Team sheet; Kraus, Jaimin, Marcus, Stileman, Chandi, Dan Lewis, Haslam, Jayaram, Roche, Platt, Livesey. Subs; Walton, Kit, Clobber

On a surprisingly cold Saturday evening, merely hours after decisive victories for the UWMCC BUCS indoor side at Edgbaston, the UWMCCFC were under pressure from the club Facebook account to “complete the perfect day” for the club. Our opponents were WFS, a side who have had mixed results this year and are notorious for being awful blokes according to the UWMCC contingent who play for HistSoc (Kynaston et al). With the UWMCCFC missing regular players Clayden, Hall and Bexson, Captain Platt called upon Kit, Jayaram and Stileman to fill in. Stilo had confirmed to Platt earlier in the week that he “regularly plays as a centre forward but is more comfortable at centre back”, a statement which left the UWMCCFC captain perplexed and wondering what that implied about his footballing ability. However, it only confirmed that he was a like-for-like replacement for Jonny Hall.

The match began at a high tempo with both sides having to do a lot of defending. Platt was put through twice early on but failed to convert on both occasions (this would become a theme). The new-look UWMCCFC defence put up with a lot of questionable tackles and appeals for free-kicks, corners, throw-ins, pass-backs, penalties, cards, goal-kicks, lbw, no-balls and wides  from the WFS players. Jaimin, Marcus, Chandi and Stileman ran themselves into the ground, the former of whom kept up with play impressively given that Platty had welcomed him to the team by giving him a dead-leg in the warm-up (this only came to light the next morning at 3s/4s nets). On the left-hand side, Chandi and Platt found themselves in personal battles with their WFS counterparts. Chandi took a textbook piledriver from the WFS winger (an appeal for retrospective action has been lodged) and Platt purposefully ran into their right-back and Lads on Toure player, Andy Parsons. Kraus would later spin an enthralling yard about the time last year when he had sent Parsons a Snapchat detailing their arrangements for next Tuesday which led to him subsequently being ignored across campus by the aforementioned c***. Anyway, back to the football and Kraus was once again in the thick of the action as a tackle on Jaimin was interpreted by the ref as a back-pass. Given that we  are still working on learning how to defend corners, this led to the perplexing situation of an indirect free-kick for WFS from about eight yards out. With every man on the line, and under the strict instructions from the referee to wait until they had kicked the ball, every UWMCCFC player bombed forward on the whistle and managed to smother the shot. Other notable moments from the first half included Platt mistiming yet another pass in the box to ruin Livesey’s chances of scoring, WFS hitting the post from a teasing cross, Kraus being an upstanding citizen and giving WFS a corner when the referee had given a goal-kick, and Kit Winder making a promising start to his UWMCCFC debut.

The half-time message was to continue to defend with the same intensity of the first-half, the game had 1-0 written all over it and the clean sheet was of utmost importance. Platt, annoyed with his lack of finesse, took himself off at halftime and left the attacking play to the promising partnership of Kit and Livesey.

The second half followed much of the same pattern; WFS focussing their efforts on  possession whilst the UWMCCFC created chances to score. Haslam wound a mazy run into the box which seemed to hypnotise the WFS keeper into walking away from his near post. Unfortunately Haslam could only find the side netting on this occasion. Kit, playing at CAM, showed a good range of passing and some accomplished tekkers to hold the ball up front and release Clobber, Walton, Roche and Livesey when the chance arose. Chandi and Jaimin continued to run the flanks hard whilst Haslam, Dan, Stileman and Marcus kept the middle of the park secure. Kraus, in fairness to WFS, had more than usual to do but was never found wanting. With 15 minutes to go, Platt returned to the fray by taking Lewis off and moving Kit to CDM. With so many attacking players on the pitch, the intent was clearly to try and nick a goal to protect. Platt was released twice very early into his renaissance, the first ended with a shot over the top under pressure and the second with a frankly embarrassing pass which left the wide-open Haslam with far too much to do at the back-post. However, by the law of averages, a Kit through ball to the pacy Livesey gave him the chance to cross it to Platt who finely put the cobwebs away by fumbling the ball over the goal-line to give our boys the 1-0 advantage their defensive display deserved. In the final nine minutes, the WFS players became even more feisty than before. With what little chances they created in the closing stages, they more than made up for with disgusting tackles. The first of which was a two-footed lunge on the recently injury-free Kit. Kit hit the deck hard and his yelps of pain prompted the WFS captain and role-model to protest that “they couldn’t hear you over there mate.” To which Kit bounced up and began to shove the ‘banker’. After the waters had calmed, Kit took a well deserved rest and Lewis came back on to shore up the defence for the final four minutes. It must be said that Lewis was more than up for it; Platty noticed him motivationally shouting at himself about twenty yards from his nearest player before the match had even re-started. The late stages were controlled by Platt and Livesey by the corner flag; holding onto the ball and drawing fouls from the petulant WFS players.

When the final whistle blew, the WFS players (defenders in particular) quickly transformed into decent human beings and shook the hands of their victors. Special mention for the all-important win needs to go to messrs Kraus, Jaimin, Marcus, Stilo, Chandi, Lewis and Haslam for all of their defensive work which ultimately won us the game. Next week sees our triumphant return to Tarkett to take on UWMCC-heavy HistSoc in what is likely to be an amusing affair.

Goals scored; Platt