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BIOLLET ST MAURICE v 2nd XI - 16th MAY 2010
It's the last match of the season today and there are times, believe me, when I thought that we would never get here. The final snowfall of the winter (so far!) was on the 5th of May, just a couple of days ago, and wouldn't it have been ironic if a postponed match rearranged for well after the official end of the season had been postponed due to snow?
Mind you, it was a gorgeous day - a really hot late spring afternoon, with a fair wind blowing. But the wind was due to the exposed nature of the site here right on the edge of the Combrailles looking across finger of the Plain of the Limousin poking in between here and the Mountains of the Creuze.
There is absolutely no doubt though that some of the football grounds in the Combrailles are surrounded by some really spectacular scenery and I've seen some wonderful country while following the football club to away matches.
I missed the kick-off - they had in fact decided to start without me but I wasn't too late and I hadn't missed anything anyway. In fact we had to wait until well into the half for the first significant action.
Biollet broke down the right wing and their winger put in a really good cross into the area. Phillipe, playing in goal today due to the injuries to Michael and François, missed the interception and the ball cannoned off a Pionsat player and ballooned ominously towards the goal.
Phillipe did really well to scramble his was to the ball and hang on to it and it's just as well that he did otherwise that would have been a certain goal. Unfortunately he took Malik with him when he went for the ball and Malik felt the full weight of Phillipe's challenge. That effectively ended Malik's part in this football match.
Up at the other end Pionsat were desperately unlucky not to go in front. They won a corner and the ball was played high into the area. The keeper came to intercept what was in effect a simple ball and missed it completely. The ball curled round towards the goal and one of his defenders, well-positioned on the goal line had to desperately head it out from underneath the bar.
The clearance made it as far as a Pionsat player who noticing the keeper still well off his line went for the lob over the top. The ball sailed over the keeper beautifully but had the misfortune to clang off the top of the crossbar and bounce away to safety.
"Half an inch lower and that would have been in " as the actress said to the Bishop. But Pionsat's positioning was at fault here. If they had had someone challenging at the far post when the corner was taken they would have had a simple tap-in.
Football isn't everyone's cup of tea and with the absolutely gorgeous day that we were having (if you could find a quiet place out of the wind) you can hardly blame some of the supporters for taking advantage of the weather.
Mind you, the first half was like that and I think thay everyone else in the crowd would have dozed off too. It's not as if we had had a scintillating thriller with 6 goals and a couple of sendings off to keep the crowd on its toes. But this was half-time and we were all on our way to the pie hut so there's no excuse.
I have to say that no-one ever went to sleep in the crowd at any match in which I ever played. They were too scared of being hit by a long ball out of defence.
Late in the game Pionsat almost manage to open the scoring. It stems from a good break down the wing and although a Biollet player manages to clear the ball out of defence it is headed straight back in.
A Biollet player intercepts the ball but he can't turn and play the ball to the right as there's a Pionsat player blocking him so he turns to the left where Christophe just happens to be lurking. Christophe instinctively sticks out an opportunist foot at the ball and manages to connect with it. He pokes it goalwards and it's only just wide of the Biollet post.
Christophe is one of those players a little like Martin Chivers and Malcolm McDonald from the 1970s. He plays up front for ages with a lot of effort but not very much result but he's possessed of a true striker's instinct and occasionally scores some excellent opportunist goals out of nothing. When you are struggling in attack and nothing seems to be working it's always worth your while throwing him on from the bench because you never know what he might conjure up.
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