Married Vs Singles 2008

December 7th, 2008 - East Boston Stadium

And so it was, through sheer circumstance of an epic and trophy laden season that the annual grudge match of good vs. evil, was postponed until the first weekend of December. It looked ideal conditions for the Iditarod as Boston received its first snow of the season and a bitter wind blew in off the choppy waters surrounding East Boston. With an inch of snow on the deck, the game looked unlikely and the numbers who had ventured away from the warm confines of home where low as we approached kick off. However, a quick venue change saw the game move to more favorable surroundings in the stadium and after kicking some young hoodlums off the field they had very graciously cleared for us. The game looked a sure thing. The referee turned up looking like a cross between aptly named Jeff Winter and somebody from Shackleton's doomed polar expedition. In fact, the ref, belying his near octogenarian years was the keenest person to get on the field and get the game underway. Whatever we where paying him, it wasn't enough.

Chopper had assembled a large squad, determined to claim back the trophy for the Singles after a dubious win for the Darksiders last year. Recently unearthed photographic evidence clearly shows the decisive moment when the Single's were denied a crucial goal. Johnno beaten and prostrate in the corner of the goal, the ball completely over the line. The Singles, tormented for over a year by this travesty, obviously have a score to settle with their hitched counterparts. And as we all know, revenge is a dish best served cold...

The Married men arrived shorthanded, obviously permission slips had not been granted, dogs had not been walked, kids not fed and had urgent appointments being traipsed around Cambridgeside Galleria, spending inordinate amounts of time in female honeypots such as Zephora and J Crew.

Due to the nature of the previous years defeat, the Single's spent some time clearing the lines of fallen snow to ensure that there would be minimal opportunities for the Married team to swindle their way to victory. With the advantage clearly with the singles due to the sizeable squad, Shane McElwee was a last minute transfer as he crossed party lines to join the connubial team, this doesn't bode well for him. It's debatable why he was selected and this could be seen in certain circles as being similar to catching the bouquet at a reception. It could well be similar to when Annakin Skywalker begins to show his arse to Obi Wan Kenobi and the rest of the Jedi. Watch this space.

Their was also a natty array of football fashions on show as old man winter began to show his teeth, John Barnes, Scandinavian soccer and European sojourns to Russia was the seasons hottest look.

Chopper looked to seize the initiative and started a strong lineup to hopefully get the side of to an early lead before any stragglers turned up.

With Christy Lynch, Kieran Connolly, Andy Sumner and Jesse Brown spearheading the attack, with RB, Stoppers and James Canny operating within the midfield, the singles dominated the early possession, but the shorthanded Married men held steady getting men behind the ball and making the last third difficult to play in. Matty Schufele, Keano (sans Jacket), El Presidente and Mike Mac shepparded the defense and snuffed out early forays from the spouseless XI. Gumsy and Matty Armstrong provided the married team an outlet of sorts but with the sides uneven, the backline of Mark Smethers, Jimmy Nail and Kenny McCarthy answered any early questions with a stern rejection, something that im sure is nothing new to our married counterparts. Clear chances where slim early on and neither keeper was really tested, Steve Magill monitored the skies above Logan to pass the time, rarely called into action during the first 45. Johnno was a little busier as the Singles tried to breakdown the rearguard. Andy Sumner had the best chance of the half as the ball broke to him at the penalty spot but snatched it early and blasted wide. Other half chances came and went but neither side made great strides to breaking the deadlock and shots from distance where rarely going to trouble Johnno and the Married teams tactics paid dividends as they got to the half without conceding and looked possibly poised to sneak one should the chance arise.

Choppers team talk was concise and to the point and mainly emphasized how much he really wanted to win, how he had been screwed for jersey's and how he really wanted to beat the opposition into the ground. In no uncertain terms, Chop wanted a better performance in the 2nd half.

With the addition of Gerry Daly and some switching up of positions. The ref, whistle frozen to his lips beneath a magical icicle covered moustache got the game underway. The singles continued to dominate the possession but fruitless forays forward continued to frustrate the gaffer who wanted more composure and better football in the final third. Meanwhile with the Single team more tailored towards attacking there always seemed a chance of a breakaway with Gumsy doing his best in the middle to relieve the pressure and move the ball out of his own half. John Crowley wearing an impressive hat, (special mention to RB for Xmas spirit) added to the threat upfront with pace merchants, Lynch and Connolly. The fact that you have to be reasonably quick will mean the author will never ever be considered a merchant of pace and is more like a door to door salesman of a moderate jog.

After 70 minutes or so the cracks began to show as an advanced point of attack after a tactical maneuver from the gaffer saw the rearguard split open only for Christy Lynch to fire wide. Kieran Connolly also was released and this time rasped a low drive across goal. Pressure was building but the calamitous manner in which the opening goal came about nobody could have predicted. With Andy Sumner operating just behind the front two, he lifted the ball over the backline with a scooped pass hoping for a flick or a touch goal ward. The onrushing Johnno made himself as big as possible, expecting a flick in the melee for the ball, however the ball bounced on the hard turf and bounced over Johnno's head into the goal. Like getting Michael Jackson to cut the ribbon on your new local Toy R Us store, it really was a freakish opener.

With one goal in the bag, the Married tactic of sitting back and soaking up the pressure now had to be adapted as they needed to get back in the game. The tempo clearly increased and the intensity got ratcheted up a notch. The singles responded and began to defend with a high line, compressing the married team back. It wasn't long before the advantage was doubled. Some neat interchange saw Crowley break through the back line and with a fortuitous bounce, round the keeper and slot home. Calls for offside fell on deaf, they probably really did. With the Singles two goals to the good, they stepped off the gas and cruised home, ensuring the cup rejoins the unfettered members of the club for another year. Definitely an important victory for the chargeless corps as many of them try to stave off the inevitable plunge into the abyss. There are some fence sitters who could well be suiting up on the opposition very soon and the balance of power within the Empire could shift at any time, but after Sundays' victory, order was returned to the force..........

Written by Andy Sumner

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