The latest third-person account of my weekly attempt to play eight-a-side football – we wear grey… Keep playin’
Top of the league. According to the whispers going round Coram’s Field before kick-off, anyway. It’s new territory for the Greys, who have made a great start to the season and are undefeated in seven so far. Tonight they face old rivals Jacklington Stanley, who start the game a man down – and seem to have a few new faces in their ranks. “Let’s have it,” says the ref.
Jacklington Stanley play in black and yellow, but for some reason one of their strikers is wearing white. Under the floodlights, at first – and, perhaps even second, third or fourth – glance, his shirt looks grey. But when the Greys complain a Jacklington Stanley midfielder replies, “Calm down pal, this ain’t the Champions League.” Classic.
Five minutes later Greys forward Ollie’s winding up for his first long-throw of the game. Not knowing what to expect, the yellow and black shirts watch in slow motion as the ball sails over their heads, coming back up to real-speed as Greys striker Alex, back for the first time in over 10 weeks, sticks the ball in the back of the net. 1-0 Greys.
The Yellow and Blacks kick-off but it doesn’t take long for the Greys to win the ball back. Martin finds Adam just outside the box and his business-ended shot fizzes right past Jacklington Stanley’s grey-shirted keeper. 2-0. The Greys are all over the place.
Playing his last game before his big move back to France, midfield playmaker Manu rolls the ball to Martin from the right corner flag. And Martin’s shot is just as convincing as Adam’s. The keeper doesn’t stand a chance. 3-0. The Greys are in dreamland.
Confidently, our heroes slow things down, passing the ball around well and looking for another opening – like any top of the league team worth their open top bus parade should (too soon?). Suddenly, left back Paolo breaks down his side. He looks up, spots Ollie and knocks a perfect ball into the box. Ollie volleys his shot straight at the keeper but reacts well to head in the rebound, effectively assisting himself. 4-0.
Perhaps shocked by their early lead the Greys back off and give Jacklington Stanley more time on the ball. A cross is fired in, but it’s straight at Greys keeper Yusuf. Eventually, the Yellow and Blacks win a corner. The cross is whipped in. The ball squeezes its way through the pack, to a yellow and black shirt inside the box. And the striker hits the ball through the crowd, straight into the right hand side of the Greys’ net. 4-1.
Just before the half Adam plays Martin in down the right hand side. Martin doesn’t waste any time pulling the trigger, and his shot is way too hot for Jacklington Stanley’s keeper to handle. 5-1.
To be fair, despite the heavy score line, Jacklington Stanley’s keeper is actually having a good game. If not for him, the Greys could have seven or eight by now. Early in the second half he screams like medieval Sean Bean, trying to rally his flagging troops. But the Greys aren’t feeling sympathetic.
Manu knocks a long pass into the box from just inside Jacklington Stanley’s half. Martin reads the flight of the ball perfectly and hits a tidy volley past Ned Stark to put the Greys 6-1 up.
Jacklington Stanley kick-off again but Martin closes down a weak back-pass from the centre. Somehow, he squeezes the ball across the box to Alex, who’s in the right place at the right time to put the Greys 7-1 up and complete his comeback hat-trick.
Beaming with pride the Greys slip up again. A wave of yellow and black shirts surges forward on the counter and the ball breaks for the same forward who scored Jacklington Stanley’s first goal. Forced to commit, Yusuf guesses right but the striker goes left. 7-2.
It’s back and forth for a while, until Ollie tosses a throw-in to Yusuf. Feeling confident he attempts a Cruyff turn but ends up looking more like Artur Boruc against Arsenal. He gets away with it, though, and Theo and Koyes clear the danger.
Wrapping things up, Adam runs past two yellow and black shirts on the right wing and drives a low cross into the box. Martin reacts first and the ball’s in the back of the net before the keeper even knows what day of the week it is. 8-2. And a hat-trick for Martin as well. All in all, a good day’s work for the Greys. Keep playin…