Paulines and hopefully we can hold the 2-0 lead this time.