The Magnificent Sevens amassed beside the pitch at Bicester under grey skies and in a light drizzle, which always seems appropriate.
With the shock departure (imminent) of Skipper Spittles, the new regime under Mourinho (Chair) was beginning and he intended to make his own mark.
Barely had we finished introducing ourselves – or trying to work out where the midfield had gone (no Venables, no Cairns… even Shambles was AWOL) – than we had to come to terms with the proposed 4-3-3 formation.
Who would be controlling midfield and who would be doing all the running? Luckily we had Ollie Graham – captive on his way to a dinner with his Dad in London – but I am not sure he knew he had signed up to this.
Fulfilling his new role as “multi goal-scoring prima donna”, Elliot stood separately and aloof – smoke (vapour) wafting across the pitch as he surveyed the scene of his next triumph…
Once the game started it soon became apparent that Bicester had put out a strong team and they immediately applied pressure.
The Hawks defence held out well and weathered an initial storm. Theo looks increasingly assured every game, and a re-jigged back four, including Karl and Geoff, seemed strangely organised.
In a moment of champagne hockey, Ollie launched an aerial down the left, Darby controlled it on the bounce, passed (for the second time in 2 weeks) to Elliott, who turned and scored with some aplomb!
It would be fair to say that Bicester were a little shocked and disappointed!
Chair was so surprised that he put himself on in midfield – only to quickly realise that with 3 in the middle that was going to involve a lot of running – so Karl was quickly switched up the pitch.
However, that was to be the high point for the Magnificents. Mounting Bicester pressure and multiple Penalty Corners, were an omen of what was to come.
Image was running his socks off in the middle, Richard W had a great game at the back, and Pete H and Andy G were excellent breaking forwards when they could.
But Bicester scored twice, so at half-time it was 1-2 despite Theo’s best efforts. Was the rain getting harder? Were the skies a little greyer?
Even Chair had a job on his hands to raise the troops – had the dressing room turned on him so soon? It just felt like it was all slipping away…
Bicester scored 2 goals in the second half – one a massive deflection off a Hawks stick, and one that came off a Bicester leg – so technically they only scored twice themselves (so was it a 2-2 draw?).
In between, in a brief moment of respite, Elliot collected a long ball and scored again one-on-one with the keeper – he was “channelling” his anger at this point, but it would be to no avail.
The game ended 2-4 and we all went to a lovely flat-roofed pub for curry and chips!
Goals – Elliot – 10 mins, 60 mins
Man of the match – Theo