Philosophical point in the wild south

OW Strollers 1 PFFC 1

Jez, 25 February 2001


From the cauldron of Roma to the frozen tundra of South London via four consecutive cancelled matches, the Gaffer must have feared for Philosophy’s unbeaten run.

Certainly there were cobwebs, but as the boy Coyne summed it up, “We’ve gone away from home and we’ve come back with a point. And you’ve got to be happy with that.”

“1-1 against last year’s champions? Sure I’m happy,” added the Gaffer at the post-match conference.

The game signalled a welcome return for Sola, quickly scotching rumours of communication difficulties with the Gaffer. Meanwhile the Gaffer was having communication problems of his own and it seemed that Philosophy would be without their manager, half of their defence and a quarter of their midfield. The gloom was lifted by the arrival of the Chada chariot: immense!

Early psychological battles with the opposition elicited their fear of our “fiery, enthusiastic player … French, or possibly Italian.“ 1-0.

We transferred in convoy to a pitch on the South coast. 1-1.

First half skirmishes were not pretty, very much the war of attrition. Early doors and the boy Ricci was heard to enquire if we lived in the Colosseum, such were the gaps appearing all over the pitch. The Gaffer patrolled the touchline, the lone philosophy supporter easily outdoing the Strollers’ pitiful fanbase.

Flashes of the Cornishman’s runs hinted at things to come, although pasty retention seemed to have cost him half a yard. Most of the play was concentrated on Philosophy’s left, with Owen and Raj imposing their presence. A couple of neat saves too by Rob, picking the ball out of the sun.

A chance for Philosophy fell to the boy Bray; the ball bounced effortlessly off his skull and over the bar. Keir applied pressure with strong corners but Philosophy could not convert.

Philosophy’s defence held solid until a lucky deflection allowed a shot to dribble over the line. 1-0.

A Philosophy attacking move broke down with an unconventional handling by Bray. Rumours of Fowleresque difficulties with white lines were denied by the Gaffer.

Second half and Philosophy started to play their fluent game. The light headwind held up through-balls for Stefan but the Stroller’s keeper was giving nothing away until long shots from Keir and Coyne introduced doubt into his goalkeeping universe. A goal-line clearance from Paul was swiftly followed by a long ball after a Strollers corner. It broke for Sola who had come on only minutes before for Keir; then a perfect cross to Stefan who nodded the ball past their keeper’s despairing fingertips.

End-to-end play followed with Filippo moving forwards and space developing for PFFC.

Heated exchanges followed, with Joe having to be calmed by the stand-in ref Richard. A fearsome challenge on Raj and jostling in the Philosophy area were the main features of the last ten, but the Thinkers weathered the storm to claim a useful point. Proof positive that there are no easy games in the Grafton Millennium League.