“I’m going to start calling you ‘The Postman – because you always deliver!”
In 1915 the British forces (amongst others) were involved in a conflict in the muddy fields of France. The Battle of the Somme has since had the reputation for being two things: Bloody and MUDDY! You probably are wondering why Mr Hays has started off a football report with a history lesson… well it’s because today Langold and Cuckney had access to possibly the closest thing to the Somme’s conditions this side of the English Channel! At some points during the match Mr Hays had to make sure Curtis and Kurt had not drowned in the mud behind him!
Anyway, on with the Football! With the setting sun casting artistic reflections on the puddles in the Cuckney goal-mouth, Kieran kicked the game off and the match had begun.
Cuckney are a skilful and energetic side, so the prospect of watching two such evenly-matched teams had pulled a bumper crowd onto the school field – even Mrs Mallaby turned up (although her footwear endured the worst of the muddy conditions!)
The plan of action was simple, we would attack the opposition down the wings and look to pull the ball back into the middle of the pitch. This is something that Harrison and Ziggi did almost immediately. The Postman and Mr Stardust combined which resulted in Zigga-Zagga’s 2nd goal of the season from close range.
1 – 0 Langold.
3 minutes later and the Langoldians were on the attack again, with Ronnie steaming down the wing. His cut back to Joel had just missed its mark with a good piece of defending from the Cuckney centre back. The following throw-in was launched into the box by Captain Marvel, the ball bounced up and struck the Cuckney midfielder on the hand. The infraction was adjudged to be handball and a penalty was given.
“I’m having it!” shouted Kieran, the skipper sensing an opportunity to move ahead of the Postman in the scoring charts. The crowd went silent and El Capitano slotted home his 6th goal of the season and Langold’s 2nd of the game.
The rest of the half past by with plenty of stand-out features; Ronnie was incredible today, he defended from the front and didn’t let their powerful offense get started. Alec, Warren and Jayden, in particular, shut the door to their attackers time and time again with sensible clearances and insightful passes. However, the player who has been much maligned by Mr Hays in the past stepped up to the plate with an incredible free-kick save. The school field rumbled from the Wilburforce in net!
But with time in the half ticking down, Cuckney found themselves deep in the Langold half and applying some considerable pressure on the home team’s goal. With pot-shots being taken from left, right and centre the blue team’s defence was bewildered. One ball bounced up around chest height and struck the hand of Kieran to which a penalty was given.
Could Willbur dig the team out of trouble again?
He almost did… the keeper got 2 hands to the ball, but the power from the spot was such, that it just wasn’t enough to stop it from finding the roof of the net.
2 – 1 at half time.
“Listen, we should be winning this by a large margin, we need to up our game gentlemen! Use our pace down the wings and get me another goal!” these were the words of a team manager who felt that the game had the chance to sneak away from his team. Logano came on for Willbur in the nets. The young goalie had to strap on his gloves and armbands as he made his way to his net in amongst puddles galore!
The 2nd half kicked off with the Langold team chomping at the bit. Mr Hays had taken Joel to one side and instructed him to sit just in front of the back three and serve as protection for them. This was a difficult task for the goal-hungry midfielder, but throughout the game he performed his role manfully.
A midfield battle of attrition then took place for the next 10 minutes, with both teams finding gaps in their opposition’s defence, to find those same gaps quickly closed.
Something had to be done.
Mr Hays then pulled out the coaching manual and found a quote that he felt suited this moment perfectly…
“Harry, you’ve got 3 minutes left before I sub you off. Make me keep you on… get me a goal!”
I wish I could describe the look of disgust that I received from Harrison then, but honestly, it could have melted the fur off a cat!
The boy now named Pat (because of his postman-like prowess) turned around, looked up, found the ball at his feet. He took a glance at the net, saw the keeper slightly out of positon and delivered a laser beam into the corner of the net.
3 – 1
“Enjoy the rest of the match lad!” said the flame-haired manager as though he had just scored that goal himself!
“I bet that’s going into your match report isn’t it” said co-manager Mark…
Mr Hays then got carried away thinking that he was the next Paul Heckingbottom (he’s the Barnsley manager if you didn’t know and is a genius! You reds!) and tried the same thing with Ronnie. Only the keeper’s outstretched hands were the difference between Mr Hays being insufferably smug and not.
With time ticking down in the game, two substitutions were made; Kurt for Ronnie and Curtis for Alec. Langold were now in full flow, the 3rd goal had created a bit of breathing space which allowed the team to start playing flowing football. Mr Stardust danced down the wing and crossed in some truly delicious balls. One of which was greeted by the luminous orange boots of Kurt. The midfield sub made an excellent decision to work himself towards the back post just at the right time. The ball skidded across the muddy surface to be calmly slotted home for Langold’s 4th and Kurt’s first ever school goal.
This was the last meaningful piece of action in the match but for something that Mr Hays and Mark both agreed would’ve completed the season totally… Curtis had the chance to collect his first ever school goal but was just denied by a goal-line clearance.
Overall, a 4 -1 victory in difficult conditions was extremely impressive and I couldn’t be prouder of how far this team of lads has come. Every one of the boys performed their jobs manfully and deserved every bit of credit that they get.
Onwards and upwards!
Will – 8/10 – Stopped a laser beam to the top corner with ease to keep the game at 1 – 0. It was a crucial stop and came just at the right time! Didn’t have much chance on the penalty as the child who scored had a cannon on the end of his leg instead of a foot!
Logan – 8/10 – “Make sure you get yourself mucky Logan!” were the instructions given to him at half time. The boy sure did that! He was caked in mud after he dealt with everything Cuckney threw at him for his 2nd clean sheet of the season.
Warren – 7/10 – Committed himself whole-heartedly into every challenge as is expected of him now. He has really started to read the game now, knowing when to tackle and when to pull back. Brilliant.
Alec – 7/10 – Made some bold clearances to set our speedy wingers on their way. Has also developed a good knack of reading the game, his positioning today was superb with excellent choices being made.
Jayden – 9/10 – Fantastic match today, won every header that came his way. He destroyed their attackers in tackles and didn’t give them a second’s peace. Would have got Man of the Match if it wasn’t for Joel.
Joel – 10/10 – MAN OF THE MATCH – The best I have seen this lad play all year. He didn’t like the position that he was put in, but instead of moaning and moping about it, he adapted fantastically. He provided a perfect veil of protection in front of the defence but could also join the attack at will. A cracking game.
Kurt – 9/10 – Deserved his goal by being in the right place at the right time. This was a skill that can’t be taught and Kurt knew exactly when to make the move into the box. Fantastic work!
Curtis – 8/10 – If he could have finished his shot to provide himself with a goal he would have seen his manager run around the pitch like a hooligan. Sadly, we all have to carry on waiting for that to happen!
Kieran – 8/10 – Cracking game again from El Capitano, he bossed the midfield and put the penalty away with ease. Loses 1 mark for handballing it in our box like a plant-pot and another mark for the number of times he shouted “I can’t throw it that far!” before launching it way over everyone’s heads!
Ronnie – 10/10 – Superb match from this lad, I cannot praise him enough for his grit and determination in the midfield. He never gives up on the ball and it earns him so much ground up the field where he then knows where his teammates are. Fantastic!
Ziggi – 9/10 – Mr Stardust danced himself into the ground today, he was a constant threat moving down the Cuckney wing. He took his goal well and looked a class above their defence. On a drier pitch he would have had 3 or 4 goals today.
Harrison – 9/10 – The Postman delivered again. He seems to take pleasure in making his manager look like a fool. Every time something is said to him he pulls it out of the bag and scores a blinder! Loses a mark for the look of disgust that he gave me when I told him he had 3 minutes left.
Kieran – 6 goals
Harrison – 6 goals
Ziggi – 2 goals
Ronnie – 1 goal
Kurt – 1 goal