This week the 7s were looking to bounce back from a disappointing cup exit last week up and were up against South Bank 6s, who had been having a bit of a mixed season. The 7s came into this game with the usual efficient and well thought out preparation that had been on display many times throughout this season. In the days leading up to the game the news was sounding grim, with the squad being sent out and we were already on the back foot with the bare eleven. This was worrying news especially with the 7s tendencies to have at least one drop out within 24 hours of the game being played. With the gaffer away snowboarding, along with the 7s top goal scorer, it was left to the dream team of Grant and Phil Mitchell aka Martin and Steve (I’ll allow you to decide who’s who). However disaster struck, the fears proved warranted as with less than 24 hours to go we had our first drop out, and it was one of the bald brigade Steve! Steve dropping out with a mysterious injury, which his youngest Alex later revealed to be he was battered and bruised and barely able to walk, how he received these injuries is purely speculation at this time but early reports indicate that a quote from Terry Crews ‘White Chicks’ character may be appropriate – “Once you go black, you’re gonna need a wheelchair!”
Onto the matchday and there was still an air of uncertainty over who would actually be turning up! George from the 6s was drafted in to help out our depleted defence and Niall’s mate Ewan eventually joined us at half time, Niall clearly sending Ewan the same text Dave sends to Daban with the wrong meet time! We then arrived to learn that there had been another Friday dropout, not one of the 7s players but the referee! A trade deal was struck with the 5s and Kieran was sent to them to play in goal and we received Lenners who would be our ref, apparently the efficiency of this deal has put Martin in prime position to take over the Brexit negotiations. So with a referee secured we had to inform the other team that Lenners would ref if they were okay with it, the initial response was that the oppo didn’t want to play without a proper ref, if only we had accepted that decision and called it a day there… Martin the negotiator Quinlan stepped up to the plate once again and assured them that Lenners had reffed before and if anything it would be more of a detriment to the 7s! With this accepted the 7s changing room was full of the usual lively banter and noisy excitement, which must’ve been creeping through the walls because the 7s were deathly quiet. Apart from Ryan of course who was doing his usual round of insulting everyone in the changing room, the big difference being this week that somebody enjoyed it, with Steve Harvey’s laughter echoing through the changing room! I would like to take this time to apologise to the 7s on Steve’s behalf, his laughter clearly interrupted the necessary silence for us to prepare for the game and impacted the performance on the pitch.
Anyone onto the match! Or so we thought, however as was the theme of the weekend more confusion and poor organisation! The 7s walked over to what they believed to be their pitch, only to discover that the 5s had set up camp, after a short while it was discovered that the 5s were actually playing on a pitch further up so the 7s sent them on their way and claimed the pitch. With such little time remaining nothing else could go wrong before kick-off surely?! It appeared not and the 7s prepared and had an inspiring team talk from Ryan, which only contained 16 swear words this week! We lined up in a bog standard 4-4-2 with Martin lining up between the sticks, a back four who’s pace rivalled that of the Jamaican 4x100m relay team with George on the right, Dan and Joe in the middle and Steve Harvey at left back. Into the midfield we had Dobbo on the right, Adam and Tom in the centre and Noor on the left, up top continuing the theme of pace we had the speedsters Niall and Ryan up top. The game got underway with Lenners setting a new fashion trend for referees by sporting a hi-vis hoodie. The 7s never really started and South Bank were having all the possession early on and eventually made this count, a poor kick from Martin straight to one of their players who had a weak shot from 30 yards, it looked as though Martin had it covered until he decided to do his best impression of a Salmon and dived, palming the ball into the path of their attacker who scored to make it 1-0 South Bank. South Bank built on the momentum they’d built up and won a freekick on the left hand side, the ball was whipped towards the near post and proved too strong for Martin and we were 2-0. The third, fourth and fifth goals epitomised the phrase ‘Déjà vu’ with one straight ball played past the defence and despite the pace of Dan and Joe in the middle and Martin’s quickness off his line every time the attacker got there first and made us pay. The star of the first half for the opposition was the young 17 year old winger who was having a field day against Noor and Steve, with neither of them able to get near him. The winger, who made Ryan look old, then ended the career of Steve Harvey who we regret to inform you will probably never recover. The ball was played to the winger and Steve decided he was going to get in front and stop him getting the ball, the winger saw this and with a smirk on his face dummied the ball through his legs. Steve with a look of shock and shame on his face, and the turning circle of the Titanic, did his best Forest Gump impression and ran straight past the youngster. Our thoughts are with Steve’s family at this difficult time. Ryan and Niall saw the danger the winger posed and changed the formation, Noor went into the middle, with Ryan going on the left as well as Joe going into midfield and Tom going to centre back to help give us some pace at the back. Not long before half time we nicked a goal back with Niall picking the pocket of their defender and unleashing pace he didn’t know he had, and to be honest the rest of us didn’t know as well, before burying the ball in the corner.
Half time came and we were 5-1 down. Heads were down and the boys spirits needed lifting, Ryan attempted to inspire the team as he’d done the last time we were 4 goals down at half time, with Niall giving a more tactical talk we were ready for the second half! Ewan replaced the injured Joe and we had some extra legs in the middle. However it seems in us focusing on keeping our shape and cutting passes, the entire team had forgotten how to put in a tackle with South Bank walking through our defence on multiple occasions and eventually made us pay 6-1. The rest of the game is more of a training match of attack vs defence with us just trying to get over the half way line, South Bank score another 5 goals and the game is long over. Niall scores a second goal off the back of their kick off with a stunning volley lobbing the keeper from 20 yards out. To the relief of the 7s the full time whistle eventually goes and it finishes 11-2 an unfortunate day of football and we were up against it from the off, we pick up next week away to HSBC looking for a much needed win.
It seems hard to choose a MOTM after such a dismal performance however one moment of the game made it an easy decision. One of their players controls the ball and keeps it up in the air doing a number of keepy uppys and then doing a seal impression bouncing the ball on his head, the 4 supporters of South Bank are loving it and up steps Dobbo! With a look of rage in his face Dobbo hit their player like a train and sent him flying to the ground, much to the delight of the rest of the 7s!
Special mention to Niall as well who with very little service kept the pressure up on their defence and never stopped running, as well as grabbing 2 goals.
Dick of the Day was determined by the first minute, Joe who had neglected to warm up had pulled his hamstring after his first attempt to run! Fair play to him he battled on and saw out the half.
Line up: Martin, George, Dan, Joe (Ewan), Steve, Dobbo, Adam, Tom, Noor, Ryan, Niall