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Icing On The Cake*

The deep mid-winter continues to wreak havoc on the members of SHWFC Hot on the heels of Quad-gate and the series of storms that has reduced playing personnel by weekly degrees now we've endured a particularly uncomfortable cold snap But as has often been the case the fortitude and commitment of our people has been exemplary Monday's Ruskin Sports Village session was conducted in the teeth of another bleak cold morning

The current missing in action list meant that Lord Rainford and El Presidente joined WFA Refs Les Lomax and Jeff Betty, in other words most of our usual Refereeing contingent were unavailable The session was distinctly missing in the impartial officials department

The Teams selected were;

Pink - Citeh Geoff, Thatto Dave, Grazer, Haggis and Roger (late addition from Orange)

Sky - Andy Man, Sheila, Wickie, Aldo, Phil the Power and Eamon

Orange - Barry Wizz, Kirsty, Les, Mika, Paul F and Mark NR (late purchase from Pink)

Black - Tom Stretch, McSpeed, Snakehips, Gaz, Phil the Moss and Enoch

Sky were indebted to Eamon for his consolation goal, but it was Black who won the opening game courtesy of goals by Gaz and McSpeed

Black continued their winning streak with a two - nil win over the Pink Tom Stretch and Mr Snakehips (rolling back the years) were on target for Black

In their final game Black were held to a two - two draw Barry Wizz and Kirsty finding the net for Orange, whilst the dynamic duo Tom Stretch and Mr Snakehips (re-checks notes) found favour and the goals to secure a precious draw for their Black team mates

Gonzalo reported for spectating duty but was later press-ganged into auxiliary refereeing action He managed to keep a lid on any dissenting voices but was unable to record the scores or the scorers from his matches Multi-tasking is all the harder when you've no time to prepare and nothing to takes notes

There seems little doubt that most seem to enjoy the chance to stretch their legs and enjoy the morning's fresh air (possibly an understatement)

There's absolutely no doubt that the morning's cake celebrations in the sumptuous surroundings of the Slipper Salon did catch the eye Mr O'Hooligan gave thanks and praise for those involved in obtaining the sustenance in his Readings from the Green Room later in the day

So on to our weekly Sutton SoccerDome session that which has stood the test of time as the midweek get together of choice for members There was the usual split between those of a gentler disposition and those rough, tough tyros who prefer to tough it out in the frozen wastes sometimes known as the AstroTurf

The indoor contingent were split initially as follows;

Green - Grav, Kenny, Enoch, Chris 10P and Michelle Wednesday

Yellow - Harry the Hatchet, Les Meldrew, Phil the Power, Kirsty and Joe the Ghost

With El Presidente in a combative refereeing mood, aided and abetted by VAR Official Martin Cockney Rebel Briggs the scene was set for a fine contest Green roared into their opponents, sometimes a little too quickly for the Officials Several over-exuberant bursts were pulled up and reminders were liberally issued to calm the whole affair

Green unsurprisingly took the eye, the team much too proactive for their rivals But it was a penalty converted by Joe the Ghost following a stray foot in the area gave Yellow a shock lead Soon after Chris 10P levelled 90 seconds gone and 1-1 Green then took a firm grip on the game with better control, sharper passing and better defensive organisation Yellow were off the pace and prone to watching rather than competing Kenny hit a second goal, and Chris 10P quickly stretched their advantage 3-1 Kenny's second goal extended the lead to 4-1 and Green so much on top that the first murmurings of necessary changes were noted Joe struck an impressive placement to reduce the arrears 4-2 Green threatening to demolish Yellow with their superior passing and overall dominance Harry produced some great saves to stem the one-way traffic Kenny lashed in a great volley 5-2 Following consultations with EUFA observer Lord Rainford a player exchange was engineered with Les and Chris 10P switching with the score line tipped firmly at 6-2 Green romping away with Yellow struggling all round Green pushed further ahead with Enoch claiming their 7th Grav made it 8 and finally the changes were made at 8-2 in favour of Green

Joe took a difficult chance to close the advantage 8-3 Grav converted a super pass from Enoch 9-3 Michelle almost grabbed a goal with a shot that rattled the post but somehow stayed out Yellow improved with Chris 10P a real presence Phil powered in a fine effort following some great work by Chris and then Joe Goals followed this uplift in Yellow spirits 9-6 and the first real hint that the enforced changes were working Loads of goals in a period of end to end stuff Kenny rode his luck picking up a rebound to make it 11-7 Enoch took advantage of a defensive collision to take the score to 12-7 There was still over 15 minutes to play at this point let's not overlook Kirsty hit a superb shot for 13-8 Joe proved to be as tricky and unpredictable in front of goal as ever, sadly his defensive frailties were all too evident

Michelle found the corner of the goal to make it 13-9 Grav wandered into the area to concede a second penalty that Chris 10P fired in despite some outrageous gamesmanship Joe fired home for 13-10 and for the first time some pressure was felt by Green When Chris 10P made it 13-11 the game sparked to real life Could Green hold out?

Green took full advantage of a huge slice of luck, Harry parried a tricky shot but the ball ricocheted into the path of Phil who whilst retreating could do nothing to prevent the ball trickling off his out-stretched leg into the unguarded net 14-11 and time running down The game took the decisive twist with a goal scored at the second attempt 15 - 11 Green increased their work rate in the dying minutes The capacity crowd at the Wall End were well entertained though their reluctance to undertake ballboy duties was noted

16-12 and surely Green safe after a huge fight back by Yellow A string of free kicks to Yellow in dangerous territory yielded nothing but more of the same Enoch was a repeat offender and was given a Blue Card (academic with 10 seconds left) for time wasting Victory to Green 16-12 the final outcome

The inquest after made much of the 28 goals (goal every 2 minutes) The desire to get on with it meant that it took until the break to rectify the clear inbalance in playing strength

Periods of excellent passing and support work took Green away from their less organised opponents Some great goals with Kenny, Chris 10P, Kirsty, Michelle and Joe the Ghost all catching the eye

Meanwhile on the steppes outside we had a 6-a-side game with a much closer score line in very testing conditions

Blue played White with Blue taking the early initiative thanks to goals by Eamon and Jason, who had probably his best game since arriving from darn South White found a reply from Dave Martland but Eamon restored the Blue advantage before Gaz stretched the advantage with a shot that powered past the helpless Deggs before nestling in the top corner Eamon's hat trick made it 5-1 to Blue

Deggs atoned for his below par keeping with a smart goal after some good set up work by Mike Ox The last goal before the break was claimed by Haggis, who tucked away a decent cross from Deggs (checks and rechecks notes) So 5-3 to Blue at the interval Gonzalo guesting as Blue keeper unable to stem the fight back

The second stanza started in spectacular fashion with Gonzalo unable to resist the instinct to head a rising shot from Haggis to safety There was a certain justice however, when Deggs shot straight at Gonzalo who gratefully kept the ball out 5-3 the score remained

Deano who had been resourceful all evening hit a quick fire brace to stretch the Blue lead to 7-3 and at last Blue had the decisive lead to see out victory Inevitably Deggs seized the ball and a chance to claim a highly dubious penalty Before Jeff Betty could review the Huyton Hitman signed off prior to his retreat for attitude (or was that altitude - no right first time) training in equatorial climes

The post match analysis in the Boot Room was interrupted by the gnashing and wailing of Geordie dreams as the Magpies departed Big Cup, at least it was Wednesday Those members present remarked on a good night's Walking Football Despite the odds 22 walking wounded turned out with 2 Referees and a posse of spectators An impromptu demonstration of aligning a defensive wall using specially selected Guinness Zero cans is shown, to illustrate that not all Boot Room participants were imbibing alcoholic beverages

So we head into the last week's action before the Festive Winter Closedown with stories of Friday night's get together to share Lots of cake promises too

Icing On The Cake* - Stephen TinTin Duffy

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