The latest third-person account of my weekly attempt to play eight-a-side football – we wear grey… Keep playin’
Things didn’t look good for the Greys when opponents Design Bridge took the field in matching black kits featuring their own crest and sponsor – they looked like the “evil” Icelandic team in D2: The Mighty Ducks. Meanwhile, the Greys still had a few unofficial grey t-shirts making up the numbers, and if it was a Disney movie, they’d be the underdogs – which would make missing-in-action player coach Thomas Joly Emilio Estevez.
The Greys had a strong lineup of players on the night but lacked any out-and-out defenders. To compensate, they switched to two at the back, with Adam and Julien volunteering to hold down the fort. And straight away, with two pacey, attacking-minded players towing the line, the Greys added a new dimension to their play.
With Manu holding the ball up well in midfield and Adam and Julien surging forward, the Greys looked sharp, creative and exciting. Additionally, Ahmed and Ollie dropped back well to provide cover when needed.
Greys striker Alex broke the deadlock early on, when he took a neat pass from Ahmed, drew the keeper to the edge of his box and smashed it past him. Then, without even stopping to breathe after the kick-off, Ahmed made a silky run down the right wing and cut inside, playing a dangerous-looking ball in to Adam, whose shot rebounded off a Design Bridge defender to put the Greys 2-0 up. Beautiful football finished off ugly.
The Greys continued to press Design Bridge and midway through the first half Alex did well to beat his man and knock the ball across goal. Ollie reacted first, tapping the ball in with his right foot to put the Greys 3-0 up.
Then, just before the break, Manu sprayed a searching pass to Alex, who picked it up on the halfway line, took a few touches and placed his shot past the sprawling Design Bridge keeper to make it 4-0. What was going on?!!
Despite the onslaught, Design Bridge did manage to squeeze in a few shots on target before the interval, with Greys keeper Yusuf saving well and Julien and Adam putting their bodies on the line to block a couple of goal-bound chances.
Something else happened before half-time, when Greys winger Ahmed clashed with one of Design Bridge’s players. Afterwards, it seemed like the whole Design Bridge team turned on Ahmed, targeting him with a series of nasty tackles.
Design Bridge came out fighting in the second half and the Greys survived a few narrow escapes. Julien did a great job at the back, practically marking Design Bridge’s most threatening-looking striker right out of the game.
Then, against the run of play, the Greys launched an attack of their own, turning FIFA 16‘s “Play Beautiful” motto on its head and scoring one of the ugliest goals since Paul McGrath retried. The ball pinged around the box, everyone got a touch, Adam hit the post, the ball hit the branches above the goal and then dropped to Kais, who tucked it in to put the Greys 5-0 up.
But suddenly Design Bridge were all over the place. A long range effort from outside the box practically tore a hole through Greys keeper Yusuf to bring them back into the game at 5-1. Then, less than five minutes later, the Greys went AWAL and a series of neat Design Bridge passes ended with the ball in the back of the net. 5-2. Naturally, the Greys started asking the ref how much time was left on the clock; “13 minutes. Keep playin’!”
Spurred back into action, the Greys took shape again, doing well to see out the danger and hold on to a convincing 5-2 win.