L.O.B. vs Haggerston – Keep Playin’

Keep Playin'
The latest third-person account of my weekly attempt to play eight-a-side football – we wear grey… Keep playin’

Last week’s 7-1 win got the Greys off to a great start but an 8:00pm Monday night kick-off had team organisers scrambling around for players surprisingly early in the season. Luckily, Adam came through with two strong ringers, and come kick-off the Greys had an exciting make-shift side ready to take on Haggerston Park, aka the Greens.

The Greys kicked off but somehow, Haggerston took the initiative, pressing our heroes deep into their own half and making them sweat. The air was hot and thick but the Greys were tenacious at the back, kicking and scrapping and putting their bodies on the line to keep the Greens out.

Julien, Paul and Chris were in charge at the back, but Adam and stand-in right winger Marc were all over the place. Crosses fizzed in but the Greys always managed to get a glancing head on it and diffuse the situation.

Finally, the Greens’ mop-haired forward “Sideshow Bob” broke the lines and fired a shot on goal. Luckily, keeper Yusuf dived to his left and kept it out. And that’s how it went for the next 10 minutes, the Greys rolling up their sleeves, digging in their heels and keeping the game goalless.

Meanwhile, left winger Karim and centre-forward Rob managed to string a few chances together for the Greys up front. Karim cut in from the left wing and was brought down heavily on the edge of the box, but blasted the free-kick over the goal (and nearby fence).

Both teams struggled with long range shots, because the ball was flat and split down the middle – but it was the only one between all sixteen players.

The first goal came early in the second half. The Greens’ left winger beat the Greys’ defence and burst forward towards the goal. Yusuf came out to close him down but the striker squared the ball to Sideshow Bob, who was unmarked in the box and tapped it in to put Haggerston 1-0 up.

Meanwhile, Greys ringer Marc won a throw in close to the Greens’ corner flag and took it early. Rob held the ball up – his back to goal – and spun around, knocking the ball across the line. Karim was first to it, and he made no mistake. 1-1.

Soon afterwards Adam played the ball wide to Karim, who shot from way too far out – or so it seemed. But he hit the ball low and true, bending it into the bottom right corner of the Greens’ goal, a bit like Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s seemingly hopeful effort against Bournemouth this season.

But… heartbreak; the Greens snuck past the Greys’ last man again and Yusuf could only parry the strike. The rebound was tapped in just in front of the line by Sideshow Bob following up.

To be fair, 2-2 was a fair result at this point. But Haggerston didn’t think so. It felt like they attacked for the last 10 minutes non-stop. Still, the Greys worked hard to cling on to the draw. It was a tough game and everyone was drenched in sweat by the end – Karim rung his shirt out like he’d swum the Channel.

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