The All About Food football season came back around after a 3 week busy break with a bang. Failure of a late fitness test to Dan resulted in some uneven sides, with a 4 v 5 scenario leaving captain Will Bennet’s side as clear underdogs.
The random team generator (off the internet) threw up some interesting sides, with Bennett being joined by Asa Postlethwaite, self-styled ‘Fittest Man in the Office’ Neil Guyton and Dale King.
The opposition were Tom Smart, Paddy Gaul, Luke Chandley, Will Hughes and Joe Langton, with full pressure to deliver a result having been given the one-man advantage for the entire game.
The conditions put this game as risk of being cancelled, as the rain and aggressive wind gave way last minute to darkness and bitter temperatures, perfect for some mid-Autumn togger. As the warm-up began, it was clear to see by the amount of thermal accessories on show that things may take a little while to warm up.
In the floodlit atmosphere is JMO Sports Park, the match began slowly, but picked up pace quick. A classic King pile-drive effort sailing just over the bar signalled that only three things are constant in this world: death, taxes and a Dale King volley breaking the sound barrier.
Whilst the pressure was on Team Smart, there was also a certain pressure on Guyton, who needed to prove that he was still the fittest man in the office, and hadn’t been overtaken by recently Vegan heavyweight Langton. And you could see this in his face, by his driving runs and expert passing – this was a man on a mission.
Opening the scoring in classic fashion was Bennett, who proved that even with his long locks of hair being cut, and his suspicious-looking Movember ‘tache attempt, he could still finish like a pro. Was it his new stream-lined look, or was he extra-motivated to give his depleted team the best chance of winning the game.
Another player returning to the fold was Gaul, who is by far the player with the best feet on the park, dinking and diving, running and driving through the heart of the defence. It was great to see him back, and a contender for player of the match (and one of the only players on show who can actually perform in goal).
Other honourable mentions should go to Postlethwaite and Hughes, who continued on from impressive performances in the past to cement their titles as up-and-coming defenders. A shoutout must go to Asa, who played much of the first half with a hoodie on, with his hands in his pockets. It takes a brave man to risk that in an in-game scenario.
As the match wore on, there was clearly a sense of rejuvenation on Bennett’s team, as his side went from 7-5 down, to 8-7 up in a matter of minutes. A half-time pep talk from the captain had inspired the unlikeliest of comebacks from a team with literally 20% players less than their opponents.
As Team Smart tried their hardest to get back into the side, veteral Luke Chandley had a multitude of shots that looked more suitable for the rugby field than the football field, proving the time he spent training for a half marathon last month may have been better suited training on how to keep the ball down and towards the goal. Disappointing doesn’t even cut it.
As full-time approached, there was just enough time for Bennett’s side to complete the victory, with some smart finishing from himself, as well as a goal from goalkeeper Postlethwaite that should have been saved by Hughes in the opposition goal, but “the ball was too slippy to keep hold of” an excuse that didn’t save him the embarrassment of being royally ripped into by his own team.
The game ended a tight 9-8, but the team with the fewest players doing all they could to secure the victory with amazing effort and great finishing. Well done that team!