Hello again! The Leviathans have had their second official friendly against Soho Freedom and this report documents the good, the bad and the fun! It won’t be a play by play detailed and time stamp incident report because I was busy managing the team and shouting encouragement from the sidelines. So instead I’ll just ramble on a bit about the game, point out some highlights and then hand over to the photography department for some excellent pictures. Thanks to Baby T and his non linesman assistant Tom Simpson for their efforts on the day.
It was a classic Sunday afternoon when we arrive at the marshes, overcast, slightly wet and earlier than normal for a supposedly 1pm kick off. But there is one defining factor today and that’s the biting easterly wind in your face. No ball in the air can handle it, crazy wind will either act as an invisible wall or a high powered cannon effect, nothing in between. We watch as some birds attempt some take-offs only to either hover, fly with the wind against their will or simply give up and return almost immediately to the safety of the pitch next door.
Formation today is a simple 4-4-2, no messing about, 4 at the back, 4 in the middle bit and 2 up top. We welcome a new player in Daniel Jammaers in centre midfield today, touted and scouted by Javi. Instructions to the team are only to respect the wind and be like the birds…
The first half is the Paul and Marcel show up front, nothing less, just this,
because we can. What started as an amusing joke to put two veteran full backs in positions unfamiliar on the big pitch actually turned good for the team! Paul’s spectacular fitness regime and competitive skills learnt at training comes good. He holds up the ball extremely well and is constantly running the channels putting those 44 year old legs to good work. Meanwhile his attacking partner is enjoying all the flair of the flick regardless of where it ends up! He’s also our main threat on goal after a unfortunately poor goal kick into the invisible wall of wind lands at his right foot. The instant control plays it onto his favoured left and fools the Soho centre back, a snapshot is parried round the post, could this ridiculous partnership formed on the 5 a side pitch actually work?
Well no is the simple answer. We don’t score any goals even with the wind in our favour. Captain Sykes did indeed win the coin toss so we started with the wind on our side but Soho were able to gain ground into our half and eventually lead 2-0. An impressive battle against all odds to do this, pinning us back and capitalising on simple mistakes. Be like the birds was maybe not the best advice!
Here’s some professional pictures from the first half…
Half time, 2-0 down and with only worse to come when we battle against that wind in the second half.
The team talk is really just to change up the formation and try to get something out of the game.
Back to the pictures…
Second half and we’ve got a Plan B in reverting to 3-5-2. This should hopefully enable us to compete not against the scoreline but also against that wind. Where the birds fail to fly we will plod along like herons on a wetland sanctuary.
Introductions of another age defying veteran in Steve Sawyer and emergency substitute Hybrid Chris at the back in theory will provide stability and security, more on that later. Jules and Nick up front a regular and reliable team of goal getters. The impressive Jammaers continues in midfield along with Shazattack and Felix, Paul keeps on running down the left with Vikram commanding the right.
The plan is working, we pressure the Soho goal in clear tactical stages, Paul’s legs carry us all into their half and his experience gains territory by doing the right thing winning corners and throw ins.
It’s not long before Jules’ dead ball prowess gives a chance for Hybrid Chris to rise above all and head home from a corner. But did he actually head it home? Did it touch him at all? We’re not sure and the law of averages state that surrounded by Soho means it’s more likely one of them got the crucial touch towards goal, decide for yourself from the following evidence.
Anyway it’s a GOAL! So 2-1 down and wind ahoy we go about trying to claw another one back while there’s still time. But it’s not long before our emergency substitute has some boot issues and hops over to the bench flapping a boot sole in my face. This modern hybrid technology is very demanding isn’t it? Taped up like a true bodge job and he’s back in action but only to giveaway a penalty. I’m so glad he’s here…
Over to you Bradley who still not clear on the rules asks Josh the friendly referee on what to do in this situation. Josh’s advice is to just “jump” so Bradley promptly ignores the patronising comment and ends up standing defiantly in the centre of the goal as the ball flies past to his left. Stick to your principles Bradley, you were in the correct position and knew full well the force of all that open space wind was behind that penalty. Choose your battles with strategic intelligence and remember everyone…it’s just a game!
(And Josh although friendly does have an impressive bitchy streak…)
Pictures of the second half action…
Final score is 3-1 with the game finally coming to an end after both sides deciding it’s time to let the wind play with itself for a while, we can all pop to the pub instead.
Lots and lots of positives can be taken from this second Leviathans game, firstly thank you to Soho Freedom for playing in good spirits and being a tougher challenge than Leftfooters. A 1-1 draw in the second half is something to be proud of against a competitive team who played well. I’m also very pleased with how our formations matched up especially in the second half, a 3-5-2 offers security and attacking needs if required.
Every single player today performed very well indeed, never easy in those conditions and this whole set up is exactly for those who want the game time. When you have the ability to give these players minutes on the pitch you can see the potential for improvement and progress. Notable mentions for Felix in the centre, a somewhat forgotten force on the big pitch, always committed and always giving everything. Also to Daniel Jammaers a spectacular debut including some excellent positional play, tough tackling and some dribbling skills too, the complete midfielder! Great to see Steve Sawyer in a Phoenix shirt again, his dependability was everything I expected from an amateur professional if that makes sense! Just keep that slide tackling to a minimum please, though I get it, I’d be the same. Just note one of your unnecessary sliding moments nearly took out the cheering supporters on the sidelines!
Speedie’s Controversial Man of the Match Award
No controversy this week an absolute clear winner and if he doesn’t win the so called official award via Teamer then I’ll be quitting with immediate effect. A mature veteran in all aspects, age, experience, a home owner, recent father and picture of the day winner Mr Paul O’Connell! The fact that he was able to survive 90 minutes without taking a break at all is one of many reasons why he’s man of the match today. The featured image of this match report post has already been likened to the greats of Messi, Maradona and Iniesta, here’s a comparison:
He deserves today’s award with no controversy at all, unless is was actually Capable Simon? Or maybe even Rash? Who knows, my head hurts now…eyes too.
Can’t wait for the next game and our punishing two team fixture list is heavy from March onwards. We need to keep this Leviathans momentum going and a rematch with Leftfooters is definitely required!
Thanks again to Soho Freedom, our cheerleaders, our administration team, and Leviathan.
See you all on the next adventure…