And then there were two

So we entered week 8, and I’m using Benidorm as an excuse for not writing anything after last week’s games – it took a while to get over seeing Stupid Steve filled in by his old man, but I’m back in the swing of it now, and contrary to belief, these updates, good or bad, aren’t written on the back of a certain teams performance, Mr Carter!

Anyway….Going into week 8, the league was up for grabs from as far down as 4th position, so it was destined to be an interesting night. Were now into the business end of the season, with any slip in performance likely to put a team out of contention. With it also being pre-season time, the teams are more likely to lose some of their players depending on what time the games fall. It’s now we see what strength in depth the teams have. Week 8 turned out to be just that…a night of missing players, what appeared to be slower less competitive games, but on the up-side some incredible goals!

First up saw 4th place Pique Blinders take on FC Winterfell, and with Winterfell turning up at full strength, and the Blinders without key players in Peel, Lewi, Spam (and Blackie) it was looking like a big ask for the Blinders to repeat their performance against Winterfell in week 3 when it ended 2-2 in the last few seconds. Winterfell started very strongly and pulled the Blinders defence around for fun, and Ben Fish found himself having to come back from ACM to make up a back 4 at times. It wasn’t long before Winterfell were off the mark through Jake trahar after he breezed by CDM Rob Boydell to slot in the bottom corner. It took the Blinders about 10 minutes to settle, by which point they were 2 down, and leaving themselves a big hill to climb. A lack of movement throughout the team left the Blinders playing long ball which wasn’t working either with the best chances coming from playing wide to Rich Boydell and Tom Lewis (Twin). Tom Lewis (the other one!) and Matt Sahara Sunset kept the strikers quiet but the goals kept on coming from deep in midfield. In a moment of madness, RW Rich Boydell volleyed a bouncing ball from the halfway line across the field to find the top corner of the Winterfell net on the opposite side. An absolutely stunning effort, which surpasses anything we’ve seen this season (Yes Jam-Jar even yours, despite the tekkers…)

In the second half the Blinders pushed as much as possible to reduce the deficit, but it wasn’t to be and following Rich Boydell’s goal, Casey Jones decided to have a pop from just inside the Blinders half, only to find the bottom corner of Cory’s net putting the game out of reach. The Blinders showed moments of decent build up play, but rarely troubled the Lizard in the Winterfell goal. Rhys Williams and Casey added further insult making the total 5-1 at the final whistle. This unfortunately marks the end of any chance the Blinders have of mounting a challenge, and only solidified the lead at the top for Winterfell. They will however have to be careful given there is only 1 point between them and the Arabs who they play in week 9.

The second match saw title contenders Wootton Wanderers square up against the Snorkel, who haven’t looked themselves for weeks. The Wanderers were also looking understrength compared to usual, with no subs available, and Captain Miller, Jam Jar, and Pricey all missing in action. We’re very surprised Jam Jar actually went on his holiday given what was at stake! Some might question his commitment, not us, just some people might 😉 Time for the rest of the Wanderers to step up and show they can carry the team through to next week and still be in the race. The Wanderers started fairly well, but it was clear the cohesion wasn’t as it is normally, and even a few early arguments started up between players. The Snorkel took an early lead through Luke Howells, who was again at the heart of the team, keeping them working hard, and stropping whenever someone wasn’t pulling their weight or something didn’t go his way. Turkish was off as usual 😉

The Wanderers responded in style through Aaron John with a screaming goal just inside the Snorkel half, and through Lewis Miles continued to push forward looking for more, but angry Luke was in no mood to lose another game, and as the game went on, the Wanderers attacks only came in waves every few minutes, while the Snorkel put together some fantastic football and at times looked like they were toying with the Wanderers. The Snorkel were awarded a penalty which was struck straight at Wanderers GK, who parried it away with ease, much to the disappointment of the team, as it gave them a chance to pull away. Luke added another 2 goals to get his hat-trick while Gazza bagged a brace. The Wanderers came back into the match later on with goals through Connor and Lewis Miles, but it was too little too late, and it appears they might now be out of the race as they have 2 games remaining and are 5 points behind the leaders. They would need Winterfell and the Arabs to draw next week, and a massive swing in goal difference to even get a chance, which unfortunately for them seems unlikely at this point.

Last up saw league chasers the Young Arabs face off against The Honey badgers who surprised all with a strong turnout, while the Arabs looked to have smaller numbers than usual. Nevertheless, from the kick-off it was evident that the Arabs confidence was sky high, and what they lack in aggression they make up for in fitness and speed of play. Star man Keane Watts was missing, but in his place the return of Matthew Rogers saw an equally dangerous front line. It wasn’t long before the speed of play put Steffan Roberts one on one with CB Steve Williams, who was then turned in and out more times than a fiddlers elbow before Steffan slotted the ball home in the bottom corner of the goal. The Arabs added a 2nd and 3rd from Rogers and Kai Steadman, before the Badgers finally responded through CM Lyndon Thomas who had run all game to get a chance. Angry Lloyds curfew was up which meant replacement Jimbob James again took the field and added some more bulk to the Badgers team.

The Badgers kept pushing but it seemed fruitless as the Arabs settled into a pace that saw them just knock the ball around them. Late efforts from winger Sambappe threatened to get the Badgers on the scorecard again but they were well saved by Sub GK Rogers who gave way for Wanklyn to come outfield and fall around for 10mins. In the closing stages of the game, Josh “BKB” Garfield who’d had his arse handed to him by Blinders defender Tom Lewis earlier on, scored a rather unorthodox goal, which took the score to 5-1 and really sealed what was a fairly simply victory for the Arabs.

So next week is the big one!! Arabs v’s Winterfell at 7pm. This COULD be league decider! Tempers will flare (not Connor though because he injured his little dwarf foot during his temper tantrum last week) There will be big goals, big performances and when we get to 7:40 we’ll more than likely have an idea on our 2018 champions! Can Winterfell keep their unbeaten record intact? If they win they cannot be caught! Or will the Arabs snatch the title at the last gasp? If they can win they go top. I’m sure Wootton Wanders will try to spoil their party the following week, with Winterfell having the easier fixture against the Badgers. If it goes to goal difference Winterfell look likely to retain the title!

Lastly gents – We need feedback via your captains on a presentation night probably the weekend before August BH – please let us know if you’re interested!