And so once again we head off to the Stadium of Night for the much awaited and first time ever meeting of the Bibs v The Shirts in European Competition, in the first match of a two-legged tie to be completed next week (that should fuck up your tables Marcus!). Apparently there was another game on elsewhere watched by the absent Goat and Coach Harris, shacked up around an iPad in the Goat’s stable, but as entertainment goes it wasn’t a patch on events at the Vale.
Coach Harris took his time announcing the teams, under immense pressure and clearly concerned to avoid the indignity of having the Wanka shirt/Steve McLaren umbrella delivered to his house by an upset Uncle Bazza. So on the dot of 2pm, the teamsheets were published. The Bibs lined up:
Kev Clemence “, Ads Carragher , Barry Hansen, Liam Heighway, Tom Rob Jones , Dazza Molby, Ethan Barnes , Jon McManaman
Facing them the Shirts aka Non-bibs, with a guest Polish keeper:
Dave ‘Tomaczevski’ Edwards, Marcus Irwin, Matt Bruce , Stew Kidd, Joel G Neville, Christian Ince , Dan Scholes, Olly Law.
(Thanks to www.11v11.com )
Coach Harris’s positions were being liberally interpreted early on, as the players adopted their Utd and Pool player characteristics. A fiery game was in prospect, as well as dodgy positional play. Granite seemed particularly confused abandoning his usual left back position in a failed attempt at forward play. Others were much more successful in their adopted skins. Kev in goal for Pool excelled early on with Clemence like form, repelling all comers, with the help of bar and post, much to the frustration of Utd, who soon found themselves behind as Tom Rob Jones slotted in coolly to make it 1-0. The pattern of the game was unchanged with Matt Bruce playing at the back keeping Pool quiet.
Incredibly, it was soon 2-0 to Pool. Tomaczevski was playing the clown at times, and was beaten again with a fine passing move finished off by Jon MagicManaman.
Time for a response, but not before Christian Ince got fully into character, mouthing off at Bruce and calling him a c*!t for misplacing a pass inches from his toes. To be fair Ince knows a c*!t when he sees one (©The Goat). Joel Neville is tempted to join in, but instead shoots at goal, misses but with a cruel spin hitting the back of Clemence, the ball is somehow in the onion bag. 2-1. The fightback is on, and Olly Law is soon on target with a screamer from distance into the top corner. Clemence didn’t see that one. 2-2 and momentum with Utd now.
Barry Hansen’s looking unhappy at the back. “You can’t win anything with Tom”, he cried! The stats don’t lie, and Matt Bruce rises at the back stick to power in a header, 3-2.
Pool attempt a comeback down the left, but Joel Neville is in position to clear up the danger before Tom Rob Jones can take the ball under control. So Jones bites Neville’s ankles and Neville’s not slow to react. Marcus Irwin has to step in to keep the players apart, but no cards are shown by a lenient ref.
Back to the football action, and Utd consolidate their lead as Olly Law fires Utd into a 3 goal lead, completing his hat trick. With moments to go, Ethan Barnes spins round Kidd, and goes on a Messi like run before curling the ball beautifully around Tomaczevski to make it 5-3.
As the players resumed their usual identities, the Wanka shirt was initially awarded to Sepp for playing on, rounding the keeper, then missing the goal completely after the game had been stopped. But, he’s away next week in Italy meeting Infantino to make sure he knows about the secret account. Coach Harris was nominated, and Dazza tried it on for size, looking like Condom Man, but in the end it went to the Magic Man for an attempted kick at Christian which missed.
Tom is approaching the record lose streak, while Olly is set to top the table next week. Same side for those two next week, with Bazza and Dazza on the opposition (got that Harris!!!)
Remember – second leg next week! Enjoy the weekend.