'The goalkeeper is the lone eagle, the man of mystery, the last defender', so said Nabokov. And so it was that our own mystery man, 'Big' Sammy Harbour, was to come to our defence on this cold, crisp, beautiful afternoon up at Falmer. Unfortunately for him, his first bit of defending saw him flatten their centre forward, Harald Schumacher-style, after another controversial 'keeper!' shouting incident from Captain Eadie. However, desperate to atone for his sins, Sam got down low to his right to parry and then collect the ensuing penalty, to great acclaim from his joyous team mates. This came after fifteen minutes of us totally domination possession and territory, with nothing to show for it but about 25 potshots ending up in the foliage behind their goal.

[caption id="attachment_852" align="alignnone" width="150"]'Big' Sam Harbour 'Big' Sam Harbour[/caption]

Sadly we learnt little from our collective error, and not long after we were once again caught on the counter and this time there was nothing Sam could do as their striker planted one into the corner. We galvanized, of course, like the tightly-welded unit we now are, though Sam was once again pulled into action, tipping a goalbound effort onto the post when they somehow managed to cut through us again. Form is temporary and class permanent, of course, and the equaliser came half an hour in from the boot of winger Sean Honey, a smart finish from inside the area after a lovely move. Michael was enjoying his more advanced role, buzzing, weaving, turning all over, with able support from Alex and Sam. We went in frustrated at half time though, knowing we should have been playing as more of a unit, and knowing we should have been out of sight.

Fortunately the wise old head of Bill brought us back down to earth, reminding us we are all mere humans, we all make mistakes, we all suffer. That our prime purpose on this Earth is to help others. And that we should all say nice things to each other, not tut when the ball rolls under your foot. We literally roared our way out of the team talk and back on to the pitch, confidence high and souls re-nourished.

[caption id="attachment_853" align="alignnone" width="150"]Bill Clifford Bill Clifford[/caption]

Within two minutes we were ahead, Michael deservedly bagging, and less then ten minutes later we were 3-1 up, a penalty dispatched emphatically by Nnamdi's multicoloured right boot. After that things got a bit silly. We had 97.5 % possession, Kev came on and scored a hat-trick in less than 20 minutes (with a couple of lovely finishes, and a goalmouth scramble), and Michael grabbed his second with a brave diving header. Unfortunately they broke right at the end, ran up our end and rounded off the game with a neat little finish, but by that point the damage had been done and we were into the last 16.

Finally a word about the dancing on show at the rather fantastic Villa Xmas do after the game. Props to Tommy and Kev for pulling out some tremendous moves. Bravo!

[caption id="attachment_855" align="alignnone" width="150"]Kev Rowe (left) and Tommy Haddon Kev Rowe (left) and Tommy Haddon[/caption]

Scorers: Sean Honey, Michael Jarman (2), Nnamdi Iyizoba, Kev Rowe (3)