Righto back in the home of Sunday league football at Hackney Marshes for another match up between Phoenix and fellow Unity league regulars Titans, this time being the CRUK faction. What was once a grudge match in my previous appearances has now become a goalfest and as I return to fitness to hopefully grace the field once more I continue to play on where my Titan counterparts are no longer. Take that tall dark, handsome and absent Titan midfielder! Alas I do not know his name but remember his feud with me vividly…
Arriving late after a run out at the Shoreditch Powerleague I quickly try to familiarise myself with the starting line up, getting confused by the unusual Phoenix formation of 4-4-2.
We kick off with a back four of Oleksandr Zinchenko lookalike Tom at LB filling the valuable left boot of Mr Anderson. CB pairing of Mike Glutes Luker and Hat Trick Hero/Bleeding/The Milner-esque Versatile Luke. RB and right channel commanded by Phil the Power.
In midfield we have Felipe on the left, Harrison on the right with Jenny Denny in the centre with “It’s not Simon” Rash. Up top Jack partners Non Grunt Nicky.
I’m reliably informed Phoenix start well with Jack already hitting the post before this happens around 10 minutes in…
1-0 Phoenix with a lovely assist from Non Grunt Nicky…
Then roughly 10 minutes later Nicky gets his reward from some questionable Titan goalkeeping…Watch the Titan’s linesman, his reaction tells us everything!
Game continues on with Phoenix dominating the possession and overall control. New formation holds up well to the lack of Liam at the back and Mr Anderson marauding down the left. Gluteus Mike and HTH/Bleeding/Milner Clone Luke handling everything thrown at them with ease. Super Stopper Steve even has the audacity to go full Neuer sweeping up from the back and at one point runs out of pitch to do so…probably for the best.
Then a contentious moment happens approximately 35 minutes in, please note none of the rather bored looking substitutes wanted to help out with time keeping so it’s guess work from me on all time stamps. Rash has been the face of the midfield, using his experience to evade the Titans and frustrate them, only for one to kick out it seems as he leaves them behind on the floor. Now after not seeing the full incident I can’t say for sure how bad it was but it was bad enough for Rash to react angrily and not accepting the Titan apology, whilst still on the floor mind! In steps Titan veteran midfielder who shall not be named for legal reasons, who tries to calm Rash down but Drag Race wannabe Rex the Referee can’t keep himself from the unnecessary drama and sends both players off for the very minor confrontation…a shock to both sides. No hands were raised from either and both happily talked about the confusion off the field. Baffling.
With both teams down to 10 the game continues without a hitch. The Phoenix defence holding strong, Phil the Power working wonders down the right, Ukranian Tom doing the same on the left whilst Hat Trick Hero/Bleeding/Milner can play CB Luke plays with the demeanour of a seasoned pro, heading anything, tackling everything yet still spraying balls left and right, channeling his inner Conor Coady. This allows Gluteus Mike the ability to push forward at times and he takes his chance with a lob/possible cross, the Titan keeper is again caught out…3-0 Phoenix!
The rest of the half is a fairly uneventful affair but after a good performance from Phil the Power down the right wing, we switch it up as Hybrid Chris is fully fuelled and ready with a single lentil curl crisp. Phil gives way unable to compete with that sort of efficiency. Brother Martin replaces the ever willing Felipe down the left wing.
Just before half time a Phoenix corner is rifled across the box towards the far post where Brother Martin meets it with a firm head…
Half Time! 4-0 Phoenix.
The second half starts with Casey on for Jenny Denny and Not Blond Tom in for Jack with Nicky up top on his own in a 4-4-1 formation.
Pretty much seconds into the second half and Phoenix again run straight through the Titans with a clinical and swift move. Ukrainian Tom with the decoy overlap run into the left channel whilst Non Grunt Nicky holds the ball up then swivels and slides the ball through to Brother Martin who casually beats the Titan keeper for 5-0!
The determination of a first half spent running the line ensures Casey gets stuck in rapidly, crunching Titans left right and centre. The one man tackling machine gives Not Blond Tom a chance to show his debut skills on a tricky Marshes surface dazzling two Titans by basically running between them.
60 minutes (I think, who knows?)
The Hackney wind blows hard and Titans use the advantage well pushing Phoenix back, a corner into the mixer forces Luke into a goal-line clearance. But the Phoenix attack is devastating and once again we foray into Titan territory with Hybrid Chris silently running the wing in order to flight a ball to the back post where Brother Martin can’t commit fully to a scissor kick fearing the worst when landing in the classic unpredictable Marshes pitch. A chance scorned.
Quick feet from Harrison gives Phoenix time to breath as the match continues into the 70th minute. His ability to annoy the Titans with twists and turns not only pressures there fragile defensive capabilities but also enables Phoenix to regroup. Another change Jenny Denny on for Not Blond Tom and Curly Tom on for a much anticipated 11s return. Jack heads back on to replace Nicky.
The minutes tick by with chances at either end but Phoenix looking strong and comfortable, there may have been a couple of Titan goals at some point but to be fair I missed them both. So in the interest of fair play I’ll add them to the scoreline regardless…
So the final score is a 5-2 win for Phoenix, a commanding performance all round and comfortable win on home turf. Everyone played well today with no exceptions, everyone got some decent time on the pitch which isn’t easy when you’ve got a squad of around 16-18 players. Even Capable Simon made an appearance late on trying to take the red card for Rash because I’m easily confused…
Speedie’s Controversial Man of Match Award.
This week there was one outstanding player making the choice pretty much a definite. A faultless display of determination, interceptions, important tackles, even more important and impressive headers and an ability to use the ball wisely and usefully utilising the simplicity of the game on a challenging surface. This week it’s Hat Trick Hero/Bleeding Knees/James Milner Is My Idol/Previous Night’s Activities Should Remain In My Head….LUKE! The only thing he didn’t do this time was bleed, though his knees were covered in marshland so the claret could be hiding under it.
Really strong performances from Ukrainian Tom with a lovely cultured left foot worthy of at least 3 Premier League titles, Tackling Machine Casey, Brother Martin, Non Grunt Nicky, Gluteus Mike, Jenny Denny and his hurting head, plus all substitutes who added to the Phoenix push. To be fair it was team effort today with all putting in a shift.
Bring on the next game away at Soho, a tough test for sure…
Today’s valuable media curtosey of Non Grunt Nicky and The Original Tom. Thank you very much.