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3 months ago By Frank Barretta

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3s
COXA 3'S 5-2 Old Meadonians 7's

Dom Mcloughlin, Louis Keable, Dom Taggart, Karl Velinor, Conor Keable, Matt Drury, Ben Dakin, Tom Macgregor, Sean Slater, Stan Christoforou, Luke Michael. Lewis Noble.

Its a well known fact that the 3's are a samba team, when the temperature is above 15 degrees and the sun is out, we will give anyone a game. However, when the league looks to already be wrapped up and a bit of snow falls in the morning, its high blood pressure time for me. We managed to scrape 10 together to start the game, (shout out to Dom McLoughlin for wearing the famous yellow jersey in his brothers absence) but we didn't have any centre backs, had 3 full backs, and Tom was still drunk dancing around in a fur white coat telling everyone it was Gods plan 15 mins before kick off. But then it dawned on me, Karl came through the Monaco academy in the 90's with Lilian Thuram, apparently their centre back partnership was legendary and they went a whole season conceding only 6 goals. Unfortunately one decision didn't go Karl's way in a tight game away to Le Harve and he kidnapped the ref, leaving him banned from all divisions of French football, but I reckoned he could do a job against Craigo from Meads 7s, so I gave him a shot.

We started the game pretty well considering the circumstances, we got the ball down and played some nice stuff in the first 15, Taggart and Umtiti looked solid at the back, Ben Dakin was pulling the strings in the middle and Luke looked dangerous every time he got the ball and ran at the back 4. We took the lead after Robben went on a mazy run down the left wing and was brought down by their fullback. Tom put in a brilliant delivery and Ben finished cleanly off his forehead. 1-0 Clapham. The game had a very 'end of season' feel about it, both teams were doing plenty of attacking, but there was lots of space in the middle of the park and neither team looked fully in control. We let the oppo back into the game through a sloppy set piece (this wont be the last time I say that) and began to panic abit. For the next 10 mins our play was sloppy and rather desperate, but out of nowhere up stepped D tags with a long range banger, the keeper almost kept it out but the speed beat him. Unfortunately though, as soon as we'd got back in front, their striker who scored 2 last week had arrived and got changed and made his way onto the pitch. He scored almost immediately, and then celebrated by shouting "2 mins you know, aye, 2 mins that's all it takes" (Wasteman). So we found ourselves heading into the break at 2-2.

We knew we could easily go on and score a hatful in this game it was just a matter of being patient and taking our chances. The opposition were now playing against the strong snow-swept wind and they were struggling to clear their lines, every time they had a goal kick we fancied our chances of putting them under pressure and getting it back into their box. It took a while, but the goal finally came through Ben Dakin, a brilliant finish that has come to be associated with Dakin, he has a knack for scoring goals from midfield. Ben's centre mid counterparts however offered different qualities to the game, Sean's centre mid performance was a combination of running round clamping people and bussing double stepovers on the edge of the box, the complete centre mid, strachback. There was also Tommy Mac, who I am sure is still drunk, as he was throughout the whole game, at somepoints he was tripping over his own feet, but he did manage to get 2 assists and score a brilliant 4th goal, Gods plan. We put the game to bed through Luke Michael who deserved his goal, having seen two previous long range efforts canon off the bar, he was persistent and got his reward with a composed finish on the edge of the area.

It would have been 6 but we failed to convert from the penalty spot, Dakin was on his hattrick but didn't fancy it, so up stepped Matty. Unfortunately his effort was saved and met with a "Nao Matty" from you know who, there is no greater insult, Studio.

We are grinding the results out at the moment and with a double header up next at Sutts we've got a chance to clinch the title, hopefully Karl lets me out of his boot by then.

Up the Clapham.

4s
I'm on the bus, so i guess its time to write one of these things.

Dont expect anything spectacular, I'm still reeling from the result.

From that sentence you must be an idiot to not realise that we lost. The 10 game (ish) unbeaten streak had to end soon and it was a deeper cut that it was to 3rd in the league.

Firstly, snow. Snow and more snow. There was plenty, but none on our pitch...so...game on. But by jove was it fricking cold. I mean...colder than cold. They dont tell you in goalkeeper school that goalkeeper gloves dont actually keep your hands warm. Actually....I never went to keeper school...so maybe they did??!!

First half was ok. 0-0. Matched each other, but maybe Clapham edged it. Birfdae boy hit the bar with a gorgeous keepy uppy turn and volley and whitts flew his shot in narrowly wide/over.

Lots of pressure from COXA but nothing. Even when Smiddy Jr got fouled by the keeper and still managed to round him...clapham were stopped in their tracks by the ref...who gave a foul against Rich. Cray cray.

Second half started and I'm sure it got colder. The snow picked up and Clapham started to freeze.

The 50/50s that COXA were winning were now being won by Shene gramarr....gramarma...grammmm....Shene.

On that note...SHEENO is not a cool name to call your team. Every time they shouted it....I couldnt help but think of Mr Sheen, who loves the jobs you hate. No wait...that's Mr muscle. Never mind.. Where was I...

The second balls started falling the Shene and they got a foot hold in the game.

Defending well, Claphams defence was bending, but not broken.

That was until the 70th minute. When through a crowd of players the Shene players squirmed the ball through and Critchlow flapped (talking about myself in the 3rd person is often odd) at the ball, got a weak hand on it and it went in. Personally and honestly, I pride myself on being better than that and know that I can, and I am sorry.

The second came soon after, when a ball came in and bounced up over the Clapham defence, leaving the Shene striker to head the ball over a stranded keeper for 2-0. Again...angry at my poor positioning for that goal.

3-0 followed as we left too many up chasing the game as they scored on the counter attack.

However....let's not get too caught up in that...

I have the 2 awards to hand out. The first is the Richard Smith gaffe of the week. This award is goes to today's man of the match Whitts.

Now...we have all been megged at some point in time. Russ got megged today when at left back. But...have you ever seen your star player get megged from 40 yards?? No....me neither. Til today. It was amazing...and so clean. Just bounced and woosh...went straight through.

The Jay Buckerfield moment of the week goes to an amazing but pointless moment of footballery.

Call it selfish, call it egotistical, maybe even narssisitic but the award has been given to myself by Dave Hamilton (maybe without him knowing it) for a moment of brilliance when being closed down by 2 Shene strikers, no options, this keeper drops his shoulder, sends the strikers away for a hot dog and just about managing to keep composure hoofs it upfield. Pointless, dangerous and given the match this reporter had...quite brilliant.

Halpenny nearly reduced the defecit with a bullet header that just went over.

More tomfoolery from the Shene keeper and the final whistle blew.

The main thing to remember is why we do this. Why do we play in the freezing conditions...because we love football. Winning isn't all its about. This loss stings...yes, But we move on. 4 games to go until the season is over and we dont get to play for a few months. Now that sounds crap...right???

Anyway, happy birfdae Harmer, hope everyone enjoyed the rugby game that was on. I heard there was a game or something.

Enjoy a Guinness or 2 and celebrate st Patrick's day like you are supposed to.

See you around...

Updated 11:21 - 26 Mar 2018 by Frank Barretta

Where next?

The Somme - 8th, 9th & 10th June 2018 UPDATE COXA visit to the Somme Battlefields to lay wreaths to the fallen Old Boys.
COXA Cricket Fixture for 2018 Dates for your diary with more news to follow...

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