Final Penalty Voodoo Strikes Again!
Falcons put in a tremendous showing in the London Titans Tournament but were defeated on penalties in the final.
With a number of players rested due to ongoing injuries and niggles there was a chance for Abdul and Andrew to join the squad after impressing in training. After a message from the boss to turn up on time and not go out drinking the night before, there was naturally a series of players turning up just before the first game. However, this couldn’t top Alex who, rather boldly, decided to send a series of selfies of his drunken behaviour at 2:30 in the morning. The Columbian seemed rather quieter when he did finally arrive!
Things got off to a slightly nervy start in the opening group game as Titans XXL pummelled the Falcons penalty area with a series of long throws and balls from the back. Andrew, who only started due to the time it took Jack to have a poo, used his height to help deal with the problem (the long balls rather than Jack’s poo). At the other end, quick movement from Louis gave Dave the chance to ghost into the Titans box and score at the near post to give Falcons a 1-0 win.
The second match was against East End Phoenix. Falcons dominated possession but it was the opposing team who created the best chance of the match, breaking down the right wing before seeing a close-range shot go over the bar. Conal also pulled off a spectacular save but the offside flag had already been raised so it doesn’t count. Falcons switched formation to try and improve the passing but the final whistle went with the scoreline still 0-0.
The final group game was the most comfortable as we finally got our act together. Alex and Francesco combined beautifully to send Louis into the box. The striker rounded the goalkeeper only to see his shot blocked on the line. Fortunately John was on hand to hammer home the rebound. Most of the rest of the game was dominated by comedy as Francesco repeatedly went flying to the ground for a free kick but saw his appeals go the other way as he grabbed the ball in hopeful anticipation. Things were wrapped up close to the end as good work by Dave (I think – it was a long day!) left Abdul free at the far post to score a tap-in and win the game 2-0.
Falcons were drawn against Titans XXL in the semi-finals and dominated the match. However, after hitting the woodwork twice and seeing countless opportunities go begging, thoughts were beginning to turn to penalties as the match entered the final minutes. Then, right at the end, everything clicked. Conal through the ball out short and half the team combined to pass the ball through the opposition. Once again, there was a last-ditch challenge to stop Falcons in the box but the ball broke to John to score in the final ten seconds of the game.
And so to the final. Romans had been very impressive in the tournament and this was a very even game with Falcons perhaps edging the match as the opposition’s additional game started to take its toll. There were plenty of chances for us but winger-turned-goalkeeper, Craig, was in fine form in the Romans goal. At the other end, Conal also made a crucial save to keep the scoreline to 0-0. Our ability to win shoot-outs was best summed up by only one player putting their hand up to volunteer for a penalty and so the inevitable took place. After Conal came agonisingly close to saving Romans’ first spot kick, both Alex and Francesco went wide, resulting in a 4-2 defeat.
Disappointment in the result, then, but certainly not in the performance. After having a few issues at the back in the league, things went very well here with the team not conceding a goal in 150 minutes of football. Andrew came in and shone alongside Ritchie and Jack while Tom’s boundless energy was incredibly impressive. The football got better as the tournament progressed and John certainly upped his game to deliver a very strong performance. This wasn’t the most important weekend in the calendar but the positive steps taken bode well for the cup game against Birmingham next weekend.
Post-match, the team settled in for an evening of shots, fun and mingling with other teams (read between the lines) before spending a very quiet Sunday recovering.
Well done guys!
Squad: Conal, Andrew, Jack, Ritchie, Tom, Pete, Callum, Brady, Chris G, John, Alex, Francesco, Abdul, Louis, Dave
Scorers: John (2), Dave, Abdul