London Edwardians Men's 2s (1 -1) Andover 1s
Andover temper London Eds' charge for the title, Ollie Randall reports
[Editor’s note: censored to protect the innocent]
The day started pretty averagely. Wilbur failed to order an uber in a timely manner. I literally don't even know how that's possible, even if your hands are filthy from painting the ceiling of your new flat. Again.
Despite Will's attempts to sabotage the day, we managed to catch the train, and arrived in Andover in a fairly sleepy style. Picking up where Will left off, Jonny continued to try and Oliver the day up by forgetting the ball bag. He attempts to excuse this by insisting he's a fairly smart chap. Again.
As game time marches ever closer, no one else attempted to undermine us, although the usual entertainers began with their usual bollocks. Needy Andy continued to try and impress the team with his coordination, repeatedly bashing innocent inanimate objects around the room. Ali and Will spoke eloquently about trying to play really, really well today (abridged version). Seriously, it was a well-thought-through, considered set of tactics. Unfortunately for them, it was all a bit high-brow for this audience, excepting Jonny 'seriously I'm pretty clever' Knight.
And so, to the match. What a match. The quality on show was almost entirely mediocre, with the exclusion of the umpiring quarter -.a couple of pleasant Olivers. Hackles were raised early with what some would say was a draconian interpretation of the 'not-5-metres' rule, leading to an early Andover corner. Repelled.
The Eds seemed to invite more pressure than was strictly part of the plan, with a sluggish transfer and some mildly eccentric pressing. Having said that, the outleting did make some progress, with a series of short corners the result, credit to Seb and Charlie. I can't actually remember the goal, I think Ben 'specialist flicker' Hildrey rocked up and slung it low down to the keeper's right. I'm sure it was glorious.
Thus began the remainder of the match - a blur of umpiring Olivers the like of which will be talked about for weeks to come.
Rev chatted himself into a green card, which I still don't really get. What exactly were you complaining about? And what would Jesus say if he knew?!
Jonny 'above average IQ' Knight was then awarded a generous green card for being tackled whilst dribbling the ball into the corner. Upgraded to a short corner. Disgusted. Matt 'flying squirrel' Marrown made a stupendous save to keep the lead intact.
Andover grew in confidence with every minute which passed at just 1-0, eventually pressing the Eds back into their own half for sustained periods. Whilst breakaway attacks were fairly frequent, they were mainly fruitless, in the sense that they often resulted in short corners which we nobly decided not to score from again. I blame the captain.
The kumquat-esque Ollie Randall was displaying an extraordinary ability to fuck things up, at one point managing to turn a perfectly adequate transfer into a free hit to the opposition and a broken shin for their skipper... escaping a card, presumably due to pity / awe.
By this point the press may or may not have dissolved into a dripping, bedraggled mess, but one thing was clear, Andover were very much getting their way in the Eds half. It was much like Dave Nance with whatever poor victims are still on the dancefloor at 4am - the Eds were twisted, turned and occasionally Olivered, but with little impression made.
The midfielders' efforts to contain the extra pressure resulted in Rich 'too nice to foul' Mac having to track one man too many and assaulting an Andover ball-carrier. Yellow or green card, can't rightly recall which. The umpires were Olivers so I assume the worst. The Eds doggedly pushed through the 10-man periods with fairly mugged off attitude. Andy 'tongue ring' Harris worked tirelessly across the lines to keep the attackers at bay.
Henry 'I'm a charity case' Meller put in some impressive defending on a number of occasions, often forcing dangerous attacks bodily to safety. Andy 'overly attached' Mac marshalled the defence and mopped up loose balls, whilst Will 'ceiling-painter-for-hire' Barrington continued to make up for the other centre-back’s shortcomings.
Finally, within the last 5 minutes, Andover win a short corner, which they proceed to thump straight into Will's chest. Rather than blow up, the umpire played the obvious advantage that Will clearly wanted right after that. The ball broke loose to a tight angle on the right, from which a rather over-muscled Andoverian unleashed a speculative shot-cum-cross at around waist height. This was clearly going wide at a rate of knots when it hit Andy M on the hand at the far post and rolled into the goal. Apparently the umpire gave the goal because the Eds had too many issues with its legitimacy. I am genuinely still hurting from this travesty of justice, so I will move on.
The Eds immediately rolled thunderously down to the opposition D to win a short corner and right some wrongs. The routine broke down and the ball rolled free of the melee to local budgie-smuggler Duncan, who battered it goalwards with the keeper stranded. Unfortunately, it hit an oppo player in the shin. Inside the D. On its path towards the goal. Umpire gives a 16. Pretty much sums it all up. Oliver you Andover.
It is alleged that Ollie 'tone of voice' Randall may have subsequently pressured the umpires to Oliver elsewhere. Some sources suggest he bullied an old man into submission. He has shown no remorse for his actions. The case continues.