A bad day at the office
Grafton FC 5 PFFC 2
After a narrow 3-2 defeat in their first game of the season, The Thinkers were keen to get their season started properly by winning the next match. With a strong squad of 15 hailing from 5 different countries (Argentina, Italy, England, Spain and Scotland), it seemed that everything was in place for the Philosophers. It was not to be, however; we had several new faces in the team, and much of the time we played like strangers. We never managed to build any momentum and Grafton took full advantage, thoroughly deserving the 5-2 victory.
Straight from the kick-off we seemed sluggish. Our opponents were more hungry than us, and they deservedly went ahead early in the first half and, soon after, doubled their lead. A measure of hope was restored just before half-time by a goal from Matt Proutt, but we were lucky to be only a goal down. At half-time I remember feeling bemused, angry even, thinking 'how dare they play better than us?!' There seemed to be a collective bewilderment at how we were losing the game. Grafton is a team that has only beaten us once before in a competitive match, in December 2002. Today, however, our play did not deserve a more favourable scoreline – if anything, a less favourable one – but we should be ahead 'cos we're better than them – right?
The second half played out the same as the first. Every time we moved forward Grafton came straight back at us. They seemed quicker to the ball, their passing more crisp, their touch more deft. Three more goals were scored by Grafton, replied to only at the death by Pablo: a goal which gave a scrap of respectability to the score. Our woes were not confined to the loss of the match; we also lost another key player when Andrea hobbled off midway through the second half. Credit must go to Grafton, who deserved the win not just because we played badly, but because they played well.
Maybe my view is too critical, because of the disappointment of this loss. I know I was disappointed with my own performance and this may have affected this match report. The lesson of today's match: beware over-confidence.
PFFC (4-3-2-1): Kadeem; Chris Law, Andrea, Michele, Jesús; Will, Rob, Ömer; Pablo, Matt; James
Subs: Andy, Jesús, Davide