Last week's match reports.
Old Crosbeians 4-4 COXA 3's
Josh Browne, Stan Christoforou, Dom McLoughlin, Liam Thornton, Conor Keable, Jacob Browne, Tom Macgregor, Sean Slater, Karl Velinor, Luke Michael, Ben Obrien, Josh Ewin.
This result was a bitter, bitter pill to swallow. If you took a look around the dressing room at full time you would have thought we had lost a cup final, it really felt like a loss. We were of course late to the game and franticly scrambling around before kick off, but we managed to get 11 on the pitch for kick off (just about). The pitch was really poor, for those who have played here before you will be well aware of the mudbath accompanied by hundreds of pieces of goose shit. We started really slowly, we couldn't find any rhythm and it was near impossible to play any football in the middle of the park, which really hindered our game. The oppo had their gameplan ready, at every possible opportunity launch it into the box. To be honest this really is the way to beat us, corners, free kicks, long throws etc. Pulisball often comes out on top on pitches like these. We went 1-0 down to a scrappy goal early on and I looked round to see heads down, a few looks to the clouds as the rain came lashing down, and not much chat or fight from the COXA. It was a really poor showing from us. Luckily, we managed to equalise through a set piece of our own, Jacob's deliveries always cause problems for the oppo and Liam attacks a ball like a young Sergio Ramos, it was a really well worked goal, and hats off to Liam who fought well to drag us back into the game. We then produced a moment of quality, a quick break releasing Luke down the left, who again was a real thorn in the side of the oppo back four, picked out a late midfield run from Tom to head home and give us the lead. We somehow had the lead, but we hadn't got started yet. The lead was short lived however, the oppo won a free kick and scored from it, shock. We went into half time at 2-2. I wasn't happy.
Im not usually one to raise my voice but the hairdryer came out at halftime. Iv run this team for 3 years now and I had seen that first half performance 20 times. As we had won our first 6 comfortably in the league, the rain starts to fall, the pitches start to deteriorate and the other teams play catch up until the sun comes out again, I'm not sitting by and watching that happen this season. We made a better start to the second half, Ben Obrien made a big impact off the bench, he broke up the play, won his headers and tackles and helped the midfield keep their shape in a game that was choppy and disorganised. We took the lead through a brilliant strike from Jacob Browne (cant believe how many times I have typed that already this season) and we felt like we were all over the oppo and it would only be a matter of time before we put the game to bed. We made it 4-2 after some great work from Tommy mac in the middle freed up Josh on the right to finish with his first touch. We led 4-2 and were on the front foot, with 20 mins to go we were awarded a penalty, unfortunately we couldn't convert it but still at 4-2 up with 20 to go we felt we had the game in the bag. The game took a turn however, the ref making an awful mistake and awarding the opposition a penalty for Liam's brilliant last ditch tackle. This made us angry, to be fair it rattled us, we couldn't believe how bad the decision was and from that moment on the opposition got a sniff of a point and we were just clearing our lines and asking the ref how long was left. With precisely a minute and a half to go, the oppo played a ball in between me and the centre backs, only for me to reach out a leg to try and prevent it getting between us, instead, my clearance landed straight on the foot of the striker in the box, who finished. Il end the match report here as even writing this is stressing me out.
We have to quickly put this result behind us and get back to winning ways, we are sill unbeaten (though this felt like a loss) and there is still a long way to go. Patrice Evra taught me that whatever happens, keep loving this game. However, he is currently serving an 8 match ban for fly kicking his own fan in the face. Il leave it there.
Up the Clapham.
History is rife of Norsemen coming to England and attacking towns and villages. There was 886, when they came and took York. 1066 in that battle that everyone learnt about at school at Stamford Bridge (not that one) and then there was November 2017. The difference being that they didn't win this battle. One thing can be said about ALL Norseman in incidents described... They were all twats.
Come gather one and all and listen to tale of how the Norseman came and failed to conquer Norbury.
As all good tales start, this particular story begins the day earlier.
The night before a battle, one should get lots of rest...eat well and drink plenty of water. Ha...funny thing is, 90% of the team were drinking steins of German beer until 1am. Oops. I guess...after finding out that the oppo beat the team in the last round 8-1, we were probably just drinking to soften the blow when the Norseman come and dick all over us.
Feeling worse for ware we amble to the ground. Only to find that the ref moved the KO to 1.30 rather than 2. Nothing cures a hangover like being forced to play football sooner than expected.
Going back the 'battle' analogy, armies look terrifying when they arrive on mass in their new tracksuits and TV cameras...not so much when 8 and an old man turn up.
Whilst their captain tied cameras to the goalposts and their keeper lost his shit over not being able to wear his precious green goalie shirt and blamed us and then moaned about our yellow socks.. Clapham focused on the job at hand.
As expected we started better and got a goal from Adam, who although was only 2 yards out, hit the ball so hard it would gone through the keepers eye if he was in the way (you see what I did there??)
We got another soon after with a goal of normal Clapham quality. (So good I can't remember it)
Hangover??? What hangover??
Then, Jimbo played a back pass shorter than Donald Trumps willy in that picture that woman painted of him nekid, and the oppo latched on and scored.
Oh yeah...THAT HANGOVER!
Not to worry, we soon scored again to make it 3-1.
Now to my favourite bit of the match report....my Jay Buckerfield moment of the week. And there can only be one winner. The man himself. With the oppo on the attack a cross comes in along the ground. The keeper (me), seeing a big striker coming in late shouts away...the next thing we know, Jay has let the ball through his legs and let it run on to me (the keeper). Truly wonderful, pointless and a bit hair raising. Special mention to Jay Buckerfield also in the second half for jumping for a ball, missing it and laughing so hard everyone hears it.
Half time comes and 4 more Nordic players turn up giving them a full compliment plus sub. Game on....
That was until we won our first pen of the season, which Harmer slotted home with ease.
4-1 became 4-2 after they beat the offside trap and they got pumped up.
However, standing in their way was Andre. The black gandalf. With the striker baring down on their 3rd, Andre grabbed his staff and shouted (with his boots) YOU SHALL NOT PASS, and much similar to Lord of the Rings...they didn't.
Biggest moment of 'controversy' was when a corner came in from Norsemen, a near post shot was partially saved and Greg cleared the ball off the line....which made the whole of the oppo go mad. I mean seriously angry. They started throwing the C word around. I mean...would you believe it...who uses that word?? The best thing about it will be when they look back over their videos on the you tube and see that the ball did not cross the line especially by a foot as their number 2 was gesticulating.
Clapham dug in as the oppo pushed and held on to a big win.
I do love it when teams are gracious in defeat...not these. Bitter till the end.
But we can't leave it at that...oh no. Let's take a moment to address the 2 open goals that Smiddy (not so) Jr missed. If you had forgotten...don't.
Final special mention to James who got Motm. He toe poked his way to a hat trick last week, but showed a great grit and strength to play a great game.
What more can I say! It was a hard fought game but the determination shown by Clapham was fantastic.
Y'all need to sleep off the rest of the hangover and feel fresh for next week when we get back to league action.
Report by Rich Critchlow. MOTM James Walker
Updated 10:54 - 24 Nov 2017 by Frank Barretta