L.O.B. vs Wednesday Week – Keep Playin’

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

The wheels have come off the Greys’ title challenge a bit, thanks to two back-to-back defeats and some flaky turnouts, so tonight’s game against Wednesday Week is crucial if our heroes want to reignite their campaign. And of course, things don’t start well, as referee Ash sends Greys midfielder Adam off to find two bibs to cover up two dark grey shirts and then blows his whistle. It’s a surprisingly cruel move, even for him, and the Greys struggle to contain Wednesday Week one man down early on. “I guess his favourite book isn’t Fifty Shades of Grey,” jokes Greys winger Karim.

Playing in blue and white stripes, Wednesday Week win a corner and take it quickly. The ball floats over the front post and finds their towering target man. Unchallenged, he heads the ball through the crowd. It bounces off Adam’s head and ricochets untidily into the top left corner. One nil Wednesday Week.

At this point Adam returns and Greys defender Koyes shows up. Back up to full strength with a man extra, the Greys fight back. Stand-in forward Big Rob holds the ball up well, flicking blue and white shirts off him like flies. But somehow his thumping shots always seem to hit a Wednesday Week limb and fly wide.

Adam signals the ref, telling him that the Greys want to make a substitution. The ref seems to acknowledge the call but as soon as substitute Koyes touches the ball he’s sent off for not letting Ash know he was coming on. It’s a strange decision, as everyone else on the pitch seemed to have seen the request.

Feeling cheated, the Greys fail to adjust to going a man down, again, and leave a gaping hole down the right. Spurred back into action by their seemingly unfair advantage, Wednesday Week’s left winger bounds through the open space and crosses the ball to an unmarked Blue and White forward lurking in the box. Making the most of his chance, the striker steers the ball past helpless Greys keeper Yusuf to put Wednesday Week 2-0 up. Things don’t look good for the Greys at half-time.

There’s a different air about the game in the second half. Hungry for revenge, the Greys exhale and calm things down. Stand-in defender Mike’s throw-in finds Big Rob, who holds off two defenders, turns and smashes the ball past Wednesday Week’s sprawling keeper. 2-1.

Next, Karim and Rob link up down the left wing. Moving surprisingly delicately for a big man, Rob turns his defender and lays the ball off. Karim muscles past his Blue and White adversary and his emphatic shot ripples the back of Wednesday Week’s net. 2-2. That’s more like it.

Upset that their lead has crumbled so early in the second half, Wednesday Week show their teeth. But neither team backs down and there are some pretty hard tackles in the middle of the pitch. Eventually, tempers boil over and Greys defender Koyes reacts angrily to what he feels is an unfair challenge on him in the box. Overhearing his threats, referee Ash sends him off… again. Although this time it seems like the right decision.

Determined not to let things slip the Greys cover for their missing defender. Julien is unshakable at the back and Rob and Karim are so physical, skillful and nimble upfront that Wednesday Week fail to deal with them. Karim rolls a pass to Rob, who shields it with his massive elbows, holds off two defenders and fires the ball into the back of the net. 3-2 Greys.

Still buzzing, the Greys pin the blue and white shirts back off their own kick-off. Rob nudges his man off the ball close to Wednesday Week’s right corner flag (if there were flags). And against the odds, he smashes a raking shot past Wednesday Week’s disbelieving keeper, into the bottom left corner. 4-2 Greys. Three goals for Rob. What a comeback. Made even sweeter by the Greys’ sense of injustice over Wednesday Week’s two first half goals. Keep playin’.

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