On a grey, damp, drizzly day, on which the sun never truly rose, the Soche trudged towards King George’s Park. With a mediocre opposition in store, we were hopeful that we might finally get our first home win, although with several team members having met the Lord the night before our hope was somewhat tempered.
Things got off to a bad start, when some mug, brandishing his emails, tried to steal our pitch and TK instantly backed down, terrified. Fortunately, in a bizarre turn of events, it turned out that they had only got one net, so relinquished the pitch to us. The sight of this self-important little neek crying about his lack of nets cheered up the whole team, and we warmed up with renewed vigour. Maybe this would be our day.
Our spirits continued to lift when we saw the opposition turn up, 5 minutes before kick-off, and launch into the most half-hearted warmup I’ve seen since the days of Fil as gaffer. Furthermore, not one of them looked a day over 20. Perhaps it would finally be our turn to bully the opposition. Once the game started our pressing game, which has been improving week-by-week, quickly won us the ball several times high up the pitch. Several promising moves ended abruptly however, as Daniel was performing his own solo rendition of the mannequin challenge, which he had neglected to tell us before the match.
Despite the fact that we were dominating the play, and limiting the opposition to a few long balls down the flanks for their fairly speedy wingers to chase, TK was still threatening to explode with rage. We needed a goal, and fast. Fortunately the gaffer came up with the goods, expertly hitting the ball against two defenders legs to deflect it through for the birthday boy to slot past the keeper, despite JB’s plaintive cries to pass the ball. His chance would come.
The goal settled the team down, and we started to play some good football. Some nice passing moves took place, and we were starting to enjoy ourselves. TK embarked on a run down the right wing (someone had to), before being cynically chopped down by their appalling left centre back. He picked himself up and floated a ball across the back past, which was volleyed in with aplomb by skipper JD. You might think that a 14 month competitive goal drought would be the longest streak to be broken today, but oh how wrong you would be.
This was followed swiftly after by the third goal, perhaps the best of the lot. After some good work in the midfield, TK played the ball upfield to Tom. Spotting the run of his pocket-sized pal Oly, the ball was threaded between two centre backs, for Cape to calmly slot into the opposite corner. 3-0, and half time was a far more pleasant experience than usual.
The second half began, and nothing much happened. Complacency crept in, and the quality of the soche’s play was diminished. Fortunately the opposition were still dreadful, so they couldn’t take advantage, and the game descended into that familiar scrappy second half. Suddenly, out of darkness shone a light. A textbook crunching challenge from Cape caused the ball to travel up towards Tom. Tom then played the ball through for Jack and time stood still. A flock of pigs flew by, hell froze over, the moon turned blue, and Jack Bingham had his chance. Jack took it, ingeniously hitting the ball straight at the keeper, but with just enough power for it to creep through his hands. It would not be the last easy chance he would take that day in a slightly bizarre way. The whole team celebrated wildly, with the exception of Daniel, who knew he would never hear the last of it.
The rest of the game settled back into the scrappy pattern of before, with an odd formation tried out by the Soche which didn’t really work, and a late free kick by the Motspur number 10 caught out Tommy P, who had had precious little to do before. It mattered not, we had won. With three games unbeaten on the bounce, our season had finally begun, and we duly celebrated late into the night, with our oldest and dearest friend, the Lord.