DEH has had what can only be described as a bloody awful start to the season, played 3 lost 3. The last game we conceded 11 goals with only 9 players playing in oven like temperatures after 30 minutes sleep on a broken park bench preceded by England once again screwing up on penalties. I had approached this game with some trepidation, another spanking with a less than full side would have seen my demand for a transfer request. Bayern Munich need a striker...
Yet as we alighted the taxi our sights were lifted in exaltation, not only was it a beautiful grass pitch, but the surface was wet and slippery. Oh heaven. Our captain and my former Hirodai student Yusuke, was there even though the previous week he had sustained a nasty leg injury playing football and was plastered up as they say. We even had 2 substitutes, quickly noted by the more geriatric team members with relief.
DEH has come unstuck against lower-division opposition 2/3 tournaments I have played in. Not sure what makes us more susceptible to giant-killing than other Div B sides, but we have lost to some crap sides. I was a little nervous before kick-off as the opposition looked a) young b) quite fit & c) were kitted out in matching strips. I should not have been so worried. Indeed it was the opposition who looked at our impressively tall 'keeper (making his debut) who towered over even the stick-insects on the team.
After 1 minute DEH was 1-0 up. I won a fortuitous free kick just outside the half way circle. A long punt from the 'keeper was directed towards my head, which is actually a bit of a problem for 3 reasons:
1) I am crap at heading
2) There is no one in front of me for the flick on
3) I can not see the ball to last nanosecond.
On this occasion the referee mistook my lack of jumping as the result of the foul by the defender who ended up climbing over my back, in the not to unrealistic belief that I too would be jumping. The reason I didn't jump was that I didn't realise that the ball was hurtling in my direction.
The free kick was thwacked with speed and skill right into the top left corner. Their 'keeper had no chance. DEH has only ever lost one game in which we have taken the lead, the goal settled the team and we started to ping the ball around. Hurley playing right half (his lingo-showing his age!) was once again looking at home in his new position. The defence was controlled and the midfield had zip and movement. The strikers were winning balls and most unlike DEH, we were using the whole pitch for passes and crosses.
12 minutes after the opening goal, in the 13th minute, the number 13 scored his first goal in 13 matches. I told you it was my lucky number! After harassing from Hurley on the right the ball was passed back to the centre back patrolling just on the edge of the box. A slight mis-controlled from him allowed me to pounce. A touch with my right took the ball into the box, despite the heavy presence of same defender I slotted the ball into the roof of then net. Relief. I am striker I haven't been scoring, I haven't been doing my job for the team and it does grate. One the way back to the re-start Hurley told me that this was then end of my bad luck. It was an accurate assessment because in the 2nd half I was the recipient of some outrageous good fortune.