It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. The opening line of Dickens’ Tale of Two Cities just about summed up Billy’s weekend. Claiming a late 2-1 Victory over Loko and putting us in the driving seat to finish second was the best of times; and being reunited unexpectedly with his long lost son Banger was the worst of times. Cilla Black would have been proud of this reunion, but the confused Darren could only ask, “Banger, do you clean your teeth with Bonjella?”.
In a weekend so steeped in team camaraderie and where the leaders guided us through a heavy booze filled session on the Saturday, it would be foolhardy to delve into the detail of how the game unfolded without taking a step back to the events of Saturday. The pub crawl that never meant to be.
Mark’s BBQ was like a freak-show, John Murray turned up in a black cat-suit, Ronan was wearing a quilt, Marcel was wearing a pair of trainers he was left in his great grandfather’s will and of course there was Banger.
After polishing off 5 cases of beer we were led to Mark’s local where after 10 minutes Mark was spilling drink and smashing glasses- “time to go lads”. The pub crawl had begun. Off in taxis to an Irish bar in Newtown to settle down for a few more beers. Again, after one drink- “time to go lads”. This time after a combination of slurred words from Mark and the Chemical Brothers being sleazier than Gary Glitter at a school play. Complaints to the barman saw the pub crawl continue. However, not before Paul Hartley fired off a few swear-words at a midget bouncer (he chose wisely, the other bouncer was an 8 foot, 30 stone Samoan). The wheels were well and truly off at that stage. Eventually, our big night out was pulled back to the Coach by Sean. All in bed by 11pm. Way to ruin a night out Sean.
When the team mustered on the Sunday, it was clear to see that the 16 hours’ sleep the players had to recover hadn’t worked. Despite the red eyes and odour of booze, Big Al was the only one still smiling. But then he had his eyes on a bigger, sweeter prize than victory against Loko. He had brought his red-haired prize pony with him. A fine young beast designed to be rid. We’ll have to wait to next week to find out if ride her he did.
Two minutes in, Gav played a great ball through to Ronan when the ball took a tricky bounce and outstretched, he could only get a toe to it and it skimmed the crossbar and away. Unlucky. The control in the rest of the half ebbed and flowed between both halves with Loko coming very close with a fantastically hit free-lick that was heading straight for the top-corner but for the heroics of the Dutch Octopus between the post. Outstretched, he got a firm hand on the shot and pushed it wide. Not the only great save he made on the day.
Moving swiftly on as typing this in work and needing to get some work done. Loko, in a spell of dominance, worked the ball well up-field and nice pass played them in and the striker finished with style. 1-0 to the away team. This was the kick up the hole needed as the home team picked up a ball in midfield and Big Gav weighted through a perfect pass again that was chased down by Dan who, much to everyone’s surprise, beat the last man for pace and steadied himself before coolly slotting the ball in the bottom right corner. Great finish and that squared things at 1 apiece.
Only other plays of note between this and the next goal were a string of left-footed curling passes down the left wing from Ricky that endlessly spun over the sideline; Big John was doing more heading than a football hooligan after a derby defeat; Anto might as well have stayed at home; Sean was squeaking from all angles; Jonesy didn’t have the gear; John Murray was struggling with Psychological injuries; Darren Dooley was eating hot-dogs; Daz came on as a sub and we thought he was wearing a parachute, turned out there was a young lady-boy hanging out of him; and Billy wasn’t swearing as much as he usually does- but I guess that was down to reuniting with Banger.
Late in the second half the ball breaks down the rights and Sean take control, looks up and drills a precision pass through to the open back-post where John Murray controls and unmarked smashes the ball with his left foot across the keeper into the bulging back of the net. 2-1, job done.
The Man of the Match award was awarded to Ronan who selflessly passed it on to Marcel for his outstanding display. Final game of the season against Easts next week at 1pm at Paine Reserve. A win or a draw will guarantee a second place finish for the Barnstoneworth boys.