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A Last Minute Miracle*

Wednesday night’s Sutton session provided the first challenge to SHWFC’s players with Autumn finally flexing its muscle with a display of inclement weather conditions Rain and a stiff chilly wind provided our members with a reminder we are always at the mercy of the elements at this time of the year

A decent, if a tad disappointing number gathered in the Studio above Reception to learn if they were going to need sleeveless singlets or swathes of warm clothing (or indoors or outdoors kit to use the technical terminology) Indoors pitches designed to replicate the Qatar conditions whereas the AstroTurf often has a striking similarity to the Siberian wastes

Undaunted a dozen warriors set out for an hour’s joyous celebration and to hell with the weather

A brisk warm up was conducted by El Presidente and teams were swiftly selected to ensure that play could get underway without further delay

Those teams were.

White - Eamon, Willo, Disco Deggs, Tom Stretch, Haggis and Mike Ox

Green - Darron, Sharon, Martin Mc, Daz Samo, Goldie and Jeff

Chris 4G continued his injury rehab’ with a touch line cameo that included his usual insightful observations Later in the piece his touch line cameo took on another dimension as he was pressed into action as emergency keeper with six minutes left to play More of that to follow

Players faced with six v six, a large pitch and just three touches each quickly got to grips with the business of Pass Move Pass - Short passing to mark their progress around the pitch

The opening goal was testimony to that simple game plan as Darron Walley was put clear to fire home following a fine move involving most of his Green team-mates

Deggs looked to power White to parity using his ‘cannon-like’ big toe to surprise Tom in the Green nets But whilst there was plenty of power the accuracy was off line 1-0 it remained until just before the break Haggis, Deggs and the Ox tested the Green backline before Eamon scored with a shot that deflected off Sharon’s knees into the near corner via the upright 1-1 at half time Everyone now acclimatized after the opening

The second period started brightly for the Green with successive efforts from Daz, Martin Mc, Goldie and Jeff Betty troubling the White keeper It was somewhat against the play then that White grabbed the lead when Haggis swept a sublime side foot shot into the far corner to the delight of team mates and spectators alike White had a corner soon after as the looked to build on their lead But the wasteful delivery gifted Green the chance to quickly switch play to devastating effect Daz on the spot to draw his team level at 2-2 Eamon hit back to restore the White advantage, wrong footing the Green keeper to fire White 3-2 ahead There was a bizarre goal that put White into a 4-2 lead Eamon’s shot parried upwards by Daz but agonizingly into his own net Was there any way back now for Green?

Well this is Walking Football and in true cliff hanging fashion the game was most certainly not over yet Sharon was forced to end her night with a hamstring injury that surprised her team mates as much as her She left the pitch to a volley of spontaneous applause whilst Chris 4G limped on to see out the remains six minutes Martin Mc had a great chance as Green produced an overload but was unable to hit the target With less than 3 minutes left Daz produced a goal drifting the ball into the bottom corner 4-3 and the time almost up Haggis might have settled the result but was wayward attempting to repeat his earlier effort With literally seconds remaining Darron swept on to a poor clearance and rammed an unstoppable shot to level the scores 4-4 As Green celebrated the unlikely goal and White cursed their luck El Presidente blew to signal the end of the game A last minute miracle indeed

The buzz of excitement was still evident as the outdoor brigade trooped back to the changing rooms Indoors players lined up: -

Green – Joe Boxer, Andy Manager, Cockney Rebel, Citeh Geoff, Ray and Lord Rainford

Their opponents in Red were - Phil the Power, Les Meldrew Brack, Andy Powell, Steve the Honeyman, Dave Gray and Little John

All overseen by the stern but fair Martin Chopper Williams.

With Green defensively ‘heavy' it was, inevitably, just 5 minutes into the game that they fell a goal behind with the Honeyman muscling his way through a group of despairing defenders to put the ball past Andy Man.

Lord R managed a few timely saves during his reluctant spell between the sticks to prevent Green falling further behind All the more important as scores from Cockney Rebel and the shadowy Boxing Ghost put Greens 2-1 up before the first break.

Into the second period and the Ghost put Green further in front at 3-1 A fine flowing move involving most all the Reds gave Andy Powell the chance to put the restore the difference to one goal, 3-2. The Green defence was often stretched by both Phil and Les but Citeh Geoff coped with his usual aplomb and chances were exceedingly rare.

As we entered the final period it was clear Wednesday night's inside game was a real collector’s item. Punctuating some great moves, there was genuine sportsmanship when players went down or when there was some disputed decision

Cockney Rebel made it 4-2 to stall Chopper awarding a penalty With the final goal of the game Ray C (if only he was Roy C, just think of the fun your scribe could have had with 'Shotgun Wedding' puns) put an emphatic finish past the despairing hands of Dave Gray to claim a 5-2 victory

‘I have to say it did not feel like a 5-2 game! Competitive, yes, but in a good way.

Well played you insiders’ Lord Rainford when addressing his media duties in the Post Match Boot Room

A Last-Minute Miracle* - The Shirelles

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