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Falcons fly into final four

London Falcons moved one step closer to Wimbledon and District League Division 3 immortality by securing a spot in the 1963-style mini-league semi-finals thanks to a 3-2 win over Kew Antigua.

Falcons XI: Matt H; Danny, Charlie, Jeff, Joe; Baptiste, George (c), Marshal; Will, Stevie, Duncan

Subs: Rob, Jimmy, Matt D

Goals: Marshal, Will (x2)

POTM: Will

Playing on a Kingston terrain as dry as one you would expect to find in its Jamaican namesake, the Falcons showed no signs of cracking up like the ground beneath them had begun to, as they flew out of the traps to lay siege to the Antigua goal. Despite knowing a draw would be enough to see them through, the Falcons kept on the offensive and soon led their hosts. On a trademark mazy run, Marshal let fly from eighteen yards, with his shot evading the helpless keeper, who was unable to stop the ball creeping through his legs and into the back of the net.

Now needing two goals to advance, Kew sent their forces flying forward. Going man-for-man on the Falcons back line, the visitors found themselves hemmed into their own third at times, but the visitors held firm, with Jeff in particular giving a Herculean display, as he sported both the hairstyle and defensive nous of Caglar Soyuncu. As the hosts continued to push, more opportunities arose for the Falcons’ counter. Bursting forward, the ball reached Stevie, who carried it beautifully into the Kew Antigua box, until he was felled like a mighty Irish oak. The referee pointed to the spot and Player of the Match Will was able to maintain his 100% record from twelve yards this season to make it 2-0.

As we entered the second half, it became more and more about game management as the semis came closer and closer into view. Having admirably benched himself for the big game, manager Jimmy was pulling the tactical strings on the sideline as he aimed to navigate waves of Kew Antigua pressure. But it was another example of fine counter attacking football that allowed the Falcons to put the game out of sight with around twenty minutes to play.

Having played much of the game as an auxiliary left back, Will burst forward to latch onto a loose ball in the midfield. Beating one defender to the ball and then dancing past two others, he drove the ball home from twenty-five yards into the bottom left-hand corner of the net to make it three.

With the clock ticking there was still work to be done and a game to be won. Jimmy brought himself, Matt D and Rob on to freshen up the weary legs on display and see the game out. However there were twists in the tale to come, with Kew striking twice late on. Firstly, they made it 3-1 through a flick on at the back post from a long throw, before reducing the deficit to just one goal due to a speculative twenty-yard effort that arose from a mix-up in the Falcons’ defensive ranks.

But it was not enough. As the referee blew his whistle, Falcons dropped to their knees with exhaustion as their hearts leapt above them with joy. Having been 10th in the league pre-lockdown, they had now secured a semi-final spot in what can only be described as one of the greatest sporting stories ever told. Pressed for comment after the game, the talismanic and ever verbose gaffer Whelan said “Yeah. I’m buzzing with that.” Indeed we all were.

So we ride to the semi finals. Not since the formation of Little Mix from four rejected solo artists into the X Factor pop behemoth that they have become have we seen such a dramatic reversal in fortunes and now the time has come to kick on and go one better! This Saturday we take on AFC South London for a chance to reach the final at the hallowed bastion of Colliers Wood FC. Soar Falcons, Soar!

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