Buoyed by a veritable victory over club elites “the ones” some weeks ago, the 2s set about their preparation with a smugness only confidence should bestow. Earlier in the week a team sheet depicting Sponge-bob, Pocahontas and other cartoon characters had rallied the boys further into the assumptions of a clear win. The fantasy had begun… Cottee would turn up before everyone else complete with a banana so ripe it would hone his keeping skills not only for this game but several beyond, Kuldeep would shame the squad with a defence so masterful and effortless the ball would appear to barely leave his right foot, Colin would score five goals from outside of the penalty area, Jason would clear so much traffic up the wing it would seal the boys position on the pitch and all in all captain Dicky would corale an already buoyant eleven to victory with little effort whatsoever.

The 3s had a different game plan… Silent assasins and for the most part pulled it off …

The reality however is always short of the fantasy and in turn twenty two men meandered onto the pitch in various guises hoping desperately for win but playing under the pretence of a pack of stunned gazelles.

Everyone realised their team errors and over corrected their mistakes: lack of passing leaving the 2s yelling desperately for some attention on the wing as the rest of the squad gathered centre pitch, the 2s man marking with vigour but gaining and losing the ball with simultaneous momentum… and shouting, lots and lots of shouting from both ends. Shouting for solidarity, for team work and everyone wanted it… You could tell that everyone was on the same page but again the reality was a scrappier version of events.

The game started mostly in the 3s half, 2s with good possession, but, 3s with a tight defence, possession came to the 3s in spits and spurts, briefly almost catching the 2s out on the break, numerous chances came to the 2s, but with some good defending and a touch of luck muddled with some missed opportunities in front of goal the deadlock remained.

The opening came from a freekick outside the area… 3s wall of four placed, Dave steps up to curl the ball around the wall, top corner out of the flailing keeper’s grip… as intended the ball left Dave’s right boot, missed the wall… 2 foot from the ground and did indeed flummox the keeper… 1-0.

Late first half, 3s free kick, magenta shirts scrabbling over who gets to take the kick… Purple shirts organised, crowding out magenta, barks of instruction dominating the area, in comes the cross… shot… No, cross… Not sure… Great ball either way, keeper Cottee calm, calls out, kicks out, AIR… Ball travels past 2s and 3s alike watch in slow motion as an extraordinary piece of goalkeeping enables the ball to pop onto the post and rebound onto Jason’s foot for clearance… Goalkeeping of excellence or comedic standards… Only Cottee will know for sure!

The second goal came from a moment of Avery magic… they come now and again… and this time it was much appreciated, having spurned a number more chances, the 2s needed something to lift them. Avery coming in from the left, shot low and to the corner. 2-0.

It was at about this point where skipper Dicky decided that Dave’s use on the sideline was coming to an end, the persistent chatter mixed with taunts had caught Dicky’s attention… perhaps if he was re-introduced onto the pitch silence would resume? It worked, men really can’t multi task, quiet at last.

The game was a scrappy affair all match, but the 3s had shown promise. this time to be rewarded, the ball ricocheting out of the penalty area onto the magenta foot and straight into the top corner. Frustratingly deserved. From this point on the game became more open 2s and 3s alike with chances, but the 2s managing to do enough to keep in front.

Then the moment came, having hollered his need to score and pestered for the opportunity to go up for the corner Andy “weird room” Dickenson finally had his chance. A peach of a corner from Colin saw Andy peel away from his marker, swivel one step left, one step right, the ball hovered temptingly Andy saw his name in lights on match of the day… A 90 + 3 minute goal… Eyes focused, a small adjustment in the neck… Bam! Once a defender… Always a defender… Glanced wide with an open goal “FUCK” rang out in the silence… Only the word “fine” could be heard after… 2-1 it stayed. The whistle went.

The only good news a new OTFC greeting of pint glass met with fist came out of this sorry debacle… As Andy apologised to Colin in unusual style… Oh well… It’ll carry on to tour but hopefully no further!

Highlights… 3s keeper seems to generally move in slow motion but somehow has the innate ability to predict the lie of the ball
Kuldeep preferring to play with a sore foot than suffer the agony of watching from the sidelines
Dave not playing any differently when sober…

Man of the match unanimously appointed to Charlie… That is good Charlie, not bad Charlie… Ok? Good!

Well played all, congratulations to the 3s for prompting the 2s to come unstuck and to the 2s for ensuring their status of OTFC champions remains intact… Who cares about the league anyway?