The latest third-person account of my weekly attempt to play eight-a-side football – we wear grey… Keep playin’
The Greys are having the season of their lives but they’re shedding dedicated defenders quicker than Manchester United. Tonight’s lineup was particularly attack-minded, so hard-tackling centre back Mike was called in at the last minute. The Greys face fourth-placed Copa ’90, one of four teams going for the title. They’ve played two games extra but they’re tied on points with the Greys, and behind on goal difference.
It’s wet and the ball moves around fast early on. The Greys win a free-kick on the halfway line. Hoping for the best, Mike smashes the ball straight at the Copa ’90 goal. Somehow, it misses everyone in the box, until lurking Greys forward Alex sticks a foot out and guides it into the back of the net. 1-0.
Minutes later Mike’s involved at the other end, as he dives in to block a cross and the ball catches him on the arm. “Penalty,” says the ref. It looks like a harsh decision. Ball to hand, completely accidental and his arm was in a natural position to support his slide.
Greys keeper Yusuf half goes the right way and comes agonizingly close but can’t stop the equalizing strike. 1-1.
Copa ’90 play in bright orange, like the Dutch national team, and their keeper looks like Ed de Goey. He seems hard to beat as well; the Greys manage to string a few chances together but the shots that aren’t straight at him are well kept out.
Soaking up the pressure, Copa ’90 launch an opportunistic counter. Their hulking, man bun-wearing centre forward is given too much space on the edge of the box. He hits a low shot that skids up off the wet pitch and squeezes under Yusuf’s elbow, as he gets down to try and keep it out. 2-1 Orange.
The Greys switch off for a bit in the second half, giving possession away and playing themselves into trouble. Instead of passing it around as usual they hit out-of-character long balls, which skid harmlessly out of play off the wet surface.
Finally, the Greys back off Copa ’90’s attacking midfielder one time too many and he decides to just shoot from way out. The ball squeezes through a crowd of Grey shirts on the edge of the box, through the clearing and into the bottom right corner of Yusuf’s goal. 3-1 Orange.
To make things worse, Copa ’90 aren’t done. They break down the right with a string of neat passes. An Orange-shirted forward cuts in on the right and ghosts past two Greys defenders, before placing the ball into the opposite corner of the net. 4-1. It looks like the Greys’ undefeated run might be coming to an end. But this realisation seems to galvanize them.
Alex gets the ball on the edge of the Orange box and sort of… steps on it. Greys winger Karim winds up and fires the dead ball past Alex – who might have got a touch – and into the top left corner. 4-2. One for the dubious goals committee, perhaps.
There are five minutes left on the clock and the Greys need two goals to hang onto their unbroken run. Finally, they play out from the back. Karim gets the ball down the left wing and knocks a dangerous pass into the box. Martin keeps his cool, sidesteps the keeper and buries the chance. 4-3. That’s more like it.
But just like that, referee Ash blows the final whistle and it’s all over. The Greys left it too late. They had more chances than their opposition but couldn’t stop Copa ’90 for a second time this season. Let’s just hope it’s a once off, not reality finally catching up with our momentarily defeated heroes in Grey.