A murky January afternoon at the Linford Christie Stadium saw the PHC men’s 3rd XI return to action for the first time since the winter break. Chiswick were boosted by Jason Ye, who returned from injury, and Andy Jordan, who finally decided to grace the midfield with his presence.
Other developments, however, were to unsettle the team before the first ball was even played. Ever reliable Billy Caddis was a surprise no-show, controversially deciding to drop himself from the squad on the morning of the game. Even our very own captain Scott Elliott, proving he doesn’t just pass the ball late, made an uncharacteristically tardy arrival. Finally, as bad things come in threes, the Linford Christie Stadium once again wheeled out the dreaded portaloos, dashing all hopes of a comfortable pre-match ‘routine’.
After some balanced open exchanges, Clapham Common took the lead with a low drag-flick from a penalty corner. Two quick-fire goals on the break later and Chiswick were rocking. Disaster struck again as Jason Ye was flattened by a lumbering Clapham defender while carrying the ball into the opposition half. His seven minutes of fitness looked like they were up as he was carried off the pitch by his teammates. The home side were buoyed before the break after pulling one goal back through Chris Brinkworth and as Cowboy’ Chris Henderson arrived to lift the team’s spirits late in the first half.
If only bad things came exclusively in threes. The situation got worse for the Chiswick defence as the Common continued to mount pressure in the spitting rain of Wormwood Scrubs. Lightning fast breaks from the opposition forward line coupled with a rock-solid press to create opportunities on goal and stifle distribution from Paul Caine and Thurstan Wolf at the back. Jason Ye shook off his injury to rejoin the midfield, but even he was unable to steady the ship. After yet another goal-mouth scramble, DVB’s foot blatantly prevented a certain goal as last resort. A stickler for the rules of the game, Dan offered no objections – he ‘knew what he was doing’. Goalkeeper Louis Allwood was powerless to save the resulting penalty stroke.
As the light began to fade it was clear that it would not be Chiswick’s day. Cries of ‘let’s get this over with’ came from the defence as the tally against reached an insurmountable total of seven, but pleas for an early finish were rebuffed by veteran umpires Philipp Shartau and Chris Smith. Special mention must go to our umpiring volunteers, for whom fantasy league points seem poor payment. Not only did they have to watch a torrid defensive display from the home side, but they had to put up with constant remonstrations from both teams. In truth, the numerous cards meted out to Clapham Common’s forwards were justly deserved, but Chiswick were unable to make the most of their numerical advantage. A sweet strike from Chris Henderson into the bottom corner of Clapham’s goal gave some respite from the gloom, but it was too little, too late.
A day to forget for Chiswick men’s 3rd XI.
MOM: Binky – Scoring a fine goal
DOD: Scott ‘smelly shirt’ Elliott – lateness