It’s not often that we have to praise a Frenchman, but a couple of moments of brilliance from Christophe and an all-round solid performance were the key to the Magnificent 7’s victory at Sonning.
The first challenge at Sonning always seems to be to get the whole team there at all. Having previously played without a keeper, this year it was McGrigor who made the schoolboy error of going to the Reading pitches instead. Darby turned up late after a 5-hour drive from “up north” for what seemed to be a very long away game, Elliot was just late as usual, and even Affie had to make his own last-minute dash to Reading having missed the meet-up time at the club. No sooner had we all got there, with only a couple of minutes to spare, that the rain came: reluctant warm-ups became even more reluctant, and huddling in the shelter became the order of the day. Karl seemed strangely reluctant to take his track-suit off and go out for the first stint… but we did eventually get going.
In truth this was probably the best team performance of the season. With 4-4-2 now firmly established as the Chair’s favourite formation (“its not my idea but I am not going to be lined up against a wall when the revolution comes”) the midfield combinations seemed to have time and space in the middle; we seemed to have plenty of width up front; and with a bit of extra pace in the back line even the pacey opposition attack were well marshalled. Sonning were no push-over and the game was played hard and fair and at a good pace. Despite the slow / sticky pitch, once the rain petered out, the speed and passing was admirable.
And so, to the goals:
Midway through the first period, starting in our own half, the 7’s midfield set up a slick passing move which released Christophe into the Sonning twenty-two. Darby made a run into the D and Christophe picked him out perfectly with a well-delivered sweep. Darby made the first-time touch and got enough on it to bobble the ball over the keeper’s out-stretched stick. 1-0.
And then into the second half, despite a number of chances, it was getting a bit tense again. Christophe drove in from the twenty-two, and bit of individual skill, a “Gallic shrug”, a drop of the shoulder, and he went all the way through to the keeper, before slipping the ball back to McGrigor who finished flamboyantly into the roof of the net. 2-0.
Late on, Christophe should have finished it off with a goal of his own, had he not been mysteriously pushed off the ball by an off-balance Darby (not for the first time) – perhaps protecting his goal scoring record?!
Great game, great result, good teas. Well done everyone. Now FIFTH in the table – let’s score 3 next week?