L.O.B. vs Design Bridge – 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 Greys have dusted off their disastrous pre-Christmas run and are finally back on track. Tonight, for the first time… ever, they have the same starting lineup for a third time in a row. And with Karim, Martin, Rob and Alex up front and in the middle, you know there’s going to be goals.

Desperate to keep their promotion – and perhaps, title – challenge alive, our heroes face Design Bridge, who are one place behind them in Division 2. It’s an important game, because next week the Greys face Electric Rams, who are one point and one place ahead. And of course, second place would guarantee promotion to Division 1.

With so much on the line, both teams start well. It’s back and forth in the middle, but early on, left back Theo and left winger Karim combine well down their side. Karim looks fired up, bouncing off black Design Bridge shirts and throwing himself into tackles. Rob soon joins in and plays a neat ball to Theo, now in an advanced left wing-back position. Somehow, Theo bundles his way past two defenders and finishes well to put the Greys 1-0 up.

A few minutes later Design Bridge’s keeper rolls a routine throw to his centre-back. Charging in like he’s holding down R2 and playing FIFA, Karim dives in and wins the ball. It breaks for Ollie, who plays an early pass to Rob. Taking it in his stride, Rob holds off his man, turns and fires the Greys 2-0 up.

Taking their foot off the gas, the Greys let Design Bridge back into the game. A black shirt breaks down the right wing, cuts inside and plays a neat ball to the charging forward. The Greys fail to close the striker and he shoots from outside the box. The ball skims off Adam and beats keeper Yusuf at his far post. 2-1. Game on. Half time.

The second half is tight and both teams are up for it early on. Yusuf rolls the ball out to Greys centre-back Julien, who plays a quick ball upfield to Martin. Injecting urgency, Martin steams forward and plays a clever ball inside to Rob. Again, Rob holds off his man, turns and sticks the ball in the back of the net. 3-1.

Still hungry for more, Martin breaks forward again. He plays the ball to Greys midfielder Hammam, who skips past Design Bridge’s right back and hits a low cross into the box. Rob – who else – has made a neat run and meets the pass at the front post. He puts the keeper on the ground with a dummy and then smashes the ball in to complete his hat-trick. 4-1 Greys.

Desperate to get on the scoresheet, Alex picks up a pass from Adam on the halfway line. He takes a few steps and hits the sweetest shot of the season. The ball sails over the keeper’s desperate lunge, moving all the time, and drops perfectly in the top right corner. What a goal. 5-1 Greys.

Design Bridge deflate and it’s pretty much one way traffic, minus a few last-ditch long balls by the black shirts. Then, finally, Design Bridge get into the Greys’ box. A black-shirted forward blasts the ball straight into Julien from 10cm away, his right arm is at his side, in a perfectly natural position, when the ball hits it. But still, the ref gives a penalty.

Yusuf dives the wrong way and Design Bridge pull things back to 5-2. Visibly angry with the decision, the Greys charge forward again and win a corner. Karim floats the ball perfectly and Martin heads it in at the back post. 6-2 Greys. Just before the end, Karim hits an almost identical ball into the box. This time Hammam jumps well to meet it and heads the ball down, but the keeper tips it over. And that’s how it finishes, 6-2 to the Greys. Bring on the Electric Rams…

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