Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Contrasting fortunes...

Of a footballing nature. My weekends consist of three kinds of football. I don't mean soccer, American and Aussie either, I'm talking about the title race, fantasy football, and my own five-a-side team.
We'll get to five-a-side later, but the weekend begins, as most days would if I had the choice, in the early afternoon. I had a late one on Friday night watching my beloved Celtics, so I'll let myself off waking up past midday. Lying in bed with my TV and laptop at the ready, and a drink, crisps and chocolate also on hand, I was set up for the day.
First port of call was Bolton v Tottenham. 5live were covering it, but with Gareth Bale freshly restored to my fantasy team in place of Rafael van der Vaart, I decided to find a live stream on the internet. It was a good decision. What a game. Bolton played really well, far better than their stereotypical hoof it style of play that most followers of the game give them credit for. Spurs didn't play badly, but off the back of a stunning display against the European champions, they were out-hustled by a fired up Wanderers side. Sadly, the aforementioned Bale didn't have anything to do with either of Tottenham's goals, and so registered a measly two points on the old fantasy.
A combination of certain sides playing on Sunday, and Dimitar Berbatov not playing for United meant that the three o'clock kick offs only involved three of my fantasy players. A massive thanks for coming it was from them as well, as Javier Hernandez got himself booked, Stephen Carr conceded two goals, and although he saved a few, Paul Robinson let in one. So they contrived to total five points, which, when added to Bale's earlier contribution, left me with a spectacularly average seven points. Cheers for that.
Despite this, my team has had a pretty decent start to the season, so one bad weekend isn't the end of the world. On the contrary, United's start to the season has left a lot to be desired, sacrificing leads at Everton and Fulham, amongst other places. So when Park Ji-Sung made it 2-1 against Wolves with a minute left, I was so happy i somehow managed to jump up and down on my bed, whilst in a cross-legged sitting position. Fantastic stuff.
On to Sunday. Once again I woke up after midday, I like to think of it as saving my energy for later in the day. Arsenal Newcastle rolled around fairly quickly, and it was a case of title race v fantasy team. My team contains Marouane Chamakh, Cesc Fabregas and Theo Walcott, who, for the second week in a row, was my captain. I like to make a few hero plays with my team, in the hope that if it pays off, no one else gets those points. However, the last two weeks it hasn't gone well at all. In both games Walcott hit either post or bar. Oh the pain. 20 points minimum missed out on by the width of a stick.
Anyway, much to my surprise, Newcastle didn't get carved apart, stuck to their gameplan and got a result, which killed my fantasy team, but helped United. So not all bad. As for Man City, well sadly they won, but thankfully Tevez didn't score. Probably quite a good reason for that as well.
And so the time had come. Five-a-side time. One of the highest lights of my week, as I used to play a lot of football but then took a few years out. Camberley Cricket Club Football Club entered the facililty with a respectable record of one win, one draw and one loss from three games, and were definitely looking to win against a team on the same amount of points. Forget Liverpool Chelsea, 14 minutes each way, this was quite clearly the biggest game of the day, anywhere in the country.
Having looked at the table before leaving home, it was clear where both teams' strengths lay. From three games, CCCFC had scored 13 and conceded 13, whereas the Red Devils had scored five and conceded five. The early exchanges were fairly even, with not a lot of talent on show. True to form, the Red Devils created chances then missed them, while CCCFC took a little more time getting into their stride. After about five minutes though, captain Sam Holmes played a ball up to me, and, with a defender at my back, I laid it back to Charlie Hipkin, the lanky Aussie, who was marauding through the middle. Without any hesitation, Hippers swung his right peg, and, via a slight deflection and a certain lack of effort by the keeper, in it went.
Not long after, I was sent through on goal, but the keeper came out, I panicked and tried to take it round him, but nudged it just too far and it went out for a goal kick. Well, it was a goal kick until the referee gave a corner, anyway. I got the ball, put it down, found Sammo lurking 15 yards out, he took a touch and banged it in. 2-0.
A few more chances were created and wasted by both sides, before I got the ball just inside the Red Devils' half. There was only one man between me and the goal, and I knew I was quicker than him, so I got up to speed, took it round him keeping it on my right foot, and when the keeper thought i may have dribbled it further up to him, I hit it early. 3-0. And that was half time. Very satisfactory.
Pretty much as soon as the second half started it was 3-1, but it wasn't long before Sam knocked a long ball over the top, and as the keeper refused to move, I knocked it past him and into the corner for 4-1.
Soon after, I was put clean through, and decided I'd go for my favourite trick of shaping to bend it to the keeper's left, then dragging it across him into his bottom right corner. Sadly i dragged it too much and it shaved the outside of the post. We were made to pay for my miss, as it went 4-2.
It was all-action, end-to-end stuff, and when i got my next chance, I decided finesse wasn't an option, so I thumped it hard and low into the corner, via the keeper's leg. Another poor attempt at a save from him, and a hattrick for me. Almost straight away I made it 6-2, Sammo's throw-in put on a plate for me to tap in from close range.
Game over you might think. Well, not quite. With eight minutes left, Hippers shouted out: 'Come on boys, let's make it double figures.' Oh dear. It went 6-3, then 6-4, then 6-5 with about two minutes left. Surely we couldn't draw from being 6-2 up. Well, actually we could, some gay boy shooting through Dom Peter's legs to tie it up with about a minute to go. There was still time for a chance for each side, but it finished 6-6 and to say I was pissed off was an understatement.
Ah well, my spirits were raised when I sat back in my car and turned the radio on. There was Mike Ingham on 5live announcing Liverpool 2, Chelsea 0. Rarely do I want Liverpool to win, but when they're up against the scummy, success-out-of-nowhere, money-filled, zero-history, fan base-increased-tenfold-in-the-last-five-years, shit from south-west London, I don't mind the council-house scouse getting a result.
As for the fantasy team, well, Ashley cole did nothing, Florent Malouda did nothing, so it wasn't going well. Paul Konchesky did manage a clean sheet, but all-in-all, it was a poor week on that front. Chelsea, Arsenal and Spurs all losing made it a good week for the title race, but sacrificing a 6-2 lead made five-a-side pretty bitter.
It all rolls around again this weekend, so let's see how it all goes. Cya.

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