FC Windmill v Escaped Swans FC
Venue: Fishponds Playing Fields
Lineup: Field; Manji, Balcombe, Townsend, Pickett; Sarre, Mills, Milinho, Nicholas; Watts, Hamill
After the disappointments of the cup defeats in our first 2 official fixtures, we were champing at the bit to get our league campaign underway. After all, Saturday AM Division 1 was where the prospects of real glory lay. In a cruel twist of fate, though, the Swans had been shorn of several regulars in favour of a weekend at Nick’s girlfriend’s by the seaside. We call her Buck Rogers – she’s got a house in Devon…. What was for sure was that our towering centre back and goalkeeper Tom would take some replacing, even if Miles wouldn’t.
But replacements were summoned and Chris Field duly turned in a Man of the Match performance on debut in goal. I could insert a remark here about what it tells you when you lose 4-0 and your keeper is Man of the Match, but I won’t. Luke Townsend, in the capital on a half term treat from Oxford, attempted to bring some cultured ball-playing to the heart of our defence, although sadly the self-described John Stones-esque shoulder dropping came at the expense of a willingness to head the ball. Several calls of “Luke’s!” under goal kicks were followed by him running towards the corner flag for cover. Nick and Thijs’ returns couldn’t come soon enough.
Our continued inability to take a legal throw-in provided yet another opposition with reason to laugh at us for more than just our almost non-existent ball control, but while the scoreline and these anecdotes may suggest otherwise, there were a few highlights. Adam Pickett throwing up on the pitch saw him compared to Lionel Messi for what I assume is the only time in his life. A crunching 50-50 between Guy Watts and their right back saw the FC Windmill player come off the worse, while Lady Luck did not smile so kindly on Ashley Mills, who ended the game clutching his hand in agony. Unsympathetic eye-rolling was the initial reaction, but a post-game diagnosis of a snapped and rotated fourth finger was no laughing matter, not least for his girlfriend. We’ll be without the senior half of the Charlton brothers for 6-8 weeks.
A thought should be spared for Alex Balcombe, who saw hopes of a first competitive goal in 16 years cruelly dashed by an off-the-line clearance which also meant that we failed even to register a consolation. Our first league fixture was not the resounding success we had hoped, then, not to mention our goal difference which had taken more of a battering than a Mars Bar in Glasgow on a Saturday night. Signs of improvement were detectable once again, though, and if we could only learn to take throw-ins, stop the other team from scoring and discover how to bang a few in ourselves then we knew a positive result would not be far away.