Last Gasp Winner!
We couldn't have left it any later as debut boy Cal scores with the final kick of the game to defeat Mersey Marauders 2-1 in Liverpool.
There was an early start on a sunny day as 13 of the Falcons and guest for the weekend Trevor met at London Euston to catch the train up the the north west. Things that we learnt while travelling: Jimmy had a traumatic childhood involving Mini Cheddars and we all suck at football quizzes.
There were a number of new faces in the squad at the start of a new season. Goalkeeper Dean and Cal made the starting line-up while Phil and Ben would start from the bench. There was also a first start for the new Falcons chairman, Matt.
Falcons started the better of the two teams and dominated the first half hour. Jimmy and Paddy controlled the midfield while Kieran and Jack provided strong support on the wings. It took 20 minutes for the first goal to arrive and it ultimately came from a familiar source. After taking the ball off Paddy's foot moments earlier, there was a bit of a scramble and Chris got his first of the season from close range.
There were further chances but Mersey held on and just started to edge into the game as the first half came to an end, by which time Phil and Ben had made their way onto the pitch.
It's safe to say we didn't have a great second half. The lack of pre season friendlies was evident as the boys tired quickly, our passing became sloppy and injuries too their toll.
On 60 minutes, Mersey got their equaliser in simple fashion. A long ball saw them break the offside trap and it was a simple finish to make it 1-1.
Paddy, Ben and Jimmy all left the field at points after suffering minor injuries and it was a collective effort to ensure that the home side's greater possession didn't turn into too many serious chances.
Then, with extra time looming that no one was looking forward to, we pounced. Dean's goal kick found Kieran on the right and he supplied the perfect through ball which found Cal bursting through on goal. He connected with his left foot to drive the ball into the back of the net and seal the game with the very last kick!
Falcons went wild while Mersey collapsed to the ground. The final whistle went and the home team were incredibly gracious in defeat, perhaps mindful of differing fortunes when the two of us have met in the cup previously.
Of course, that was only half of the action when you're on an away trip and it was a weekend to remember for Pete who was celebrating his birthday. The manager was certainly not expecting a tap on the shoulder in The Lisbon bar that evening when a fireman led him to the front of the room for a special birthday lapdance!
We met up with some of the Mersey lads a bit later as the night got going properly. Things we learnt early on: We all know the lyrics to Skyfall and too many people suck at pool. There was a special surprise for Jimmy in Superstar Boudoir as he was undressed by the resident drag queen, and the boys finished off at Heaven before stumbling home at various stages of the early hours.
This was a memorable weekend and it was great to have so many new faces join us as the 2017/18 season gets underway. Many thanks to Mersey Marauders for their warm welcome and hospitality throughout the evening. We hope to see you again soon.
Squad: Dean, Pete (Phil, 30), Matt, Andrew, Jack, Kieran, Brady (c), Paddy, Jimmy, Cal (Ben, 30), Chris
Scorers: Chris (20), Cal (90)