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1st XI v MONTEL VILLOSANGES 24th OCTOBER 2009
First of all, excuse the poor quality of these images. I didn't set the quality to Raw Data - it was left at *.jpg so it hasn't been possible to edit them to any degree at all as I usually would do.
Tonight's second match is the 1st XI against the Chimps, and before a ball is even kicked we have something of a controversy. François, the Pionsat keeper, is ordered from the field of play by the referee.
But the mystery is cleared up a couple of minutes later as he returns to the field having exchanged his grey goalkeeping jersey for an orange one. It's quite true that the grey one resembled a little too closely the white shirts that Pionsat are wearing tonight instead of their usual violet and in this light I can hardly blame the referee for wanting to make François stand out a little more. I've been saying this for over a year and I wish he would wear one of the nice luminous jerseys that I bought for the club.
The opening goal is scored by the Chimps. They win a throw-in along the left wing touchline and the throw goes down the line.
A good cross is put into the centre and one of the forwards gets in front of his marker and gets a good diving header onto the ball. The shot goes across François and into the net. As I said in the earlier match tonight I can't recall how many times that is now that the Pionsat defence has allowed an attacker to steal a vital half-inch in front of them at a crucial moment.
But Pionsat are soon on the attack and the no10 takes the ball on a run down the left wing. All of the defenders stand off him waiting for what is the obvious ball - the cross into the area but he confuses everyone by going on his own.
He gets into a good shooting position with only the keeper to beat but fluffs his shot and it goes just wide of the post. That was unlucky for Pionsat - it was a good opportunity for them to pull the goal back before Montel settle down.
Early in the second half, Pionsat manage to claw back the equaliser that they had been threatening for quite a while.
They win a free kick a few yards outside the penalty area and one of the players (I didn't see who, unfotunately) took an absolute pearler of a kick. It sails over the defensive wall and it looks like it's going to sail over the bar too but at the last minute it suddenly dips towards the goal. The keeper can only get a hand on it and he palms it onto the underside of his bar and into the net.
And would you believe it? The Chimps go straight upfield from the kickoff score a second goal to go back into the lead.
There's a miskick in a vital position (that's one in each of the games so far tonight) and a Montel forward is right in the clear with only François to beat. François rushes miles out of his goal to try to put off the Montel attacker but he keeps his nerve and simply lifts the ball over François and into the net.
You can see where François is in this pic - right on the left-hand margin of the image.
Pionsat don't give up however and return to the attack. And the only way that the Montel defence can keep them out is to scythe down the Pionsat attacker just outside the penalty area before he can get into a shooting position
The referee quite rightly awards a free kick and Pierre steps up to the plate. He's getting to be quite good at these, but then again in this game he's been having plenty of practice. This one unfortunately doesn't curl round enough and goes just wide of the post, but the keeper had to make quite a scramble across his goal to make sure it didn't go in.
Aand there's yet another free kick. The Montel defenders are just not able to cope with the Pionsat attack by any fair means and this game is rapidly degenerating onto more of a rugby match than a footbsll match.
This free kick is floated over the wall this time and it catches the defence napping. One of the Pionsat players running in gets his foot to the ball, totally unmarked, but puts it over the bar.
Pionsat do however manage to get a shot on goal but it goes wide. However, the referee however gives a corner and quite a few of the defenders "discuss" the decision with him. And I'm not sure either what it was that the ref saw that I didn't see.
But a corner it is and the ball is floated nicely into the area. It drops very kindly to one of the Pionsat players who lets fly on the volley but the ball goes just over the bar. And not by much either.
We are being treated to an exhibition of head tennis in the middle of the park - it seems to last for ages. And then the ball breaks kindly for Pionsat and they surge upfield towards the Montel goal.
The whole of the Montel side appeals loudly for offside. I couldn't see from where I was standing but the referee gives nothing. The Pionsat attacker is on his own against the keeper and pokes the ball past him with his toe. Unfortunately it creeps agonisingly past the wrong side of the post.
And it's just totally astonishing. We've had relentless Pionsat pressure for the last 20 minutes - all one-way traffic towards the Montel goal and with not even 10 minutes left, while I'm picking up my dictaphone that I had just dropped on the floor, Montel score a most unexpected, quite dramatic goal to go 3-1 up.
And what a goal it was too! It would have been goal of the season in any league at any level. One of the Montel midfielders has noticed that François has wandered off his line and so he has a huge whack forward from about 35 yards out on the right wing touchline. It swerves over and round the keeper right into the top corner of the net. No keeper in the world would have got to that one.
But that has really put the tin hat on it. It's totally unbelievable that Pionsat, having played in the Montel penalty area for the last 20 minutes, should suddenly find themselves 3-1 down in a match where their attackers have been kicked off the park. One of the regular supporters storms out of the ground in disgust.
The game is struggling towarda a close and much to everyone's surprise given the rub of the green so far tonight, Pionsat manage to pull a goal back. I wouldn't have bet on this ever happening, that's for sure.
It's from yet another free kick, this time wide out on the wing. Once more the ball is floated in over the top of the defence and a Pionsat player is the first to react. He gets to the ball from almost point-blank range and blasts it straight through the keeper's outstretched arms.
"Where were the markers?" asks the Montel central defenders. Quite!
Maybe it's too late to be of any use but it was still an excellent goal.
And there's a foul committed by a Montel player. Isn't that a surprise? The referee has obviously had enough and shows the player a yellow card, presumably for "persistent infringement". Mind you, I had had enough a long time ago and I would have shown a card a long time before this.
And the no11 has clearly said something out of place to the referee and so he likewise receives a yellow card. It's not before time either as he has been whinging for almost the entire match. And I don't know why he became involved. The foul was pretty clear enough and given all of the previous fouls it was an odds-on certainty that sooner or later the cards would start to come out.
And there's just about two minutes left in the game and Pionsat score an an equaliser!
No prizes for guessing what has happened. It's yet another foul, this time about 30 yards out from goal. The free kick goes straight over the wall, straight over the keeper and straight into the net.
The Montel players are in total despair and I can't say that I have any sympathy with them either. I've totally lost count of the number of fouls that the Chimps have committed in this game. The Pionsat players are ecstatic, and who can blame them?
And badger me if they don't flaming well go ahead and do it! Almost straight from the kick-off and with probably just a minute or so to go.
It's a typical Pionsat goal too. The high ball from midfield over the top of the defence and the defence stand around waiting for the offside trap. But you can only be offside if you are intending to play the ball so the Pionsat forwards stand around waiting too while a couple of the midfielders run clean through the defence. They beat the offside trap with something to spare and one of them curls a beautiful shot around the keeper and into the net.
I think "delirious" is a good word to describe the subsequent celebrations. And quite right too. Pionsat have had almost all of the play and Montel's only response in defence has been to kick the Pionsat attack off the park.
Add to that two defensive errors and a fluke of a goal, and if Montel had have taken anything away from this game it would have been a total injustice.
And I notice that the regular supporter is still looking at the match from over the hedge. He's utterly transfixed by how the match has unrolled in these final two minutes.
Nevertheless there is still time for Montel to launch an attack upfield in the dying seconds of the game - something they haven't done for half an hour - and they win a corner for their trouble.
It's another high ball into the area and François goes to punch it out. He doesnt get enough on it and it drops kindly to the feet of an unmarked Montel attacker who can't be more than a couple of yards out. The script of course would have this in the back of Pionsat's net to serve them right for taking the lead but the forward has an unbelievable rush of blood to the head and just blasts it over the bar.
And the were pressing for the win too. Just look how many Chimps there are in the penalty area.
I don't think that my heart would stand too much more of that game. Pionsat were all over Montel and should have hammered tham back to the Second Division and yet find themselves 3-1 down with just a few minutes left to play. And then to come back and win it as Montel miss an easy chance with almost the last kick of the game - well, what an incredible match that was!
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