|1||Richard "Disco" Saunders|
|2||Mike "Funtime" Etchells|
|3||Simon "Windy" Miller|
|7||Sean "Sweetballs" Cotton|
|8||Mike "Mad dog" Smith|
|11||John "Jockie" Moore|
|Old Parkonians 7s||3|
The super 7s put on their finest display of the season to record an outstanding 3-2 against Polytechnic 7s in the AFA cup in their final away day of 2011 in Chiswick. Following the disappointing defeat to Old Owens the week before, Parks were determined to start a new unbeaten run and welcomed two more seasonal debutants in the form of Richard “Disco” Saunders in goal and Sam Murdoch up front. Alex “Corcky” Corck-Adelman was back for the weekend from Nottingham and made his second start of the season. The rest of the team was reasonably familiar with a back 4 of Funtime, Goliath, Sam and Windy. DCA, Mad dog, Sweetballs and John joined Corcky in midfield and Murdoch led the line. On a large pitch, Parks struggled in the opening exchanges and allowed Polytechnic several opportunities to run at the defence. Playing uphill and into the sun, the 7s managed to keep Polytechnic at bay and then took the lead when a right wing corner was half cleared and the ensuing delivery was flicked down by Goliath to his centre-half partner Sam who hit a peach of a volley which gave the keeper absolutely no chance as it slammed high into the net for his first Parks goal. 1-0.
Parks gradually came into the game more and more with Corcky, John and Sam linking up nicely on several occasions. One of these link-ups resulted in Mad dog driving into the penalty area and turning to play the ball back towards the D. As he dribbled across the area, he was blatantly fouled by a Polytechnic player carrying out a miss-timed slide tackle. It was so blatant I am still angry about it nearly a week later! Mad dog was sent sprawling and the ball just ran loose. Unbelievably, the referee waved play on, and later explained to a mad Mad dog that the “yelp that accompanied your dramatic fall failed to convince me it was a foul.” Or some equally nonsensical and ridiculous explanation. Parks didn’t let the incident affect them and continued to spray the ball about. However, after a quick throw out by the Polytechnic keeper, a low cross from the left was clinically stroked home by an onrushing forward. 1-1. As the half came to a close, Disco made an incredible diving save from a flicked header from a corner which he had no right to make. Plunging low to his right, he showed incredible reflexes to divert the ball out for a corner. It wasn’t to be his last meaningful contribution…
At half-time Dave and Ed expressed their pleasure at the first half performance and stressed the need for the effort levels to remain high. Playing downhill in the second half would surely help, and the game was there to be won. Sean, who had been suffering with illness, came off to be replaced by Charlie. Parks started the second half much better than the first and re-took the lead when a huge Richard kick bounced about twenty times before reaching Sam Murdoch in the penalty area and he calmly tapped home to make it 2-1 and give Richard the first goalkeeping assist I have ever seen. Amazing scenes. Parks then nearly conceded an equaliser after a classic schoolyard goalmouth scramble during which both Funtime and Disco took the ball in the face. Despite several close shaves, the ball stayed out and Parks managed to clear their lines. Phew!
Then it started to go a bit wrong for Parks. First, Murdoch was booked for what looked like a hard but fair challenge. Then he dislocated his knee challenging for the ball and had to go off to be replaced by…no-one. Parks down to 10. This was followed by a Polytechnic equaliser when a loose ball was taken to the line and crossed onto the head of a forward who neatly headed home. 2-2. Then Windy was forced off after making a lung-busting left wing run which almost resulted in him sliding the ball into the bottom corner. Parks down to 9. Then, in the space of 5 minutes, Funtime was booked for a late challenge (+ dissent) and then hobbled off with an injury. Parks down to 8! Amazingly, the 8 remaining players fought magnificently for every ball, tackling and competing for headers all over the park. Despite the 3 man advantage, Polytechnic could not create any noteworthy chances. Windy bravely hobbled back on and went up front to occupy the defence. John and Charlie worked extremely hard in midfield alongside DCA, Mad dog and Corcky to deny Polytechnic time on the ball, and the back 3 of Sam Sargant, Goliath and Funtime were simply magnificent. Then, with 5 minutes to go, Dave won a free kick in the centre circle and the twin towers of Goliath and Sam went forward. Mr Assist, Disco, took the free kick and chipped it delicately into the penalty area where it bobbled around before Sam slammed another shot goalwards only to be thwarted by the goalkeeper. The ball rebounded out where Corcky took one touch before spinning and firing low under the keeper. A desperate Polytechnic defender tried to handle on the line and clear the ball but only succeeded in pushing the ball into the net. 3-2. Incredible!
Parks managed to hang on for the last few minutes to record a famous win. Managing to win a game with only 8 fit players + 2 injured players is a terrific achievement and all 12 players performed superbly. A deserved win against a dangerous opponent who pushed us all the way. Well played the Parks! MotM was once again difficult as everyone played brilliantly, but for scoring the winning goal and battling hard for 90 minutes, the award goes to Corcky. Well done everyone!
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