Real Tuesday 0 - 9 PWC
To describe our first ever Winter League game as a rude awakening would be the understatement of the year.
This was more a case of someone climbing through your bedroom window in the middle of the night, injecting you with Rohypnol and f*cking you up the arse for 90 minutes.
It's difficult to find anything positive to take from this game, though the Real players do deserve great credit for keeping their heads up and trying to play football right to the end of the game. Graeme, in particular, put in a fine shift in the heart of our defence, valiantly repelling wave after wave of PWC attacks almost single handedly. Sam, too, was a rock in defence, although you do start to worry when even he is struggling to keep up with the guy he is marking!
The guy Sam was marking, for much of the game, was the PWC midfielder (#7) who scored maybe 5 of their goals. He calmed down a bit when Sam moved to full back, but we were still mighty relieved when he was subbed during the second half. Probably the best player we have ever come up against.
Not that the rest of the PWC team were pushovers - front to back, they were pacy, combative, comfortable on the ball and always looking to find a team mate with a pass. They definitely had the look of a team that's played a fair bit of 11s together before.
We were one down within a couple of minutes, a PWC shot bouncing off the post to set up a tap in. There was a hint of offside about the goal, though the thick fog enfolding the Forrester pitches made it even less likely than usual that Brian would chalk the goal off.
The second goal came around the quarter hour mark, a good move down our right wing ending with an accurate shot sneaking in at Ross's near post.
It was at this point that we made the change to put Sam onto the PWC dangerman, Jim moving to left back and Jordan pushing up to left midfield. This stemmed the tide to a degree, and we even managed an attack of our own on the half hour mark, Phil volleying over after a cross from Jay on the right.
PWC then contrived to miss an open goal, their striker's header at the gaping net ending up as a clearance that one of our defenders would have been proud of. It was, however, only a matter of time, with number 7 scoring PWC's third goal after a goalmouth stramash.
That was it for the first half, but normal business resumed shortly after the break, with a short kickout out from Ross forcing Graeme to blooter the ball off an onrushing attacker ... and into our net.
Number 7 claimed his hat trick shortly thereafter, as goals 5, 6 and 7 flew in. Calder managed a shot on goal after 15 minutes, the PWC keeper doing well to tip the ball over the bar.
The eighth goal brought a highly ironic shout of "Next goal's the winner" from the Real bench - predictably, the next goal was a PWC one!
And that was that - a spanking, and no mistake! Brian later suggested that he "wouldn't have let it get to ten", though you have to wonder how he would have managed that if PWC had gone 9 up with 20 minutes to play (as could well have happened!). He was, in any case, decent enough to deny PWC two fairly solid penalty claims, the first of those coming early in the game when Graeme cleared out a PWC attacker as he streaked into the box.
We made our usual raft of substitutes during the second half, though this had even more of a 'deckchairs on the Titanic' feel about it than is usually the case! One significant change, though, saw Gary Gormley move to sit as a defensive midfielder in front of a back three; this provided some much needed cover for our beleaguered defenders, and is definitely something we should consider for the PWC rematch and other league games to come.
A bad day at the office, then - let's take it on the chin, learn from it and move on.