It was a case of No Direction (us) versus One Direction (Easts FC) in the final game of a gruelling season at the field of dreams last Sunday.
The contrast between the teams in the pre-match line-up couldn’t have been more obvious: the elongated foetuses from Easts FC squaring up to an ageing and podgy Barnstoneworth side ravaged by years of drug and alcohol abuse.
Marcel’s text the previous night urging everyone to indulge in more drinking had been well meaning, if somewhat misguided. It was sent on the basis we had already secured second spot thanks to a no-show by Easts in their rearranged Saturday game.
However, watching the lacklustre warm-up it was clear some players had followed Marcel’s instruction to the letter, while others managed to show up barely 5 minutes before kick-off, although we will not be naming names here (Danny, Ronan).
Still, there was plenty of confidence amongst the boys after a recent 1-0 win over the pre-pubescent paper-boys from the Eastern ‘burbs.
In his pre-match presidential address, Billy urged the team to forget about the pending league decision on docking Easts the three points, which would have confirmed our runners-up position no matter the result of the game.
As far as he was concerned, these spotty-faced little bastards were to be put to the sword.
There were few changes to the starting line up, but we did have 3 subs for a change and Paul Hartley getting stripped after spending a lengthy time on the sidelines was a welcome addition.
The good news on Paul’s return was to be ruined later in the day when Darren Dooley announced he too would be available for selection next week.
The game kicked off and within 5 minutes we were 1-0 down. The goal came from a defensive fuck up which let their player capitalise on a short back pass, round Marcel and square it to the back post for a tap in.
The game didn’t get any easier, and with Easts playing three men in the middle of the park, we were on the back foot. A touchline conference between Billy and Mark Johnson quickly followed, and the decision was made to try and shore up the midfield.
Anto was sacrificed (much to the amusement of his sibling hobbit) after 30 minutes to make way for Mad Dog, who was brought in to add a bit of steel to the middle of the park.
Numpty and Ronan did their best to deliver some comedy gold for onlookers by running into each other and losing the ball on several occasions, while the referee did his best to ruin the game by blowing his whistle for the slightest challenge on the toddlers.
Apart from that there was nothing of note to talk about, we limped into half-time just one down and still in with a shout, despite failing to register one attempt to beat their decrepit keeper.
As I’m writing this I’ve just realised that we should have asked to check the cards before the game, because that keeper was possibly the most obvious ringer this season.
Anyway, into the second half and Easts continued to play some nice passing moves. We were being outplayed and the fact we kept turning the ball over to them wasn’t helping matters.
Can’t really remember their second goal but I’m pretty sure Darren Dooley was to blame. Mid-way through the second half Marcel had to retire with a rib injury. This meant John took up his spot in sticks – the task holding no fear for the big man who can usually be found defending two yards out from goal.
In the end we were well beaten, but it’s fair to say we can put in a far better shift than that – we’ll have to if we are going to make the Grand Final.
So that was it. An 18-game season came to an end with us claiming 2nd spot. Well done boys, it’s been a great season, but it could get a lot better this weekend if we turn over Coogee.