This is the end, beautiful friend. The end.
That's right, the final game of the season. A lovely drive out to the picturesque village of Framfield saw a patched up Villa side take on a resurgent F&B, who had been storming up the table of late. We welcomed a few new faces to the squad, and a few old names showed up too. We even allowed Adam to play left back, despite him having gained eight stone while being in goal all season.
[caption id="attachment_1079" align="alignnone" width="279"] Adam Byrom[/caption]
I think it's fair to say the pitch wasn't the finest we'd ever played on. It's not often you kick downhill both halves in a game of football, while the razor-like dried mud was a clear H&S protocol breach. Another blustery day saw us kicking into the wind in the first half, with Oscar being asked to take goalkick after goalkick as they piled the pressure on early. We found it difficult to get out of our half for long periods, and they had numerous successive corners which were almost all dealt with superbly by Oscar's great handling. Some solid defending backed up by some decent link up play between Ezra, Sean and Grant saw our best options going forwards, but they were a decent side and we found it hard to really get any penetration. Despite their possession they too were finding it hard to get through our new-look centre back pairing of Sam Z and Simon 'Sean' Drew, up until around the 25 minute mark when a decent ball through saw their winger get the wrong side of Adam and push the ball under an advancing Oscar. 1-0 Framfield.
We battled on until half time, and while they had clearly had the better of the game so far we were confident we could turn things around in the second period. Bill gave us a few pointers and plenty of encouragement, as ever, and sent us back out. The second half started a fairly even affair, with Villa starting to look more dangerous. Then after about fifteen minutes we unleashed the beast - Sam Z and his unfathomably long throw-in. It really is a wonder of nature, that thing. Across it came like a cannonball, causing confusion and striking fear into the hearts of any in its way - and this time it was the inner thigh of their centre back, off which it deflected into the net. Bingo!
For the next ten minutes it was all Villa. A lovely ball in from the right saw Grant just unable to steer home, then we all jumped for joy for what was surely a penalty for a foul on the G-man when put through. But wait, what's this? The ref somehow observed that it was actually three millimetres outside the box from his vantage point thirty yards away, and they were given a reprieve. The ensuing free kick went into the wall, and just five minutes later they took the lead after Oscar parried a decent shot, then the ball pinballed around and was bundled home. What a cruel world we live in. And even more cruel was their third, another pinballing effort with Villa just unable to clear their lines and their player somehow backheeled it through a crowd and past Oscar's despairing dive. He couldn't believe his eyes.
[caption id="attachment_1080" align="alignnone" width="188"] Oscar Prado[/caption]
With Adam finally succumbing to cramp after an injury-strewn ninety, we brought on the big man - Bill entered the fray and immediately started putting his weight around with a couple of big challenges and a big foul to go with it. He'd clearly been building up to this one.
[caption id="attachment_1081" align="alignnone" width="193"] Bill Clifford[/caption]
But even his input couldn't swing this one around. In the end they deserved it - a decent footballing team and a good bunch of lads, it was a good way to finish up the season. We may not have played our best football, but given we only had four regular 2s players starting it was perhaps unsurprising, and we were proud of what we achieved.
And so it came to pass, dear reader. The grand finale to a grand season for the mighty Villa 2s. We've had a ball. Literally. Tune in next year for more of the same.
Scorer: O.G. (but we'll give it to Sam for the assist)