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Diary of a Sunday League club - Celebrating a big win

Total Football's adopted Sunday League side Barely Athletic enjoyed a reversal of fortunes as they recorded their first win of the season away to Tyburn Gallows. They then brought that form into a cup game against league high-flyers AC Battersea.

AC Battersea 0 - 4 Barely Athletic

Barely’s first foray into the emotional rollercoaster of a cup run began with victory, as they dispatched the entirely Italian side AC Battersea, in a highly charged encounter with plenty to please the neutral.

Squad depletion is becoming a major issue in the Barely ranks, as injuries and hot dates prevented several first-team players from attending the game in Regent’s Park.

Rest assured players who lack commitment will face a serious reprimand from management. Fortunately we are lucky enough to be able to announce the signings of Fergus Pack and George Baggaley, who have quickly established themselves as crowd pleasers with goals and fights galore.

The game began at a frenetic pace, Barely instantly putting the opposition under their considerable cosh. Top scorer Tommy Trenchard added to his season’s tally with a coolly taken finish, which was superbly set up by Max Harrison on the left wing.

Battersea were seemingly unaccustomed to going behind, and started engaging in some decidedly underhand tactics, which the more prejudiced on the sidelines would declare typical of their continental upbringing.

Uncomfortable

This began with an uncomfortable moment for marauding midfielder Fred Saugman, as he was (somewhat lovingly) cupped in the genital region for what he viewed as an unreasonable duration. Saugman brought his would-be admirer swiftly to the floor and was endowed with the dubious honour of being Barely’s first player to receive a caution. Protestations were wild yet unheeded.

Barely slowly began to recover form this ignominy and reimpose their authority. A Saugman long throw met the eager head of Fergus Pack and the new signing looped his header over the keeper into the far corner in true target man style.

The pressure continued as George Baggaley and Dan Kilpatrick started to take complete control of the right flank, delivering beautifully weighted passes to the front men. A third goal was imminent.

It came from supplier-turned-scorer Max Harrison, who put in a superhuman effort all game in an unfamiliar position and capped it with a sublime finish.

The level of dominance clearly began to rile the opposition and shouts of ‘bastardo’ (whatever that may mean) were not infrequent.

Gentle jibes

Sly kicking and gentle jibes of the Materazzi persuasion were clearly too much for Jonathan Menzies who had evidently had enough. There was the briefest of tussles after which his marker went down with such grace and élan as would have delighted the GB gymnastics squad. Yellow card.

Unperturbed by this and a bizarre yellow card for keeper Dave Watkins for time wasting, Barely went in search of a fourth. That man Harrison duly popped up again to end a splendid display by drilling it past the forlorn looking keeper, who perhaps had one eye on the post-match pizza.

Those lingering dog-walkers who stayed until the final minutes witnessed a fine display of wrestling bundled in the ticket price. Fergus Pack, tiring after his first game, was clearly displeased at what replays would show to be a blatant off the ball kick.

He rose to the bait, however, in spectacular Zidane style, taking his opponent to the floor in a challenge that would have earned him a red card in rugby, let alone the beautiful game. A fine will follow, and no doubt Pack will rue the calamitous end to what was an otherwise very encouraging debut.

Bizarrely, star players George Williams and Max Harrison were overlooked for man of the match and several strongly worded emails were sent to the league regarding a sloppy refereeing performance. The management is waiting to hear whether it will face a touchline ban for its outspoken comments to the media. 

Still the win puts barely top of their Cup group and in a solid position to qualify for the knock-out stages.

By Fred Saugman


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