Thursday, January 24, 2013

Me vs January 23rd

Yesterday, was as I mentioned to several people, not a super sparkly day for me. It started poorly, tried to rally mid-day, and then fell to absolute shit near the end. This post is a recap of my day in the framework of a futbol game. (In case you lot couldn't sort it out for yourselves).

The match of me versus yesterday was scheduled, as you might expect for yesterday. Yesterday, on paper and from the reports of my advance scouts, did not seem to be some Chelsea-like squad. After all, it was any burly day like xmas or thanksgiving. So, in the main, as I lined up my starting eleven against yesterday's starting eleven, I felt that I had a chance to at least snatch a draw. And a draw with life, in the guise, of yesterday, is sometimes (most times) about the best result you can expect. In fact yesterday versus me was billed as a bit like a Stoke versus Sunderland match. Two middle of the table teams that were fairly well matched, and neither one a particularly exciting club to watch. Yesterday versus me was shaping up to be a bit of a snore match, worth watching if a) it were the only game on, or b) you had a vested interest in either club. All in all, the crowd for me versus yesterday was predicated (and predictably) quite small.

It started, if not brightly, well enough. It is always important to get a feel for the match early, and not to get caught out too soon. Falling behind within the first 10 minutes can be quite a morale killer, and sometimes is just a signal of disaster, like the first few pebbles that zip past you, as you climb whatever mountain that is in front of you, before the avalanche buries you for good. My squad depleted as they are by injury and poor form, managed to weather the first 10 minutes with something close to aplomb. We are not Barca, we do not normally have long periods of possession followed by some eye watering piece of skill that puts the ball in the back of the net. No, we are a more workmanlike side soaking up our fair amount of pressure, and hoping to hit on the counter.  We do not score a lot of goals.

As the game progressed things seemed to be going fairly well for us, but as usual when things seem to be going well that is the time to be the most fearful, and right on cue disaster struck. A mix up at the back, my centre halves were at sixes and sevens with each other, and in waltzes their big, lumbering centre forward to complete one of the easiest goals he will ever score. My poor keeper did not have a chance. There we were at the 23 minute mark down 1-nil.  It stung a bit, and it put us back on our heels for a few minutes, often times the first goal of a game, especially a game like me versus yesterday, can settle the whole match.  As I mentioned before, we do not score a lot of goals.

However, things begin to slowly return to an even keel, and in the 34 minute we had a shot that drew a very smart save from yesterday's keeper. It was a good sign, and we began to grow in confidence. This is the part of the match where those over paid blowzy announcers would say "you can sense an equalizer coming before the half." And, for once, they were correct it came in the 43 minute, and was (for us) quite a corker of a goal. Taken with some skill by the only fellow on our squad that can seem to score, thank goodness he is around, or we just wouldn't score at all. There we were going into the half level at 1-1. Things seemed to be looking up, and a spot of tea, and a pep talk from the gaffer were a welcome relief. Also, as with most half times a good solid tinkle helped things as well.

The start of the second half duly arrived, and things were fairly even for the first 15 minutes or so, neither team was able to gain any particular advantage, or impose their will upon the match. Then like a thunderbolt out of a clear blue sky, a goal of absolute brilliance set the match upon its head. It was a shot struck with real venom, and our keeper still is probably wondering what that missile was that sailed past him into the top corner. Two keepers standing side by side in the goal could not have kept that goal from being scored. Here we were at the 61st minute suddenly down 2-1. It was not a good sign, have I mentioned that we do not score a lot of goals. As our befuddled keeper was picking the ball out of the back of his net, and sense of doom began to slowly creep into our squad. A sense of this might not be the end of yesterday's scoring, and that things were about to break bad for us.

Almost as quickly as it took for me to write that sentence, another thunderbolt arrived in the 66 minute, another goal of individual skill the like which my squad can only wish they possess. It was a goal of beauty, and grace, and it left our squad deflated, like a beach ball left over from three summers ago that you find in your attic one day while searching for some photo album of a long forgotten birthday.  Down 3-1, and in need of a change, our gaffer decided to change our tactics just a bit in order to stop the bleeding. We are a stubborn squad, and while not quite resilient team, we at least have to be told more than once that we are beaten. However, we do not score a lot of goals.

Yesterday duly obliged the requirement of telling us we were beaten in 72nd minute with a goal that is not going to make any highlight reels. It was a bit of a goal mouth scramble and a scrappy goal (the type we usually rely on) and while it wasn't all the keepers fault (there was enough blame to go around) it could be said that he 'should have done better, and could have kept that one out.' Well, he should have done better, and he should have kept it out, but he didn't and here we are with almost 20 minutes of normal time to play, down 4-1. Clearly the winner of this match had been decided at this point, and we are just playing for pride at this point. The less said of the dying moments of this lopsided affair the better. We did manage to hit the woodwork in the 81st minute, but it was the last gasp of a dying man. The ball just simply refused to cooperate and cannoned off the bar, and was swiftly cleared up field by yesterday.

As expected when a team is behind 4-1, and the clock is winding down, attention to detail tends to wander, and as our back line's thoughts were wandering to the nearest pub to wash away the shame of this match, yesterday decided to pile one more on, and make the score 5-1 (it happened, in case you care, in the 89th minute). 5-1, and three minutes of stoppage time to play, this was nothing short of a hiding, a being taken behind the woodshed, and beaten like a redheaded step child type of match. One that as the final whistle blew an end to the massacre, we wished we could put it behind us. I mentioned we do not score a lot of goals, but to get crushed 5-1 is just a bit more than we could bear. We desperately wanted to put this day to bed, and forget it happened.

 However, life isn't quite as simple as a football match. For one thing teams don't play matches everyday, and I do. I am here trotting my eleven out and facing January 24th's squad. An all new, all fresh day to 'play' and hopefully draw with, it is the best result I have achieved in a while, a draw that is. But yesterday's beating is still there in the background, it still smarts, and it might even be festering. The lessons learned, and not learned from that pounding have yet to be fully sorted, and it might take a few 'matches' for the bruises (mostly to our psyche) to heal. If they ever do, they might just scab over, and might be re-opened at anytime.  However, in spite of the doom and gloom that pervades this match account, we realize that we do have 'supporters' people who watched the beating unfold, and felt (if only briefly, and secondhand) our pain. We are normally a selfish lot when it comes to pain, we like to hoard it all to ourselves. It is to those supporters, while they are few they are loyal, that we both apologize for yesterday's poor performance, and promise to at least try to do better today and in the future. Without your vocal (and written) support, we would probably just accepted our 'relegation' with merely a whimper, but since you lot are around, we will continue to put out our best eleven, and hope for the best. After all, that is all we can do.

P.S. This post is dedicated to those 'ultras' in my narrow fan base. You know who you are, and you know what that means. Merci.

1 comment:

chall said...

well, it could've been worse with a self-goal or two thrown in the middle... when the team is really desperate at least.

Hope it gets better, next game and all.