Strong Reds get seven-goal tonic
Quinine 0 PFFC 7
The four previous games between these two teams have produced an incredible 42 goals. Unfortunately Philosophy have usually been on the wrong side of that particular balance sheet, shipping 10 in the first game but replying with 6 of our own. Although the games since would never quite reach that Wisden-esque level, this fixture is one which is guaranteed to give you goals. Fact!
On a fine and sunny morning, quite portentous of the Indian summer we are currently experiencing, no fewer than 15 Philosophers arrived fresh-faced (sort of) and eager to take on the challenge of last year's league champs. Unfortunately Quinine were unable to field a full team so took to the field with just nine men; however we knew that, even with a two-man advantage, we could not afford to take them lightly.
Philosophy lined up in their preferred 4-2-3-1 formation and immediately took the initiative. Attack after attack failed to produce a goal with many a red man red-faced. Eventually the pressure told and Ömer was able to fire in. Shortly after this the score was 2-0, after a fine finish from Henry. At this point lesser teams may have broken under the pressure, but it's to Quinine's credit that they continued to battle and created a couple of half-chances which Kadeem saved well.
Half time saw a triple substitution with the introduction of Lawrence for James, Michele for Andy at right back and Rob, making his debut, for Henry. The second half continued in much the same vein as the first, Philosophy pressing but unable to break through, Quinine holding out valiantly.
Much to the relief of those watching and playing, the third goal came through Lawrence with a fine finish, and he was to keep up his remarkable scoring form by adding a fourth shortly after. At this point the game was effectively over as a contest and Philosophy were able to add a further 3 goals through debutant Rob, Henry's second and James, who bagged a well deserved goal.
Overall, this was an impressive performance against a side that even with 9 men needed to be beaten and were beaten well. Simon was excellent in centre midfield, dominating the second half. The defence was solid, and managed to keep a clean sheet for the first time in over a year. Another positive was a scoring debut from Rob.
This was my first match of the season and it was heartening to see so many players turn up eager to play. That we had a 15-strong squad certainly helps our cause and long may it continue. At the professional level we often hear about the importance of a big squad and certainly in the Grafton Alliance I believe it is just as important, perhaps more so. To be able to rotate players, and to rest those whose legs are faltering will give us an edge over opponents who are numerically inferior.